Congratulations are definitely in order to coach Brenda Frese and the Maryland women's basketball team for winning the Terps' first ever Women's NCAA Championship. What makes it especially sweet was that they handed Duke a soul-crushing overtime loss after the Blue Devils led by 13 in the second half.
After the win, the students took to the streets of College Park as they so love to do, but haven't had anything worth celebrating in the past couple years (sorry ... the soccer championshp doesn't count). Some in the media chastised Maryland students for once again showing how much they love to run around and break things. Others scoffed at the fact that the students would riot for women's basketball. What has me befuddled is this:
Where were these rioters in 2004 when the team went 10-18 in Brenda Frese's first season as the Terps coach?
Not at Comcast Center watching games, that's for sure. The athletic department actually started holding drawings at the games, giving away X-Boxes and (get this) men's basketball tickets to persuade people to come. It was very strange. There's something unsettling about going to a game one week and being one of six students in the crowd, then coming back a week later and sitting in a group with a few hundred kids just there for a shot at a free X-Box.
As for the rioting, I generally don't have a problem with the students running around Route 1 in an intoxicated stupor to celebrate big victories, but I don't think you should be allowed to suddenly declare your fanhood the day of the championship just so you can have an excuse to drink heavily and wreak havok on the College Park storefronts.
What should make a celebration like that so sweet isn't just a recognition of the victory, it's also a ceremonial erasing of the memories of past suffering. But I'd be willing to guarantee that most of the students who crowded the streets Tuesday night have no such memories of women's basketball to erase. How many of those students actually know that Duke was 8-0 against Maryland under Brenda Frese before the Terps knocked the Blue Devils out of the ACC Tournament this year?
What really made students erupt with emotion after the 2002 men's basketball championship was that everyone remembered how crappy they felt the previous year after the Final Four game when the Terps led Duke by 22 in the first half only to lose by 11.
You should be celebrating in recognition of the hard work over the years that led up to the championship, not the afternoon you spent drinking leading up to tip-off.