The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

September 10, 2008

COLUMN: Sometimes it hurts to celebrate

MORGANTOWN — While the timing may be a bit off, considering the results of Saturday’s beat down at East Carolina, our subject this morning is celebrations.

It comes in the wake of a pair of celebrations — one by fans, one by players — that marred what otherwise was a rather eventful football weekend around America and, for a change, West Virginia was only a spectator and not a participant.

Indeed, if anything, it appears that West Virginians have become model citizens when it comes to celebrating victory, as there has not been a couch burning in these parts in almost two seasons now. The WVU faithful has become so tame, in fact, that attack dogs are no longer needed at Milan Puskar Stadium and the local militia can’t recall the last time they have had to pepper spray a reveler into submission.

This was not the case at East Carolina, however, where they are far less blasé about their victories, especially the one over West Virginia this weekend that propelled Skip Holtz’s upstarts to No. 14 in the nation. Their students, wearing purple body paint where civilized folks wear shirts and in all other degrees of dress and undress, rushed the field over, around and through a squadron of police armed with everything but kindness.

The result was some arrests, some of the kids actually getting roughed up, as if a police officer is supposed to approach one of these student-non-athletes and say:

“Eh, excuse me, would you mind putting your hands behind your back so I can cuff you and walk nicely over to the police wagon at the far end of the stadium.”

Doesn’t work that way, folks, for a cop doesn’t know what reaction he’s going to get from a mob of wild partiers. They first must disable the person, get him onto the ground, hold him there and cuff him.

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Bob Herzel
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