Rushing the Field in St. Louis

christiano-ronaldo-rush-field-hugThis past Saturday I witnessed something I had never seen before in person.

I was among the 54,000 people who attended a friendly match between the European football powerhouses Real Madrid and Inter Milan. It was a great game–there were several amazing goals, and it was neat to see how many people showed up to watch.

Earlier in the week, Real Madrid had a tournament game against Chelsea. As you can see in the video below, during the second half a fan ran onto the field towards Christiano Ronaldo, one of the best players in the world.

I’ve heard that this is a scary moment for players. They don’t know what the fan’s intentions are. Most likely they’re just trying to get in the spotlight, but every now and then they might have something malicious in mind.

Fortunately, that wasn’t this fan’s plan. He just wanted to talk to Ronaldo. As you can see in the video, Ronaldo embraced the fan and held him while security guides raced to his aid. His quick thinking made it more of a tender moment than a risky situation.

Fast forward to the game in St. Louis. After the third Real Madrid goal, this one coming from Brazilian superstar Kaka (Ronaldo was off the field by this point), a fan rushed the field and gave Kaka a big hug. My guess is that he saw the Ronaldo video on YouTube and wanted his own moment in front of the world.

It was awkward, but unfortunately it didn’t stop there. A few seconds after security carted him away, two more fans rushed the field. Then another. Then another. For a brief second, I was seriously worried that hundreds of drunk St. Louisians were going to rush the field. It was like the floodgates had opened. At least they kept their clothes on.

Fortunately, that was the last of it…until the end of the game. When the final whistle blew, about 10 people rushed the field from all different directions (security was woefully understaffed). The players were immediately ushered out of the stadium.

As someone who has called St. Louis home for 14 years now, I was embarrassed by this behavior. It isn’t often that we get such elite soccer teams here, and if this is how we act, they’re not going to come back. Sure, it was only about 15 people out of 54,000, but you just don’t rush the field. I wonder if those people even know that you get arrested for doing that.

Have you ever seen someone rush the field or streak? How was it?