Friday, March 23, 2012

R U Ready 2 Riot?

I can hear the yowling of the students across the street, so the IU-Kentucky game must have started. City authorities have been preparing for this one: there will be no parking on the main student avenue, to make it less likely that cars will be overturned by celebrants, as happened in December; and to make it easier for police to "control" the crowds. But don't worry, the police don't use billy clubs or tear gas or tasers on students who are high on Hoosier Hysteria. They don't even arrest a lot of them.
The front page of the local newspaper on the right (you can click on the picture to enlarge it) is dedicated to tonight's game, though an item below the fold describes the increased police presence arranged for the downtown area and campus. That includes the fountain in the photo below, because it's a campus tradition to steal the dolphins from it when IU wins an important game.
I'm not just venting because I'm a cranky old man who wants to deprive students of the only meaningful memories they'll have from their college days (though I wonder how much they'll actually remember anyway, given the level of alcohol consumption expected tonight). I live far enough from the free-property-damage zone that I probably won't hear the noise. As I wrote before, what bothers me is that the same people who denounce the Occupy movement for violence, disorder, and filth just smile benignly at the greater disorder that routinely accompanies college and professional athletics.

UPDATE: If you follow college basketball, you probably know that Kentucky defeated Indiana, 102-90. Last night around 1 a.m. I heard a bunch of young men screaming "Fuck this shit! Fuck this shit!" outside on the street. They were at a student-inhabited house across the street, and when I peeked out I saw that they were throwing trash-can lids down on the sidewalk to express their anguish at the loss. Unfortunately the lids were plastic, so they didn't make much noise, and one or two of them, bawling "Fuck them!" broke a couple of beer bottles. "Guys ... c'mon," one of them exhorted the others. After a couple of minutes they moved on. Poor babies, they didn't even get to overturn a car. Whatever happened to justice?

This reminded me that a week or so back I was awakened in the middle of the night by a chorus of male voices chanting rhythmically, "Fuck the Boilermakers, Fuck the Boilers!" as they walked home from the downtown bars. Too bad, it looks like Calipari creamed on Crean's face last night, har har har. It's the sort of thing that made America great. ... I am so relieved that IU is out of the competition; it could only have gotten worse as they moved to the finals.

UPDATE 2: I just found this post-loss lamentation on the student newspaper's website:
It just wasn’t the same.
The Bloomington Police Department cars were there, the crowds were there, the cream and crimson shirts were there, but it just wasn’t the same.

Four months ago, the last time IU Coach Tom Crean and his Hoosiers took on the Kentucky Wildcats, this street had to be closed to vehicular traffic because an army of Hoosiers had stormed the intersection of Kirkwood Avenue and Dunn Street.

Four months ago, cars were destroyed, music blared out of apartment windows and fans jumped and sang and danced and shouted.

But this time, after IU fell to Kentucky 90-102 Friday night, fans held their heads low and migrated from Nick’s English Hut and Kilroy’s on Kirkwood to go back home after a long, hard evening.
Let me hear ya say "Awwwwwww...." Poor babies.