Sunday, March 7, 2010

Post Game Behavior No Laugh Riot

Post Game Behavior No Laugh Riot
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
March 7, 2010

As a member of the Alumni Association and Terrapin Club I enjoyed watching the men’s basketball team knock off Duke last Wednesday night as much as anyone else. I cheered when the lead grew in the first half and moaned when it waned prior to halftime.

I did my best Gary Williams impersonation when Duke took the lead and my stomach did its best impression of a roller coaster as the lead vacillated until the good guys finally vanquished their opponent. Then, I cheered again. I even enjoyed an adult beverage during the game as well.

But what I didn’t do, because I’m a clear thinking adult, is take to the streets like a jackass and behave like a hooligan, setting fire to trees and trash cans, attempting to flip over motor vehicles and get into fisticuffs with law enforcement. The basketball team won a hard-fought ballgame. They were not sent to war. Keep the revelry off Route 1. There are plenty of places on the beautiful, spacious College Park campus where celebrants can congregate.

Let me put this as gently as I know how, for the benefit of the hundreds of University of Maryland students who deserve more than my castigation for their disgraceful behavior. What the hell were you thinking? What’s wrong with you people? You not only embarrassed yourselves and the university, but your parents who will, no doubt, have to shell out hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for property damage or bail.

There is no excuse for this juvenile behavior. You are supposed to be adults demanding all kinds of freedoms and rights. Grow up and earn them. Nobody is telling you not to have fun and enjoy yourselves before, during and even after the ballgame. There’s a fine line between good, clean fun and felonious behavior, and many of you pole vaulted over it Wednesday night.

This is the same kind of nonsense that occurred during the 2001 and 2002 basketball seasons when Maryland made its first Final Four and won its first national championship, respectively. It was stupid, irresponsible behavior then, as it remains today.

The guilty should be booked and charged via the criminal justice system and expelled from the university. A message must be sent that this behavior will not be tolerated.

The least you, as a student body, can do is act like you know what it means to be winners. In a couple of e-mail exchanges with my friend Aziz Abdur-Ra’oof, who graduated the year before I did, we commiserated how embarrassing it is to see Maryland on the national news for something this asinine. We also discussed how we as a student body didn’t behave like this in the ‘80s when we were on campus, and we won some big games.

Ziz was one of the Terrapin football greats in the ‘80s and part of the team that trailed at Miami 31-0 at halftime, only to stage the greatest comeback in D-1 college football, winning 42-40. Yet, calm was the order of the day.

It was nearly as embarrassing to see University of Virginia students referring to the riot in mocking signs they brought to the game against the Terps Saturday in Charlottesville.

The University of Maryland should make national news for winning championships, for having incoming freshman classes with higher and higher SAT scores, for having top schools of business and journalism and for graduating more and more of its students in four years. So, grow up and cut the crap.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA. A graduate of the University of Maryland in 1988, he is a member of the Alumni Association and the Terrapin Club.

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