For those of you that don’t know, (or haven’t seen my wardrobe), I attended the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I played trombone in the Marching Illini and Illini Basketball Band. I attended all but maybe a handful of football and basketball (mens and womens) games during my 5 years while a student. To say I like the Illini is an understatement.
Or until recently, anyway.
You see, my fandom has always danced that fine line between extreme and obsession. Half of my wardrobe consists of orange articles of clothing. Not only is orange clothing rare, I actually have to make an effort to not wear something orange. Have you ever done a load of laundry consisting of ONLY orange clothing? Didn’t think so.
Today is special for a reason that I’m ashamed to admit: for the first time in the last 13 years, I did not wear orange on the same day that the Illini had a basketball game. I guess I should take a few steps back here; win or lose, for the longest time the excitement I got from watching the games and the ties it had to the best 5 years of my life made Gameday the happiest day of the year. The fact it happened 30 times a year made it even better; its like Christmas happening twice a month.
But this year something different happened to me that shook my very foundation. I lost enjoyment watching this basketball team. Huh? What? (Record Scratch!) No, I still enjoy college basketball and love sports in general, but to quote a tweet I saw online, watching this Illini team places the viewer firmly in a “No-Fun Zone.” Their effort and performance on the court have certainly not lived up to the expectations they set with their victory at Gonzaga. I questioned why I would put so much energy and effort into a team when I didn’t think their efforts were worthy of my efforts to be a fan.
So I punished them by watching the game tonight instead of going. (Snowmageddon had a minor role in this decision to not use my season ticket). And just when I thought they couldn’t stoop any lower, they played “decent” and “with energy” to TOTALLY REDEEM THEMSELVES!
So if anyone has tickets to the game at Northwestern this weekend, I’d be interested.