Fans riot in downtown State College
Penn Staters are not the first to get out of hand with a postgame victory celebration.
It happens to winners.
The Tigers won the World Series and Detroit literally lit itself on fire. Denver police deployed tear gas after the Broncos won the Super Bowl in 1999. A girl died in Boston after the 2004 American League Championship Series win over the Yankees.
It happens with losers, too.
Vancouver could taste its first Stanley Cup in 2010. It would be the first Canadian team to bring the hockey championship home since 1993. But the Bruins stood in the way, and the loss was more than the fans could bear.
It happens. Yes. It does.
Doesn’t make it smart or right. All kinds of things happen that shouldn’t and we have to stop making excuses for it.
Since October, it seems that every time something happens regarding the 13 people who rioted after the Ohio State victory, we have heard from people miffed that we were using such an incendiary word for the celebration.
But after Saturday’s Big Ten Conference Championship win over Wisconsin, it happened again. The streets downtown filled with students and another street lamp paid the price, ripped out of the ground and carried exultantly through the crowd.
“Basically were so happy we have to riot. It’s kind of sad, but that’s what happening,” said student Aditya Naik.
Yeah, sorry, not how that works. That’s the explanation of a child throwing a fit because he missed his nap.
This is not a compliment to a football team that has done a phenomenal job of returning from a start to the season that seemed like it might end without any postseason play. This is not an homage to a win that showed, once again, that Penn State doesn’t give up because the odds are against it and it looks down for the count.
I said in October that the students need to behave.
Another massive win and another stupid riot later, I’ll refine that.
College students are, on paper, adults. Adults should know that ripping down public property is not an appropriate response to something that makes you happy. Adults should know that actions have consequences.
I guarantee you, kids, there were plenty of people in their 30s and 40s and 50s and more who were running on adrenaline after midnight Sunday morning, but they didn’t rush out onto the porch and rip off the railing.
You have gathered before and proved you can be delirious without being destructive. Like when the sanctions were repealed and postseason play was a possibility again in 2014. You were joyous, and no street lamps had to die.
It is unfortunate that all roads have to lead back to Jerry Sandusky, but it’s also a reality we have to accept.
When people talk about us, they will talk about the road that got us here, and this is our first just amazing year since the scandal. The team is working so hard to have people say “Penn State” and only talk about good things, but your uncontrollable glee-turned-bedlam just brings comparisons to flipped news vans in the wake of Joe Paterno’s ousting.
So stop it. You are in college, not pre-K. You are learning how to function in the real world, where sometimes you are happy and sometimes you are sad and uprooting road signs isn’t an acceptable response in either case.
And please. Take a nap before the Rose Bowl.