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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

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.

35 Comments:

At April 06, 2006 1:54 AM, Blogger Bar Bar A replied to my musings ...

Sad and ugly behavior. Over a game.

 
At April 06, 2006 6:44 AM, Blogger Curare_Z replied to my musings ...

This just confirms my believe that people are dumb. I don't get the rioting. My last year at the University of Colorado, there were riots over something stupid. Cops had to use tear gas and rubber bullets to stop the insanity.

 
At April 06, 2006 7:30 AM, Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen replied to my musings ...

How stupid.

This is the future of America??? All that over a damn game???

More than stupid...it's damn asinine.

 
At April 06, 2006 8:35 AM, Blogger Barry S. replied to my musings ...

Hell, just look at the amount of places who storm the court or football field after a win!

I am a Kentucky football fan (no jokes, please) and a couple years ago I went to see them play Vanderbilt in Nashville. Vandy won the game and later the fans tore the goalposts down! After beating Kentucky!

BTW, I found you off mack's site. Nice work.

 
At April 06, 2006 9:18 AM, Anonymous Bruce replied to my musings ...

Somehow, it's become a ritual to riot and burn after your team wins a championship. In 2004, after the Red Sox beat the Yankees and made the World Series, Sawx fans rioted in Beantown, and unfortunately a woman was killed. I've never understood this practice...

 
At April 06, 2006 10:00 AM, Blogger Mimi replied to my musings ...

I have been to a terrapin game years ago. Thank goodness I left safely! It is ridiculous how passionate/crazy people get about sports. If only they had that passion for more important things.

 
At April 06, 2006 10:02 AM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

When the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup back in 1993 there was literally rioting in their streets. If it were to happen again you could expect more rioting.

 
At April 06, 2006 10:34 AM, Blogger Metal Mark replied to my musings ...

I am a Terrapin fan and Maryland native yet I have no reasons for why these things have happen or why the fans are like this. Maryland's womens basketball doesn't have a hug tradition and the men's basketball have had a few good years, but hardly a legacy type elite team like Duke, UCLA or UNC. I don't know why the fans are so crazy.

 
At April 06, 2006 10:39 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Everyone: Thanks for the additional cases, although I'll still maintain my argument that Maryland has had the most consistent heinous fan activity in the past five years.

Barry: Thanks for visiting, I hope to you you often. And you are the first person I have met that has said they are a Kentucky FOOTBALL fan. Even my Kentucky basketball fan friends don't go there!

Mimi: I agree that you were lucky to get out safe ... but I"m OK with passion for sports. It's when it crosses the line into mob-mentality criminal behavior that it makes me want to rant.

So I did.

-- david

 
At April 06, 2006 11:45 AM, Blogger jay lassiter replied to my musings ...

What's lost in this whole story is the legacy of title 9 which mandated that if boys got to play sports, then so must girl also have the opportunity.
Let's face it, it's only been like, what one generation of girls growing up to play ball in college.
What happened in college park was shameful. and i grew up in MD and went to UofM back in the early 90's. there is no excuse for vandalism and hooliganism and other such nincompoopers as this.
But the fact that the college got so fired up for women's sports is, on some fucked up level, progress.
p.s. duke sucks.

 
At April 06, 2006 12:02 PM, Blogger angel, jr. replied to my musings ...

At West Virginia University, some of the students would burn couches as a celebration of victory.
I'm glad it never really got out of hand.

 
At April 06, 2006 1:09 PM, Blogger BuffyICS replied to my musings ...

Unfortunately I was at that 2002 championship game when Maryland beat my Hoosiers to win the championship--and their fans were definitely nastier throughout the whole game (and tournament) than any other team's fans. Of course, that's probably just me being bitter :) And besides, I can't talk too much about riots since IU's had our fair share (ahem, firing Bobby Knight).

 
At April 06, 2006 1:24 PM, Blogger BrianAlt replied to my musings ...

I was at Syracuse in 1987 when they went to the Final Four and went on to lose the National Championship in the final seconds. Both times M-Street, Marshall Street, was trashed! Cars were jumped on until the roof would cave in. Cars were overturned. Street signs were pulled up. It was worse after we lost. I remember being in the crowd and seeing this wave start to rush around me. I quickly grabbed my girlfriend's hand and got the fuck outta there!

It's nothing new and I've never understood it.

 
At April 06, 2006 1:58 PM, Blogger cube replied to my musings ...

It sure would be nice if more people would just stay home & drink a cup of shut-the-f***-up. It's not just in Maryland, but all over the world. The protests/riots are out of control.

 
At April 06, 2006 3:00 PM, Blogger Jamie Dawn replied to my musings ...

What a bunch of uncivilized boneheads without an ounce of self-control.
I've never understoond this mentality where when something happens, whether it's sports related or a trial verdict or something political, people go out into the community and wreak havoc on their OWN community.
It defies any logic, and people who engage in this should be arrested and sent to jail for the damage they cause.

 
At April 06, 2006 5:11 PM, Blogger :P fuzzbox replied to my musings ...

That is taking it a little far. The worst thing I ever did as a fan was at the Cotton Bowl when USC trounced Texas Tech. I was able to win a small victory when I beaned the Trojan as he rode around the track with a tortilla. The next year tortilla tossing was banned at Tech games but it was a fun tradition while it lasted.

 
At April 06, 2006 6:13 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

Much like you, David, I don't understand this behavior. As Mr. Spock would say, "Highly illogical." (right before he started singing Mr. Tambourine Man).

 
At April 06, 2006 8:49 PM, Blogger Claire replied to my musings ...

Maryland, my Maryland... *sigh* I was so happy to see that they won, but the riots? Just don't get it.

 
At April 07, 2006 2:13 AM, Blogger Ben Heller replied to my musings ...

And they always tell me that the people in Maryland are so gentle and refined. Why am I getting a different picture David ?

 
At April 07, 2006 7:33 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Jamie has the best line so far about those Terrapin fans: "uncivilized boneheads without an ounce of self-control."

Of course, she could be confusing Maryland students with all of us.

But I prefer to think of myself as a civilized bonehead.

-- david

 
At April 07, 2006 8:27 AM, Blogger Cari replied to my musings ...

I could personally vouch for crazed fans..hahahah

my sis & bro redskins fans

and husband is a huge cowboys fans

think about how this pans out when they play against each other.

PHEW!

 
At April 07, 2006 9:30 AM, Blogger LocuTus of Borg replied to my musings ...

Completely agree David. And these are "Institutions of Higher Learning" I don't think they teach very much .. especially class. I hope that the school loses some funding and their basketball program goes to crap. Bad bad karma.

 
At April 07, 2006 11:27 AM, Blogger KC replied to my musings ...

What is it that sets off this type of mob mentality? I don't understand it and probably never will.

At least in St. Louis when we win a pennant or something, people party in the streets without knocking over cars or buses. No killing either! Maybe if we ever win the World Series again, we might find out that things could get crazier. Who knows?

 
At April 07, 2006 2:15 PM, Blogger Blonde Vigilante replied to my musings ...

I can't fucking believe Duke lost. It's bullshit I tells ya.

Oh, this is Mack by the way.

 
At April 07, 2006 3:02 PM, Blogger Dirk the Feeble replied to my musings ...

Come on now, it's all in good fun.

 
At April 07, 2006 5:04 PM, Blogger Godwhacker replied to my musings ...

Maybe I'm aloof or detached, but I don't understand this aspect of human behavior. I haven't ever been excited about a sporting event that I was not involved in in some way more direct then "my home town". I respect good fun. God knows we need more of it. But rioting? That leaves me dumbfounded.

 
At April 07, 2006 6:27 PM, Anonymous Bruce replied to my musings ...

KC, it's been so long since our boys have won the World Series, the fans won't know what to do. ;)

 
At April 08, 2006 12:59 AM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

Thank God the US didn't win the gold in curling. You would've seen rioting in the streets of...Wisconsin?

 
At April 08, 2006 1:15 AM, Blogger Liz replied to my musings ...

Sounds like just an excuse to vandalize. Stupid people.

 
At April 08, 2006 1:20 AM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

I think the mentality is along the lines of the group is so large that the individual can be anonymous. So, the idiots do things they wouldn't dare to in a small group, and it's a contagion in a mob. One does it, we all do. Mobs in general are scary, just ask the final few riders up Alpe D'Huez in the 2004 Tour de France. It was a little too close and personal.

Remember, rioting is cool because you destroy your own home. Good thinking. But I just answered the question, didn't I...?

I came here by way of LostinTX, in case you wonder.

 
At April 08, 2006 3:16 AM, Blogger Allypooh replied to my musings ...

Weird. I went to University of Maryland...overseas, in Okinawa, and I never knew what the team's name was...I don't think I missed much.

 
At April 08, 2006 4:01 PM, Blogger Amy replied to my musings ...

geez... people disturb me. heavy sigh.

 
At April 09, 2006 4:40 PM, Blogger An80sNut replied to my musings ...

Passion is a beautiful thing. The highs and lows of the passionate sports fan go back as far as human vs. animal area matches. What I don't see is the blind passion people have for a team whether they win or lose. I liken it more to mob violence and rioting. These people should be held accountable for their actions as usually being en masse they believe they don't have to do the right thing and can act out. Some people only need to know that they can get away with it to go out and destroy things.

 
At April 10, 2006 10:33 AM, Blogger debbiecakes replied to my musings ...

"Terp"? Isn't that the sound an escaping fart makes?

 
At December 09, 2006 12:53 AM, Blogger Phats replied to my musings ...

Unfortunately this has become all the norm sad isn't it? Back when we won the National Title there were similar riots to these. I wasn't on campus during them because I was at the game cheering. Again in 01 when we lost in the title game to ND there were more. None to the extent of these, but they did get out the tear gas and the riot squad. It's sad, there are right ways to celebrate and wrong ways, and this certainly is a wrong way

 

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