Opinion | Be safe during Unofficial


Mark Capapas

A participant of Unofficial stares at KAM's as his friend is taken into an OSF ambulance during Unofficial on March 1, 2019.

By Tommy Block, Senior Columnist

I’d like to think I’m fun. I’ll bike my heart out on a nice spring day. I’ll never turn down a round of mini-golf. I’ll spend hours in the kitchen making some spicy vegetarian chili, and I’ll soak in every aroma-filled second. I know how to have a good time, hand on my heart.

You’re probably planning on having yourself a good time this weekend, though we might be talking about a different kind of good time here. This is the kind of “good time” that involves certain individuals partaking in certain activities in celebration of a certain tradition, one that is a consequence of yet another tradition’s poor timing. As a requisite for this tradition, a certain type of beverage will be consumed, and to the chagrin of most of these individuals’ grandparents, it won’t be club soda.

If you are poised to participate in these certain activities, then it should be the responsibility of a certain staff writer at The Daily Illini to cut to the chase and give you some advice: Please be safe during this Unofficial holiday. 

The event, of course, is and has been a centerpiece of our University’s culture for decades. It dates back to 1995, when local bars in Champaign jointly held a St. Patrick’s Day party, then called the “Shamrock Stagger,” to compensate for the revenue they were projected to lose to Spring Break vacation.

From one fun person to another: I’m aware this weekend comes only once a year. It probably feels like it’s been even longer since the last Unofficial; after the rigorous gauntlet of midterms and papers that topped this past February off, you’ve surely been itching to get your party on. Chances are that you’ve earned the right to do so, and besides, the time you spend with your friends will remain just as valuable to you beyond graduation as the skills you pick up in class.

That’s just the thing, however: Unofficial takes up just one night, and according to Google, you have about 21,535 of those left. Please don’t forget that life will continue after this Friday, and an ill-advised decision can come back to bite you, as soon as next morning or as late as a week from now. (A week, for reference, was about how long it took one time for my friend’s black eye to heal — he woke up without the slightest memory of how he got it.)

In conclusion, keep yourself in mind. Even though they can often be one and the same, your health matters more than your social life. You should want to have fun, but recall that a little goes a long way. 

Translation: Enjoy The Red Lion after dinner, not before breakfast.

Tommy is a senior in Engineering.

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