Listen, kids (can I call you “kids”?), I know how it feels. The big game arrives, and you’re decked out in your school’s colors, and everyone in your living room, your building, your zip code and maybe your city is screaming, crying, cheering and getting black out drunk, all at once. And to top it off — your favored team wins said game! Is there a greater joy than your college basketball/football team beating a big rival in a nationally televised game, one that you’ve prepared for by taking jello shots and painting your face? No, there is not. So enjoy it and have fun.
But there’s a time-honored event that takes place on nearly every college campus following a big win: the ritualistic trashing and burning of property, including bus stop infrastructure, store windows and cars. Students at the University of Kentucky are the latest culprits to engage in this practice, and to them I say: Hey, guys, stop that. Stop that right now.
Here’s a video of UK students celebrating “their” win over Louisville yesterday on State Street in Lexington. The telltale cry of “Jessicaaaaa!” ringing out into the night, as drunk college girls are apt to scream, informs us that this was probably taken by another student on the scene.
For some reason, this is the typical response when a college team wins a game. Their fellow students, who will then brag for the next 12 months about how “they” totally won that game so “fuck you, bro,” go out and celebrate by destroying things. Though I don’t know whose car that was, I’ll venture a guess — considering it’s parked in Lexington on game night — and say it belongs to a fellow UK fan. How is that person going to feel when they go out for breakfast Sunday morning, only to find their car upside down and crispy?
Like I said, I know the feeling of wanting to vent all that excitement, happiness, frustration and adrenaline. I was on the University of Pittsburgh campus when Pitt beat its Backyard Brawl rival, West Virginia, 13-9 in a football game that cost WVU a shot at the national championship. The general reaction was to find a couch, throw it into the street, and set it ablaze. If you asked any one person why they did that, their answer would be something in the range of “I don’t know” to “We won the game, bro, and fuck WVU, bro,” to “Everyone else was doing it.”
Well, a few of those students, who didn’t know why they were doing this except that they hated WVU and everyone else was doing it, ended up getting suspended or expelled from the university. I assume a similar fate will befall the people involved in lighting up that car in Lexington. In both instances, you’d think those students were no longer so happy about their team winning the game.
Destroying property on your own campus makes no sense, kids. Celebrations should include the following: shouting, yelling, cheering, holding up signs, kissing/hugging each other, and perhaps parading through the streets peacefully. They should not include doing things that will cost your university, your fellow students, or your fellow citizens of your college town/city/farm time and money to fix. Your celebrations become punishments when you do that.
Finally, to put it terms that the more rebellious among you might understand: If the local cops are “happy” that they’ve controlled the situation by arresting 27 of you and used pepper spray on your classmates… you’re doing it wrong.
So, the next time that your team beats an in-state/in-conference/long-time rival, or takes the national championship, think about how you want to express your emotions. Do you want to celebrate, or do you want to make other people fear for their lives and their cars? To educated folks like yourselves, the answer should be obvious.