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Thursday, April 12, 2007

All right, Florida, That's Enough

First they upset the Buckeyes in the BCS Championship game. Then they defeat the tOSU basketball team in the NCAA final. Now the Florida Gators have taken something even more dear to the Buckeye faithful than helmet stickers, Woody, and the 'Shoe - the post-game riot.

Yes, they've stolen Ohio State's favorite pastime.

It reminds me of when Auburn's library had a fire and 20 books were burned. Then Gator football coach Steve Spurrier quipped, "The bad part is 15 of them hadn't been colored yet."

P.S. Was the above an isolated incident in the wake of the Gator victory or was it common that night?


Go Blue Gabe said...

Talk about pouring salt into an open wound. Is nothing sacred?

Yant said...

On University Ave., which is the primary bar scene right off of campus, things were pretty chaotic. Gainesville PD was wise enough to close down the entire street for the length that it borders campus, a good Ten to Twelve Blocks. Here's what I saw over the course of about 45 minutes post game:

Two fires at the intersection of U. and 17th street (right in front of the Swamp Restaurant) - one a flaming barstool, the other I understand was made of trash and cardboard. Local police and fire fighters were on hand and took care of this pretty rapidly, putting out the fire and ushering kids away from the vicinity. These were the only fires I witnessed, but I did not venture into the Student Ghetto, where I imagine that video was filmed. That place is crazy enough on nights when we DON'T win some kind of championship.

Fireworks, many of them. Most seemed to be launched from the street surrounded by a hundred people. Somehow no one was injured.

The usual attempts to toilet paper the entire area was met with tremendous failure, and nothing stuck on the traffic lights. I am personally embarrassed for the entire student body, which seems to be made up of noodle-armed foreign exchange students.

The destruction of most all landscaping in the area, either from being trampled by the drunken mobs, or ripped up in frustration by students who were unable to climb any streetlights (GPD started greasing them after the first championship).

A small group of people climbed upon a small awning over a local shop, and proceeded to dance like a bunch of drunks. The common consensus on the Campus side of the street, where myself and many others stood upon a low wall to get a better view of the celebration was that this could only end in someone's death. That thing should have collapsed. One girl up there flashed the only boobs I saw all night, and from 30 yards away I could still tell that they were unimpressive.

Nothing else really happened around campus from my memory: Gainesville and UF Police have done a great job of letting the kids celebrate in a safe, contained area. This one was considerably more chaotic than last year's, though I can't comment on January's celebration because I was in Glendale at the time (Side note: OSU fans were assholes).

Anyways, in all three celebrations the only recorded incidents consisted of a handful of small fires which were quickly contained, general destruction of local shrubbery, one kid hit by a car while streaking, and one death (I'll get to that one in a second). No mass rioting, no upturned cars, no chastising from the School or the community for students acting like total jackasses. Pretty good behavior for what had to 20-30 thousand people this time around.

The major tragedy coming from last Monday was the death of a Gainesville Police officer following a hit-and-run. Officer Dahlem - a 22 year vet at GPD - was hit while directing traffic at 2:30 in the morning as the celebration was winding down. He was apparently directing traffic away from the section of University Ave. that was closed to traffic when he was struck by a truck that was driving through the closed section of U. Ave.
The driver (a student at University of North Florida) kept driving and ran two police motorcycles off the road before he was pulled over. The driver blew a 0.24 BAC, or three times the legal limit in Florida. Reports have him doing between 45 and 70 MPH in a 35 zone. Officer Dahlam died a couple days later.

It's such a damn shame that something like this had to happen. GPD did such an excellent job of maintaining order for the three championship celebrations and probably helped prevent many students from injuring themselves or other in a less controlled environment. In one moment some douchebag kid from Jacksonville managed to wipe away all the good things that had happened in Gainesville the last year. I personally hope he gets the chair.

Ryan said...

Is that what Noah was ranting and raving about? That was a pretty lame riot.

Mike P. said...

As any WTO protest atendee could tell you, you don't burn couches in the street. You burn tires! They're much more difficult to put out and you're on a street. The supply is damn near endless if you have a lug wrench.

Fucking rookies!!!

Out of Conference said...

I think Noah was ranting and raving about doing it up Michael Irving style- not crazy white kids burning shit- style.

srudoff said...

someday you guys will win something again and get your chance to riot

beast in 'bama said...

Awesome. Wow. Fire. Dude.

It sure is a basketball school now. This proves it.

G8RB8R said...

yant - I think the death of the police officer, pretty much overshadowed anything else that happened in Hogtown that night. The local news channels in Jax, other than reporting on the NC, spent the remainder of their air time reporting on the hit n run incident; I didn't even hear or see anything of fires in G'ville from that night until I saw this posting.

Best fire I remember in G'ville - 1967, when the ROTC bldg was torched in protest of the Viet Nam War. If I remember correctly, the bldg was in the area between the baseball stadium & the ODome. That was the end of mandatory ROTC on campus. Most definitely, if a fire can be termed good, that was a damned good fire.