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AU Crowd Goes Mild

You take your court stormings where you can get 'em.

I was at the American-Lafayette game on Saturday afternoon, and I'm not ashamed to say it was uproariously enjoyable.

The crowd was 2,400-something. The stakes were enormous; an AU win matched with a Navy loss--at a simultaneously played game in some upstate New York village--would give American the Patriot League regular season crown. As you might imagine, this led to near-constant updates on the video board and over the PA system. Ok, that's not quite true, but it did lead to fans in the stands shouting out for various bloggers on press row to provide score updates.

Navy led early, then fell behind. American led early, then saw the lead wither, then built it back up again even as Navy was falling behind. The excitement built. The pep band played Journey. "WE-ARE," Clap Clap, "A-U," Clap Clap, the students chanted, just like the "We Are George-town" cheer, in the same way Kwame Brown is just like Bill Russell.

A computer on press row began showing the Navy game, and a few fans gathered around the monitor to watch the end. With about 30 seconds left in American's game, the Navy loss went final. An official ran around the court to the PA announcer. The reporters anxiously awaited the explosion of noise at the announcement, and several pauses in the action provided the perfect opening. I envisioned group hugs. But alas, the Navy announcement came after the American game was already over and fans had begun the celebration.

What sort of celebration? Try a full-on court storming, attended by at least several dozen fans, plus assorted cheerleaders. I can't say I remember ever seeing a court storming for a non-televised game. I guess Comcast SportsyNet was there getting highlights, but without tons of TV cameras around it's unclear exactly what one is to do once one has stormed the court. Run to the other side? Do wind sprints? Disassemble the floor?

GO EAGLES! Stripe/stripe/oval.

In this case, the fans jumped about for maybe 45 seconds and then left.

Fans of the game? Awarded to the American track team, whose members entered singing their trademark song, to the tune of "When the Saints Go Marching In."

Here come the Eagles;
Here come the Eagles;
Here come the Eagles, we're fly-ing in.
You know we're going to beat the Leopards.
Here come the Eagles, we're fly-ing in.

Try listening to that without getting excited. Lyrics courtesy of distance runner Brandon Laks. The track guys had also painted their chests, front and back, to spell out GO EAGLES! stripe-stripe-AU. See, there were 11 painted track guys, but GO EAGLES requires only eight characters.

"So we had to come up with the exclamation mark and the stripes and 'AU,' " explained 800-meter runner Kris Kagan. He was "AU," one letter stacked on top of the other on his chest. From across the court, I initially thought he was symbolizing "Oval," or possibly a zero. The letters were kind of small and ran together. On the back he was advertising his campaign for student government vice president, which I'll gladly endorse.

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 3, 2008; 11:29 AM ET
Categories:  College Basketball  
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