COLUMN: Loss at Rose Bowl stirs emotions in seniors’ last game

By Jason Grodsky

Favorite story:

My favorite story I wrote came just before the semester even started. It developed on the field following Illinois’ loss to USC in the Rose Bowl. Witnessing the emotion that came pouring out of the seniors after playing their last game was something I tried to capture.

Best game I covered:

Rarely does the hype of a game translate into a game to remember, but in the case of the Illinois-Indiana basketball game, it did. Seeing Demetri McCamey emerge as the best freshman on the court over Eric Gordon was priceless. Although the ending, both on and off the court, wasn’t what was desired, it was a classic in the newly rediscovered rivalry.

Most challenging story:

I have to go back to the Illinois-Indiana game story. Because it went into double overtime, I was pressured and pushed to not only capture everything, but to do it in about 10 minutes.

Play of the year:

It was one only a handful of people saw. It came at Illinois Field when junior second baseman Joe Bonadonna straight-up stole home in the Illini’s victory over Western Illinois. It brought back images of “The Sandlot,” and the Jet stealing home in the final scene.

Best quote:

“It’s too hooot!” – crazy guy on our 54-hour bus ride from Chicago to Los Angeles who randomly yelled this to the bus driver in the middle of the night. Go back and read the BLOG: Adventures on Route 666 on the DI’s Web site to get the entire story about the bus ride.

Best interview:

The football writers’ tag-team interview with Lee Corso and Brent Musburger at the Rose Bowl.

Most telling off-the-field moment:

The disrespectful treatment of Eric Gordon and his family after the Illinois-Indiana game at Assembly Hall. Sorry Krush, but on that night, you were not one of the finer student sections in the nation.

Story line for ’08-’09:

University decides to move hockey team from club to NCAA. Probably not going to happen, but hey, when was the last time a team won two national titles?