Oklahoman writers recount their experiences storming the field, or the court, or not making it at all.
Mike Baldwin: Dancing on the infield at Royals Stadium
The Kansas City Royals caught a huge break in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series, the worst umpire call in Major League history. The Royals took advantage with clutch ninth-inning hits, then romped 11-0 in Game 7.
Thanks to my friend Jeff Petersen, I had a Game 7 ticket in the leftfield bleachers. With the outcome determined by the fifth inning, a guy in his late 20s had ample time to scheme a way onto the field.
I waited near the third-base dugout for a couple of ushers to grab two other fence jumpers then leaped down onto the field with no resistance.
After grabbing a handful of dirt from the mound, I stared at it and realized it wasn't a souvenir. Besides, I had no way to transport dirt back to Oklahoma City.
The must-have souvenir was a copy of the following day's Kansas City Star. Too bad none of the photos showed me dancing on the field.
Travis Haney: Goal-post plan foiled by a kicker
We weren't even in town for a football game.
My best friend and I had driven from Knoxville, where we were seniors in college, to Durham to see our first Duke basketball game. The Devils were opening the season that night against Army, Coach K's alma mater.
That's a story for another time, but we happened to notice that, hey, the Duke-North Carolina football game is at Duke this year. We hit that game as a pregame.
Let's just say that nine-miles-apart rivalry doesn't really carry over to the football field. Both teams were 2-9 and winless in seven conference games.
Funny thing was, when misery was expected, a great game broke out. Duke scored with 53 seconds left — a friend of mine from my hometown in Georgia making the extra point — to go ahead 21-20.
That was when we decided this was it. We were ready to hop over the brick wall and, even if it was just four or five of us, we were going to take down the goalposts. We didn't know how that was done, exactly, but we were going to do it.
We'd seen it happen on the road to Tennessee a few times. We wanted to be part of this.
It was Duke football. They'd be proud of us if we did this, right? Security was minimal. The risk was minimal. And, well, no one knew us in Raleigh-Durham.
Perfect. Until …
The Heels had a chance to kick a long field goal. Dan Orner was some dude I'd never heard of, replacing Jeff Reed that year at UNC. We thought, “No way.” But we watched the ball sail through the uprights — the ones we were planning on tearing down — right in front of us.
At least we had Cameron that night?
I've never even been remotely that close to rushing the field or tearing down goalposts, which is at the same time both relieving and regrettable.
John Helsley: Watching my back in amid ‘quack attack'
I'd gone down to the field for the final minutes of Oklahoma's game at Oregon in 2006 — yeah, that OU-Oregon game — not to storm the field but to get a jump on the march to the postgame press conference of what figured to be a Sooner victory.
Going down early is pretty standard procedure for reporters.
Getting trampled is not.
Of course, the game went sideways for OU, in more ways than one.
The onside kick. Garrett Hartley's blocked field goal.
From every angle, folks wearing green or gold — men, women, children — ran at breakneck speed, literally, across the field at Autzen Stadium.
The sound of trampling feet and the breeze created by racing passersby created a more than uneasy feeling.
Quickly, I worked my way to an end zone wall and backed myself against it, at least eliminating 180 degrees of blindside danger.
And I stood and watched. And thought, “What fun.”
Gina Mizell: A James Harden-inspired court-storming
I had two opportunities to storm the field my sophomore year at Arizona State in 2007, when the Sun Devils beat California and Arizona.
But as I look back on it, neither win was an upset, so it's kind of silly the field was stormed. That's probably why I didn't do it. I did casually walk onto the field after the mad rush both times, but that doesn't count to me.
I have, however, stormed the court.
The 2009 home matchup between No. 18 ASU and No. 11 UCLA was one of the biggest basketball games in Tempe in recent memory. That season, the Sun Devils were led by a sophomore stud named James Harden — maybe you've heard of him?
I was in the front row of the student section with the buddies I always went to football and basketball games with, and we witnessed a thrilling 74-67 ASU win as the Sun Devils completed just their third sweep of UCLA in 30 years.
ASU point guard Derek Glasser hit a big 3-pointer from the right corner to give the Sun Devils a 69-67 lead with 1:17 to go, and they pulled away after that. I remember the arena security guards warning us not to storm the court and trying to create a human barricade in front of the student section as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Yeah, that didn't work.
I'd like to say I had no choice — it was run on the court or get trampled. But, I admit, I was totally stoked to do it. I remember Harden climbing onto the scorer's table and screaming and pumping up the students while we all threw up the pitchfork sign, jumped up and down and chanted “A-S-U.”
That was one of the more entertaining college basketball games I've seen in person, and one of my favorite memories from college. Just plain fun.
Berry Tramel: Swept up in a John Blake stampede
I was on the sidelines at the end of the 1997 OU-Syracuse game at Owen Field. The media usually goes down to the field in the final minutes so that it can easily reach the interview room.
When the Sooners blocked a last-play field goal attempt to preserve a 36-34 victory, I suddenly realized the fans were coming out of the stands. OU had won just three of 12 games under John Blake to that point, so victory was an adrenaline rush.
I thought, I've got to step aside and get out of people's way. But I couldn't. The rush was so great, that you had to go with the flow.
And suddenly, I felt myself moving without my legs doing the work. I, and apparently everyone else, was literally was being swept like a wave. Finally, somewhere in the middle of the field, the momentum subsided and I could get my footing and work my way to escape.
But scary. Very scary. Now I know how people are trampled to death.
Mike Sherman: Postgame with the Terps
I grew up 20 minutes from College Park, Md., and my buddy Jimmy Black's family had University of Maryland season tickets. My family took him to Baltimore Colts football games. His took me to Terps football and basketball games. Yeah, I got the better end.
Terps basketball games were a big, big deal — until Dean Smith brought his Tar Heels to Cole Field House and showed us what really good really looked like. My buddy Jimmy and I were 17 and didn't know any better. We thought Lefty and the Terps were the world's best example of undiscovered greatness.
Then one Saturday afternoon in January of 1979, Digger Phelps brought No. 1-ranked Notre Dame and NBC to Cole for a nationally-broadcast game. The names on that Notre Dame squad — Kelly Tripuka, Tracy Jackson, Bill Hanzlik, Bill Laimbeer and a young Orlando Wooldridge — may not sound as impressive now as they did then. Plus, Al McGuire was there to call the game. And Al McGuire was the coolest cat in basketball.
When big Larry Gibson's free throw in the closing seconds gave Maryland a 67-66 upset of the Irish, everyone — including my buddy Jimmy's parents — took leave of their senses. All the UM students started rushing the court and Jimmy's parents let us run along right behind them.
Next thing I know, there we were, doing jumping jacks and waving our arms like a couple idiots behind Dick Enberg and Al McGuire's post-game interview with the Lefthander.
If you ever find the clip on Youtube — and believe me, I've looked — you'll see Lefty turn around to glare at whomever "accidentally" patted him on the back of his bald head.
I swear it wasn't me.