Following in Dad’s footsteps, weekend is a family affair


Illio Yearbook

The Illini break through a banner at the 1981 Homecoming football game while the cheerleading squad encourages the football team from the side.

By Harrison Lindholm, Staff writer

I am a third-generation Illini. Both of my parents attended the University of Illinois from 1979 to 1984. It is here that they met and soon after got married. My maternal grandfather was also a student at the University and spent time here in the 1950s. My grandfather served on the student senate and had a part in the building of Assembly Hall (now the State Farm Center).

Although these people in my life eventually graduated and moved away from campus, they’ve always had the Illini in their hearts and on their minds. Grandpa Jack has gone to a Illini football game almost every year since his graduation and always stays until the time is up, no matter the score.

It is really exciting for me when my parents or my grandpa come to visit. There is something special shared between people who belong to the same group. Whether it be a religious organization, a club, a school or a company, there is strong sense of community shared by members. Additionally, those who belonged from past generations can give an interesting perspective.

My father told me a story about when he was a senior. He was a member of the cheerleading squad for the Illini, allowing him to be on the field for all the home football games as well as a few of the away games, including the trip the Illini took to the Liberty Bowl in 1982.

He told me about his father coming down to the University for Dad’s Day. All of the cheerleaders used to have their faces covered in “war paint” in orange and white, and for Dad’s Day, the cheerleaders painted their dads’ faces with the same paint.

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Although the routines that the cheerleaders often do are very complicated, the students showed the dads how to lay their bodies down so the word “dad” would appear. During the halftime show, in between the famous Three in One, the cheerleaders and their dads ran out to the fifty yard line, and laid down. The dads had trouble completing this task, but with some assistance, everyone was placed in the right spot.

Dad’s Day was very special for my father and his father. He got to show his father the parts of his campus life that were important to him. Coming together with your family, and sharing a piece of your life with them is what makes Dads and Moms weekends so very special. It gives them a glimpse of these special years in our lives.  I cannot wait for my dad to come and visit so he can reminisce and we can both share that which is the University.

Harrison is a sophomore in DGS.

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