Why we love Illinois
October 21, 2019
We don’t care that Illinois isn’t doing well right now.
We say we don’t care, but if we actually didn’t, we would stop watching the games.
We care about the amazing place that is Illinois, and we care about the family that comes with being an Illini fan.
We didn’t go to the homecoming game with any hope that Illinois was actually going to beat No. 6 Wisconsin. Literally, no one said that with an ounce of seriousness.
And yet, we did.
The celebration that took place was amazing and all I ever wanted from my college sports experience.
You came to the game to see your friends who had left; you came to reunite with fellow alumni; you came to see how campus changed, and for once, you got to see a breathtaking victory.
Illinois hasn’t won a homecoming game since beating Minnesota in 2014, until this Saturday’s upset.
But it’s not about this year’s team, or next year’s team; Illinois football is about the school and the memories with friends.
Years from now, I can sit and talk about the beautiful touchdown run in the second quarter that was revoked because Illinois can’t count and had too many players on the field.
I mean how hard is it to notice, ‘hey both of us play the same position, we should never be on the field together’ and prevent that from happening?
That touchdown would have had Illinois leading Wisconsin at the half.
Or, I can talk about how I tried my hardest to remain objective in the fourth quarter, and still ended up celebrating because before I am a journalist, I am a student.
Somehow, it all has become apart of the charm of the team.
Sure, there have been positives, there have been amazing plays (not always amazing games) that I can point out, but when it’s my time to come back as an alum, it won’t be in hopes for a win.
At this point in my college experience, Big Ten games have meant that it’s time to get my orange and blue tears ready, because a loss is coming.
It used to be frustrating, but I’ve realized that at each game, I am still going to get my hopes up.
Each week, I am still going to root for whatever victory, no matter how unlikely.
When Illinois scores, I am going to announce to press row that we will win the game, and that we are better than powerhouses like Clemson and Alabama combined.
That’s just the nature of the kind of Illini ‘fan’ I am.
We all defend the team to naysayers and people who quote the raw stats at us.
It’s not that we don’t want the team to be good or don’t acknowledge that they have been pretty bad in the last 5 years, there is just something about throwing on our orange and blue and screaming I-L-L that brings us all home, year after year.