Throughout Kentucky’s 2015 Pursuit of Perfection, there has been an unending stream of emotions, ranging from anxiety to awesomeness and everything in between. But there’s one emotion that is still impossible to replicate until it happens: Championship Euphoria.
Championship Euphoria — Bliss, Heaven, Utopia, whatever you wanna call it — has only occurred once in my lifetime, and all it takes is 10 seconds from a 2012 Lexington celebration highlight reel to remember its wonderfulness. I’m not saying I went to UK simply for this reason, but April 2, 2012 was the greatest day in my life. There is no question about it. It would be disrespectful to say it was like we won the war, but I kissed strangers like it was V-J Day in Times Square.
But for every party, there’s a pooper.
The following day national news paid more attention to the State Street “riots” than the Brow and Co.’s dominance over Kansas. 50 arrests, 60 fires and a gunshot victim. That statement will quickly grab a viewers eye, but things are not always as they appear (Compare ABC News coverage to the H-L’s).
I started my celebration on the corner of Woodland and Euclid for a solid hour, witnessing 0 arrests and more High-5’s than McDonald’s hamburgers served. I then forced myself to enter the madness across campus at State Street. I was late to this party, but nonetheless a great experience. Fires burned, crowds were close together, it was unbelievable hysteria. I departed the scene as happy as the previous, only leaving behind my voice. No tear gas or handcuffs for this guy. Upon returning to my fraternity house to retire for the evening, I was greeted by joyous, screaming friends, “I GOT TEAR GASSED!” I wouldn’t have been happy about it, but they were already excited to tell their grandkids how they celebrated. Of the 50 arrests, they were probably well-deserved. The only friend of mine taken to the Big House probably deserved; he was too intoxicated to walk down a sidewalk without getting hit by a car on Nicholasville Road.
All the above may sound dangerous, but the “riots” I experienced on April 2, 2012 didn’t prevent me from avoiding “danger” in 2014. Not even a broken ankle could keep me from crutching my large, clumsy body three blocks to join in on the awesomeness. It didn’t stop this girl either.
For the fourth time in five years, I hope to join my fellow students in unprecedented camaraderie by flooding the streets in celebration of Kentucky’s road to glory as the Champions of March Madness. After the wins, we will party like it’s April 2, 2012. National news crews will condemn the “riots,” but there’s no reason to care, because they are ignorant of the amazing experience of Championship Euphoria.
I do not wish to be the moral compass for the entire campus, but I do have one request: IF the best team in the country is somehow upset in the greatest upset in the history of sports, PLEASE, do not destroy Lexington in anger.
To put it simply, we’re better than that. On a deeper level, we cannot play into the hands of national pundits. People watching this tournament are either good guys (cheering for Kentucky), or bad guys (waiting for Kentucky to lose). If we act like idiots and burn the town down because of one detrimental loss, the bad guys not only win, but it gives validity to their hate, with our aggressive misery only fueling their satisfaction.
There is little to convince me that a loss is possible (knocks on wood), but if it does, act like we’ve been here before. Because we were, about a year ago.