They are some of the smuggest words that can ever be uttered in the world of college sports.
""Act like you've been there before.""
Any time fans storm a field or court after a big win, it happens. The naysayers bemoan how fans of a somewhat successful team (say, Wisconsin for example) can get overwhelmed by the emotion of a close game against another good team and cascade headlong onto the field of play.
Recently CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel penned the manifesto for this movement, and in some sense he was correct when he pointed out that celebration in sports has become watered down and a bit too commonplace (looking at the Miami sideline during the Champs Sports Bowl, it would be hard to disagree).
But in another, perhaps more important sense, Doyel is dead wrong. We have not been there before.
College student sections are ever-changing, as new fans enroll and old ones graduate. Sure, the Badgers have won three conference titles since Bo Ryan took the helm, but the current students were only around for one of them in 2008. After clinching that, the Grateful Red did indeed rush the court, but some would probably say, ""They blew out Penn State and had two other titles in the previous seven years, what's the big deal?""
Each generation of Badger fans should not be constrained by the fact that their predecessors enjoyed the thrill of rushing a court. There is something wonderful about feeling the buzz in the crowd and holding back at the edge of the sideline until those final seconds tick down.
I have been a veteran of three rushings as a spectator (two at Cal Golden Bear football games and one at the Duke basketball game this season) and been on the field when fans spilled out onto he turf at several UW road games. From that, I can definitively say that rushing the field/court is an experience that anyone who follows college sports avidly should experience at least once in their life.
Look at the benefits of each approach. Rushing means an adrenaline high and that giddy feeling of walking through the mob as chants like ""we're No. 1"" or ""Rose Bowl, Rose Bowl"" ring out. Hanging back gives that smug satisfaction of thinking, ""this is a big win and it's what we expect."" There is little joy in being proud of your own too-high standards.
Now this is not condoning rushings that are absolutely nonsensical. Indiana students should not have rushed after beating unranked Minnesota in basketball. It would be hard to ever justify rushing for fans of a top-15 team, unless there are extenuating circumstances (dramatic rivalry win, taking down an especially strong No. 1 team or clinching a league title).
But the general rule of thumb should center on the feel in the arena.
If there is that buzz and electricity in the air, why fight it? Take stock of the situation, to make sure it's not completely inappropriate. But when in doubt, take the court.
Are you against court storming? E-mail Ben at email@example.com.