Letter: Polite Illini

I was part of the mass of people who spilled onto Green Street and the Quad after the game Monday, and I have never been so proud to be an Illini. I did not see one person push or shove, even the drunkest people were being polite.

We swarmed the Alma Mater, and after helping about five people up onto it, those people pulled me up as well. I hung onto the statue and the various people attached to it for a good five minutes before several of us fell off. The crowd around our feet caught us all and we crowd surfed before being let down to the ground, uncerimoniously, but unhurt. The people around me helped me to my feet, then we cheered some more. A few minutes later I decided to get up into the tree behind the Alma Mater. My boyfriend and some random guy gave me a boost and I climbed as high as I could get. It was a sea of orange from the Quad down past Green and Wright, chanting and yelling, but without the violence that so often accompanies that. Our fans, like our players, are unselfish and a real team.

I felt so happy at that point; who cares if we lost? We had the best season any Illini team ever had, the best season of any team in the country, and our players and fans have one thing UNC doesn’t: class. It’s been said before, and it will be said again, but one thing really illustrated it for me last night. If we’d won, I know Deron Williams would not have shoved a UNC player aside to wave his jersey in that player’s face, but a Tar Heel did it to him. Their players came off as immature, childish little boys and all-around bad sports, while our players were gracious, sportsman-like men. I want to congratulate Weber and the coaching staff, the team and all the students and fans who showed the true Illini spirit last night and throughout the tournament.

Kari Wallace

junior in LAS

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