Know How to Act—When You Win

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Know How to Act—When you Win. Apparently Kansas State University (KSU) does not have Sports Manners 101 in its curriculum as a required course. They need it.

KSU fans stormed the basketball court, swarmed the court, invaded the court, displayed a vast amount of hysteria Monday night after a 70-63 basketball win over #8 Kansas (KU) in Manhattan, Kansas.

KSU has been meandering through its schedule this season 14-15 overall now, 7-9 in its conference, and was having trouble recognizing a win when they saw it. As the clock wound down, the KSU fans had no trouble with what was happening to their in-state rival. Kansas is kinda used to winning 22-6 overall, and 11-4 in its conference, and past years rank them high in wins.

Two teams from the same state generally have the most intense rivalry of any teams they play. This covers all competition, and would include home economics if that were deemed competitive. As you move up the scale of important sports—baseball, basketball, football, maybe the insanity increases. I have no idea.

KU Coach Bill Self was trying to shake hands with KSU coach Bruce Weber when the game ended, only to be munched against the scorer’s table. The KSU and KU players would have liked to shake hands, which is the gentlemanly thing to do. That couldn’t happen.

Some of the KSU fans confronted the KU players. I think on the football field that would be called taunting, which is good for a 15-yard penalty. On this basketball court on this night, that gave a 150% upgrade to the ignorance those fans already possessed. Those particular fans had probably already chug-a-lugged a couple of beers before they came to the game. Although I’m certain no beer is sold inside the basketball arena, that does not prevent beer from being sneaked in to give comfort to those assuming a loss is imminent.

On the other hand, the KU players had trained for months before the season started, and were well into playing shape at this time of the year, and beer-gut fans are going to propose a fight with KU players? Had the KU players chosen, they could have wiped up the floor with the fans who challenged them.

Many of these very fans had participated in sports as they grew up. On the way home from the hospital after they were born, their parents dropped them off at the practice field for sports, the boys for football or basketball or baseball, the girls for basketball or softball. One would hope they learned some sportsmanship over the course of time.

I missed something here, because whatever exposure they had in sports before this night, did not prevent KSU fans from moving beyond their selfish exuberance, and recognizing the difficulty of the loss for the other team (even bitter rival KU in this case). KSU had lost 15 times before this night, so the first course the KSU fans in question passed in college should have qualified them to know what defeat feels like, even if they didn’t remember they lost a game or two along the way in their youth.

Here’s my suggestion. Stay in the stands. Shout for your team if you like. Clap your hands for your team until tomorrow if you wish. Be courteous, because the time has come, and will come again when your team KSU is a few points short on the scoreboard.

Watch the players and see how they act—your team, their team. Follow their lead. Sure they went at it during the game, but when it’s over, it’s over. The human element is there.

They played the game. Not you. When you go out on the court, you’re acting like you scored the winning basket. You are the star. You’re not, and never will be. Your picture might wind up on TV or in the paper for the actions you took. Maybe you’ll go to jail or have to pay a fine of a few hundred dollars. Would your momma be proud of you? Your dad, who is probably paying for your ed, will be beyond words I imagine, temporarily, but when your cell phone rings……………………

For goodness sakes, don’t give the public address announcer the sound bite that will last into the next century, “Civilization has left the building.”

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