Kentucky wins basketball game over rival, fans burn couches in celebration

“The sky is burning.  I believe my soul’s on fire.”

–          Bad Company, Burnin’ Sky, 1977


I’ve never understood the whole ritual of burning things after a team victory.  Why do we resort to setting things on fire in celebration?

Probably the most famous, riot-related incident came after the Detroit Pistons won their NBA championships in the late 1980s.  The city also rioted years earlier when the Tigers won the World Series in 1984.  As if being trapped in Detroit wasn’t reason enough to burn something to the ground, they needed a title or two to inspire them.

lakers fans riotNot to be outdone, Los Angeleans rioted after their Lakers won a championship in 2010.  Cities all over the world lose any sense of decency when their sports teams win a championship.  I can’t imagine what will happen if, or rather when, Brazil wins this year’s World Cup, which is being held in Rio de Janeiro.  Lock your doors, just in case, and if you’re visiting Rio for the games, it’d be best to stay out of the favelas.

I was living in Gainesville in 2007 after the Gators won their second national championship.  I took to the streets just to see how kooky people would get.  I didn’t see anyone burning anything.  GPD had things pretty much under control.

I did, however, see one co-ed climb a tree right on University Avenue.

Charlie Brown Christmas TreeClimbing a tree, SportsChump, what’s the big deal?  That’s hardly an act of rebellion.  Well, you should have seen this tree.  It looked like the one Charlie Brown brought home for Christmas that wilted over as soon as he put an ornament on it.

As far as I know, the kid made it down from the tree okay but if he didn’t, that’s his own fault.

The reason I bring this up is because after Kentucky’s victory over Louisville on Friday, the good people of Lexington took to burning couches in celebration.  It was more than just a tournament game; it always is when these two teams play.  Kentucky, the ninth seed, was going against the defending national champion.  They had already beaten them once this year and were probably the better team going in.

Ironically, two days later, Kentucky won again beating Michigan, the state of all things riotous, to get to the Final Four.  What’s left to burn other than the kitchen sink?

Couch firesBut back to the couches.

First of all, I love my couch.  I’ve owned it for years.  I sleep on it almost nightly and would never think about setting it afire.  In fact, my Gators have won several national championships over the years and I don’t think I’ve ever burned anything in celebration.  Okay, maybe a joint or two but that’s about it.

Maybe it’s me.  Maybe I’m just not rowdy enough.  Or maybe I should head over to the local Wal-Mart, pick up a ten-pack of Bic lighters and start setting shit on fire to fit in with the masses.

And why couches?   I could almost comprehend the burning of the couch if it had any sort of historical significance.  Does this date back to the very first Louisville-Kentucky game in 1913 where only whites were allowed to watch games on their barca-loungers and everyone else burned chairs outside in protest?  I don’t see where burning a couch is any sort of legitimate celebration as if to say “Hey! We just beat you!  So we’re burning our furniture as a result.  By the way, do you know the way to the nearest Rent-A-Center?  I need a new sofa.”

barbecue, Quest for FireWe’ve talked about this before and apparently will continue to do so again until we, as sports fans, learn how to comport ourselves.  We win things, we burn shit.  Is that the best we can come up with?  Didn’t we see Quest For Fire?  Where’s our evolution?  Instead of hugging and high-fiving, we resort to looting and pillaging, not to mention knuckle-dragging.

Well, rest assured, when my team wins another national championship, I won’t be burning anything.  Call me old-fashioned, say I’m over the hill, but raising a glass, hugging a friend, sending the obligatory texts to those who aren’t around and of course, wiping a misty eye are all in my playbook.

My furniture will remain intact.  So sorry to disappoint.

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14 Replies to “Kentucky wins basketball game over rival, fans burn couches in celebration”

  1. Do you remember the tumult after LeBron made ” The Decision ” ? They overturned cars , burnt them and burned LBJ jerseys . Be thankful for small mercies . It’s merely a celebration by a group of passion Wildcats’ fans .

    Somewhat sad to see the MSU Spartans go down , as I’ve always admired Tom Izzo !

    So DeSean Jackson was an alleged “gang member” and that’s said to be the reason why the Eagles cut him ? Damn ! What must Aaron Hernandez be thinking ?

  2. Good point, Al.

    The good people of Cleveland weren’t all that happy to see the chosen one leave town and took to burning his jerseys all over town.

    But that’s because they had lost something, not won something.

    Donovan’s achievements may already be better than his counterparts, Al.

    He’s the only active coach under 50 with a national title and if he wins another, that would give him three.

    What other active head coach not named Mike Krzyzewski has three national titles?

    That’d put him in some rarefied air. He needs to win it though first.

  3. I believe Donovan , now to be better than Pitino , Boeheim , Bleielin , Izzo and Roy Williams ! How about first year coach Kevin Ollie and what he’s been able to achieve with the U Conn Huskies this season ?

    Tiger’s going to miss the Masters having had back surgery . He’s liable to miss at least two months plus of the Tour schedule .

    Great opening day win for the Rays over the Blue Jays ! One down one-hundred and sixty-one to go !

    Dropped this piece if interested ?

    The grass is not always greener on the other side

    Who says that the nation’s greatest ever pastime is dead ?

    tophatal …………….

  4. Hello Triple SC,
    Such a funny post. I’ve wondered the same thing about the way some people celebrate. Hell, I’m in first place in one of 2 of my basketball brackets (out of 53 teams) and Kentucky has to beat Wisconsin for me to seal the deal. You know I’ve just become the biggest wild cats fan lol 😉 I am still pissed I missed your bracket.. a triple SC champ? Omg, I can’t even fathom the celebration for that;) hmmmmm?
    Oh well….here’s to Billy D and our Gators:)
    Til later- Dee Dee

  5. I think it would be great fun if the roles were reversed and the couches were somehow able to defend themselves and set fire to these knuckleheads. I’m bored with seeing scenes of flaming furniture…and crispy cars as well. Let’s see how much fun these morons have when some in their own wandering party find themselves in flames. I swear civilization is regressing at an alarming rate. Oh, go Gators! Rooting for Billy’s Boys to cut down the nets!

  6. Ollie was a great hire, Al. To even further put things in perspective, the guy followed a legend in Jim Calhoun and we both know that’s not easy.

    Tiger’s 38 now, man. Back surgery to miss his first ever Masters? What are we to expect from this guy in the future?

    Great opening day for the Rays but they come back to shit the bed in Game Two of that series.

    I like the Bulls, Al. I never said I didn’t. I just said I don’t think they have enough to win an NBA title.

    Heck, I’m not even sure Indiana does at this point.

  7. Burnsy…

    Couches coming to life, defending themselves and setting others on fire?

    I think you’ve been watching too many late night cartoons.

  8. The wheels have fallen off that Indiana bus and Larry Bird and GM Kevin Pritchard are in large part is to blame for that as they made no major moves to improve the roster at the trade deadline other than bringing in Evan Turner. Paul George’s game has tailed off , probably because of the “cat-fish” incident , photos finding their way unto a gay website and his impregnating a stripper while engaged to Doc Rivers’ daughter . WTF !

    Tger has spent too much time in the gym “pumping iron ” and pumping Lindsey Vonn’s ” lady parts ” and that’s all you need to to know concerning the simple deterioration in his game . You can’t put on 10-12 of muscle and then not do any calisthenics and stretching to elongate muscle trajectory .

    If the Huskies were to win out , it’d be an amazing job done by Ollie in his first season .

    With the Rays , it’s one down and one hundred-sixty to go . I mean it’s not as if the AL East has already been predetermined in terms of a champion as of yet .

  9. I don’t know if the tires have necessarily fallen off in Indy, Al. Clearly they’re not scoring these days. I think they’ll be fine come playoff time… maybe.

    Remember a few months ago when people were considering Paul George in the conversation as third best player in the league? What ever happened to that?

    Star power wins in the NBA, Al. Always have, always will. I’m not convinced the Pacers have that.

    My take on Tiger is up, and oh, did you see that deal the Rays just gave Chris Archer? Impressive.

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