Since when did being an avid sports fan become a college necessity?

Editor’s note: This letter is a response to a previous column, “An open letter to graduate students about school spirit,” published in the Oct. 8, 2013, edition of The Daily Illini.

Your point that graduate students could find time for Illini sports if they wanted to is well taken.

Despite my schedule, I still have a small amount of free time. As an adult in a college town, I have a great deal of freedom as to how I spend my free time.

Cheering on the Illini is one option, and not a bad option at that.

However, that’s as far as your point goes, and so school spirit remains one choice among many. As for myself, I prefer other things.

I read, I check out new restaurants with friends, I stop by St. John’s at Sixth & Armory to pray and so forth. I often wish I had more time, because there are many more things I would love to do if I did, but I try not to waste too much time bemoaning the free time I don’t have or the opportunities I’m missing.

The implications in your open letter go further, however. You seem to imply that graduate students have an obligation to our athletes: “It’s not just the undergraduates’ jobs to show support for their University; you can pick up some of the slack.”

Where did this obligation come from? What right does our football team have to drag me out of bed on Saturday mornings?

I try my best to respect obligations to my teachers, my friends, my God and my country, and even to random strangers I’ve never met, but what law of the universe demands I give time and affection to particularly fit men and women wearing colorful, matching uniforms?

I understand that our culture puts athletes on a pedestal. This is a perfectly human thing, because worship is perfectly human action. However, I do not choose to worship human athletes, and you will never be able to shame me into doing so.

Brandon Biagioli,

graduate student in Law