You lost me at goodbye

By Jordan M. Benson

Today is a very sad day in the history of the University of Illinois. The school has announced that Chief Illiniwek will perform for the last time next Wednesday against Michigan. This marks the end of a tradition that dates back to 1926 and has been a lasting image of the pride and joy of the university. And you know what? This sucks. This sucks on all levels. This is the icing on the cake in regards to a world of political correctness and I can’t take it anymore. Let’s face it, in this day and age, traditions have no chance of surviving because somehow it will offend somebody. For those who have protested the Chief for all of these years, why does it offend you? When the clapping begins and he emerges from the clutter of the Marching Illini during the Three-In-One, do the goosebumps that race up your skin offend you? When he really gets going and starts corralling his legs back and forth, does the sudden joy you hear from the surrounding undergrads and alumni offend you? When he lifts his hands high up into the sky and you put your arms around the people next to you and sing the alma mater ever so true, SO TRUE, does that offend you too? If you answered yes to any of these questions, why do you go to our school? Illinois alums and undergrads pride themselves in these traditions and it is lost without the Chief. Chief Illiniwek is more than a mascot, he is the spirit of the University and without him, the school has lost its pride.

Yes, Chief Illiniwek will perform one more time and it will mean more than it ever has before. It is truly saddening to see him go and I hope for those who were anti-Chief are happy. They got what they wanted, a spineless university that will probably never recover from the amount of money they will lose from alumni donations for generations to come. I am a legacy alum of this University and have gone to games since I was eight and my kids will probably go to Illinois too. It is sad to say that I will not be able to share this experience with my kids. This experience I am referring to was a tradition. A tradition that will be lost in the eyes of the public but certainly not in the hearts of alumni.

Long live the Chief.

Jordan M. Benson

University alumus ’06