What a riot!

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By Nick Schrager

 I could take this time to complain about a lot of things. I have not had the best few weeks of my life, and it seems like nothing has gone right. My car broke down, for good, I made a few errors last week, I have been broke and just plain crabby. 

But, my problems are miniscule compared to the real problems going on in the world right now. 

For instance, there are people who are sick and have no medicine. There are people who are starving and have no food. There are people who are thirsty and have no clean water. There are people who have lost loved ones. There are people being assaulted and robbed and murdered.

Many of our problems cannot compare to these. 

Before I continue, I would also like to state I had a wide variety of options of what to write about this week. One of those options was about the Marion County baseball team. I almost tossed this column aside to write about them, but I decided to save that topic for next week because as light and as humorous as my experience was with them, this issue has to be addressed - the NCAA tournament.

It seemed like it was all I heard about for weeks. 

Bracket this, bracket that, UK this, UConn that. 

Set aside time for this game, set aside time for that game. 

I’ll buy this with my winnings, I’ll buy that with my winnings.

You get the idea. 

By the time this column comes out, UK’s loss in the tournament will be old news. The bitter taste of defeat will have subsided, and life will have gone on.

For most people anyway. 

Personally, I did not watch the game between the University of Connecticut and the University of Kentucky. 

But boy did I know who lost the next morning, how could anyone not have? 

There I was, sipping coffee and watching the news when I heard of the rioting that took place after UK fell in the championship game. 

Days after the fact, I have looked at videos and photos taken by news photographers and people in the crowd

I am blown away.

Among the images and videos of couches being torched were the sights of a car being overturned and put ablaze, images of police in riot gear, people lighting clothes aflame, bloodied faces and people being detained with zip tie restraints. 

One article in particular said something along the lines of over 17 couches were lit on fire, and a handful of arrests were made. 

Over a game! 

Seriously – a game!

Talk about bad sportsmanship. 

As it turns out, rioting after great upsets in sports is nothing new. In fact, it’s been going on for over a thousand years. For those of you who don’t know (I sure didn’t until writing this column), sports riots even happened in the year 532. 

According to the Wall Street Journal’s website, the Nika Riots occurred over chariot races (though there was more than a little political upset fueling the fight). Since then, obviously, there have been many instances of rioting after (and during) sporting events. 

As for the first couch being burned, that one is a bit of a mystery.

Personally, I think outbursts like the ones in Lexington are premeditated. I think many of the couch igniters had planned to do so regardless win or lose and had their tools ready to go before the game even started.

Maybe because there have been so many of these instances over the years, it’s just become part of the tradition all together, and people think it’s expected of them. 

But rather than continue this tirade, I will leave you with this: maybe the people just needed an “excuse” to find trouble – because that’s what it looked like to me.