To the Victors Go the Spoiled
When your team wins, you get excited.
I’ve seen you. You jump up and down, giggling like a toddler. You flail about, spill your drink, and stain the new couch. Maybe run outside and scream like a banshee.
If you’re a University of Maryland student, though, this all sounds a bit tame. You’d rather wreak havoc on the citizens around you. When you’re a Terrapin, the cool thing to do when your team wins is to riot.
Last night, those bastions of respectability tore through the university’s host town of College Park. They set fires. Almost tipped over a shuttle bus—while passengers were inside. Struggled with university, state, and local police for hours to maintain their right to shut down the streets and panic local residents.
Geez. You’d think I was writing about Paris.
During Tuesday’s post-game riot, a car struck a woman, giving her life-threatening injuries … and the ambulance couldn’t get to her because the mobs wouldn’t step aside. Now that’s class.
All this because the women’s basketball Terrapins—or “Terps,” as locals lovingly refer to them—won their national championship. The fine 21st century tradition of Maryland celebration thuggery and mayhem has not died.
If you don’t have a good memory for the worst of college basketball-related unrest, you must not live near College Park. Here’s a refresher.
Back in 2002, police arrested more than a dozen people after Maryland won its first and only men’s basketball championship. Why? Only because rioters started fires in College Park, broke windows along city streets, and injured cops with bottles and other objects.
But local homeowners considered themselves lucky. The previous year, fans went on a rampage after the Terps’ loss to Duke in the Final Four, overturning cars and setting fires that caused about half a million dollars in damage.
Fans at the games themselves exhibit a similar lack of class. In recent years, students have worn obscenity-laced t-shirts, shouted “F--- you, J.J.” at Duke star J.J. Redick, and directed chants at him suggesting sexual assault against his sister. In 2004, university administrators had to go to the Maryland Attorney General for advice on how to rein in fans’ behavior.
Other schools have had energized crowds with nasty chants. They have seen celebratory bonfires and occasional disorderly conduct charges after big victories.
But no other colleges I can think of have spawned the consistent attacks in recent years on the surrounding community—or visiting players’ families—as the University of Maryland.
Hey Terrapin fans: Shame on you.