Storming courts part of NCAA upset excitement

I have basketball on my mind, so it must be March. One state tournament is done; the other wraps up Saturday. March Madness — aka the NCAA tournament — will be here soon. Brackets will be filled, articles will be written about missed work time for brackets to be filled, and I'll pretty much bet you that one of the first two days of the tournament I'll be skipping a little work to look in at what's going on.

As it is usually inclined to be, the college basketball season has had its share of surprises this year. And if a big enough surprise and a big win — usually an upset — is claimed on a team's home court, fans storm the court to celebrate.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski complained recently about court rushes. Of course, if he's ever involved in one, it usually means his team just lost. Duke expects to win, so its crowd doesn't do much court-storming.

Personally, I think Krzyzewski needs to lighten up a bit. But since he's one of the major coaches around, people are falling in line behind him. I especially like watching the ESPN types say, "Yes, court-storming should be stopped," while the sports network continues to show highlights of such occurrences over and over.

And, yeah, I know it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt, but, for the most part, it just a quick rush of the court, a little jumping up and down and hand-slapping, then back to the library to study. (That is where they go next, isn't it?)

I had one court-storming session during my college years. My school, Creighton, had just won the championship game of the Missouri Valley Tournament on its home floor.

Rick Apke, our star player, outshot Indiana State's star player, who was some guy named Larry Bird. (I'll have to check sometime to see if he ever amounted to anything.)

After Apke hit the game-winner at the buzzer, I and a few hundred fellow students headed out onto the floor and a good time was had by all.

There will never be court-storming at the state tournaments. Threatening announcements, ropes held by fierce-looking security guys and glares from winning school faculty members keep that from happening. You wouldn't want to hurt your school's chances to win the sportsmanship award, you know.

At my advanced age, I'm sure my court-storming days are over. But, if you get the chance, when the buzzer sounds, do it and have a good time. Just try not to run anyone over.

Big CEO's not helping

CEOs at Yahoo and Best Buy sure aren't doing me any favors. Within the last week, executives at both of those companies have pulled in the reins on employees working from home.

Telecommuting is the fancy word we've given it. Simply put, with the technology we have at our hands today, some workers have found they don't necessarily need to be "at the office" to be "at the office."

For the last four or five years, and through eight different bosses, I've tried to point out I could be one of them. A lot of what I do with my real job, I contend, could be done from home. I really picked up the request level when we moved to a new house that has the perfect room for an office. It has Internet and everything.

There was a time, I must confess, I'm not sure I had the responsibility to be on my own, but I think I could handle it now. I'd even make the 22-mile drive to the office once a week or so if it made them feel any better. There have even been snow days through the years where my productivity hasn't waned while working from home.

But, alas, all my requests have fallen on deaf ears. And, now, they have more fuel for the fire. If it's good enough for Yahoo and Best Buy to stop, it's good enough for my employer to never start.

Oh, well, maybe it will snow a lot one more time this season and I'll get at least one more telecommuting day out of winter.

I hope it's the first day of the NCAA tournament.



Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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