Campus celebration commendable, I-L-L

All is well in Illini nation this Monday following the football team’s epic triumph over Ohio State. Congratulations is deserved by many for what may possibly be the biggest victory in the program’s history. As the final seconds ticked off the clock in Columbus, this campus erupted in celebration. What followed was a great example of how to show support for the team and the community.

Hundreds of people took to the streets around 6 p.m. Saturday. The crowd moved from the Alma Mater down Green Street shouting at motorists who honked back. The whole crowd held up traffic, and at first glance the scene looked like sheer chaos. It was soon apparent that a combination of good police work and student discretion kept the party going without anyone getting hurt.

Officers, to their credit, did not try to disperse the crowd and allowed students the opportunity to make a few memories. They used their squad cars to block traffic and made sure that pedestrians remained safe.

For their part, students showed that property damage is not a required component of a campuswide celebration. Except for an unlucky traffic barrel that was mistaken for a beach ball, homes and businesses around Campustown went undamaged.

Even the orange-clad pilgrimage to an empty Memorial Stadium for a climb up the goal post ended quickly and peacefully without any injury or damage to the field.

With local police reporting no arrests or injuries related to the jubilation, students proved that they can handle themselves without hurting themselves. This is good news with basketball season kicking off and a likely bowl game on the horizon.

The University community and local police refrained the kind of overreaction that has dampened similar celebrations on other campuses following huge victories by sports teams. Instead of that, scores of people traveled to Willard Airport to greet the team as it stepped off its charter flight. The scene on the tarmac of players waving and signing autographs is far preferable to flaming cars and Dumpsters.

The kind of destruction we want to remember from Saturday is that of Ohio State’s perfect record at the hands of head coach Ron Zook, quarterback Juice Williams and the rest of this year’s excellent squad.

All was quiet this weekend in Columbus as the national championship was snatched from the hands of the Buckeyes. But it’s likely that the noise from Champaign could be heard in Ohio.

Thanks to students, community members and police, the sounds we’ll be remembering from this weekend aren’t sirens but never-ending chants of I-L-L … I-N-I.