NCAA Championship Game 2012: Chaos Sullies Kentucky's Celebration

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NCAA Championship Game 2012: Chaos Sullies Kentucky's Celebration
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

When are people going to stop thinking it's a good idea to shoot guns and light things on fire when their teams win championships?

As has seemingly become the norm over the last several years, some fans in Kentucky celebrated the Wildcats' 67-59 win over Kansas in the NCAA title game by setting small fires and, in one case, shooting a gun, which wounded a man. Dozens were arrested during the celebrations in Lexington.

Battalion Chief Ed Davis of the Lexington Division of Fire and Emergency Services told the Associated Press that he heard yelling about 25 feet away while he was filling out paperwork regarding a fire engine wreck and then heard a gun go off "quite a few times."

The gunman disappeared into the crowd and was unable to be located, and the wounded man was taken to the University of Kentucky Medical Center with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries, Lieutenant Clayton Roberts told the AP.

It seems that recently, when a team wins a championship, it is to be expected that fans will riot. SWAT teams will be out in full force. Cars will be turned over, fires will be set, there will be lots of alcohol and, in some cases, fans will shoot guns. This all puts the safety of ecstatic celebrants in question.

Without all of the chaos in Kentucky, this was such an amazing achievement for head coach John Calipari and the Wildcats.

Kentucky finished the 2011-12 season with a 38-2 record with three freshman and two sophomores as starters, becoming the first team without a junior or senior starter to win the national championship since at least 1985. Calipari, whose previous trips to the Final Four have been vacated due to NCAA violations, won his first title.

Naismith Player of the Year Anthony Davis tallied 74 rebounds during the tournament, the fourth-highest total in the last 40 seasons. Davis also became the fourth freshman to win the Final Four Most Outstanding Player Award, the first since Carmelo Anthony in 2003.

It's always such a spectacular achievement to win a championship—particularly in the case of the Wildcats' 19- and 20-year-olds, who will likely be off to the NBA next season—and fans should certainly be able to fill the streets and celebrate. Sports, and championships in particular, bring fans together in a way that little else can. It gives people with little else in common a cause to unite around and rally for.

But why has it become instinctual to celebrate with chaos? Why do these championships have to be overshadowed by violence, arrests and, in this case, gunfire? Why, when their teams win a title, do fans feel the need to say to themselves, "I really want to go tip over a car right now"?

For a lot of teams, a lot of players and a lot of fans, winning a national title is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it's something that should be remembered as nothing short of spectacular. It shouldn't have to be marred by senseless, inane acts of violence.

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