Saturday, February 09, 2008

Hopelessly Late Post About New Year's Day

On New Year's Eve, in the midst of Fighting Illini Rose Bowl fever, Chicago's Channel 7 showed a photo of my parents' dog Molly dressed up in Illini garb:

There is a yellow labrador beneath all that orange. Yes, she looks ridiculous, but oddly enough, she seems to go along with whatever goofy costumes my mom puts on her. My mom sends us pictures of Molly dressed for every occasion... Except she thought I didn't care about the Illini in the Rose Bowl so she didn't send this one.

Yet on New Year's Day, I watched the Fighing Illini get trounced by the USC Trojans. While it is true that I don't watch much sports anymore, my mom forgot a few things:

  • I attended the University of Illinois prenatally, politely waiting until after final exams to put her into labor. So I've been associated with the school since before I was born. Then we lived in Champaign for the first three years of my life.
  • The last Illini Rose Bowl appearance, when I watched them get crushed by that other damned southern California team, UCLA, was one of the top five sporting events of my youth. Leading off 1984, that game should have steeled me for the disappointment that lay ahead in October, when the Cubs choked in the National League Championship Series after winning the first two games (at least the 1985 Bears followed through and won Super Bowl XX).
  • In 1992, I almost went to the U. of I. for an MBA until I decided I'd rather make money than stay in school. I received my acceptance letter the day after I decided not to go. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made, but that still makes the school either my "almost mater" or "alma not-er" (I can't decide which term I like better).
With all those connections to Champaign, how could I not watch the Rose Bowl? But as I said, it sucked, or more specifically, the Farting Illini sucked. I can't believe I waited nearly a quarter of a century to see that dismal performance. At least Mom finally sent us a picture of Molly Illiniwek after I told her I watched every miserable minute of the debacle (in their defense, no one dreamed they'd be as good as they were this year, so just making it to the Rose Bowl was sort of a victory).


Jennifer said...

Does this mean I'm a Saluki after all?

David Johnsen said...

I left out another reason: my NCAA Division III alma mater Aurora University is never on TV, so I may as well "adopt" a school that is, and the U. of I. is the obvious choice.