All my life I have been loyal to those teams which were the teams of my home state, my native soil. My loyalties in baseball have never once parted from my beloved Cubs. In football I watched the Bears even though my first really memorable experiences as a Bears fan were of Dave Wannstedt, followed by the Jauron era. In basketball, always a sport which has never had any chance of moving above the number 3 slot on my list of favorites, I watched the Bulls during the Jordan era, followed them erratically through the glory days of the Skiles era, and am most likely about to head into another period of complete apathy towards the NBA. Illinois football and basketball have been my college teams all my life as well, not out of any real personal connection to the school, but out of a love my native state. In football, I remember Chris Pazan, Brad Bower, Jon Beutjer, and 1-10. I remember my Kurt Kittner shrine. I remember when Simeon Rice actually played there (a thousand Illini football fans who just found their loyalty this season responded to that with "really, we had Simeon Rice?). In basketball I've followed them through the Lon Kruger years, the terror that was Nick Smith, Frankie Williams lard-ass, Bill Self's defection, and the national title run that ended in a game that I will maintain till my dying breath was plagued by slanted officiating. But no more. I now attend Bradley University. It is in the state of Illinois, thus it is my native soil. Its actually only ten minutes away from my place of birth. It is a division one basketball team with a recent trip to the Sweet Sixteen under its belt. While Bradley has no football team, thus leaving me to remain loyal to the Illini, the existence of its basketball team demands that in all propriety my allegiance belongs to the Braves. This is not me jumping from a sinking ship. Bradley is 8-9, Illinois is 9-9. I am merely choosing my school over one that sits in a distant campus that I will never attend. I will follow Illinois basketball still, at a remove, forever holding them as my number 2, but I am a Bradley Braves follower. They at least have already beaten Iowa, giving me bragging rights over Iggins! As for the Illini, I bid you a fond farewell, and I hope that the road brings you back to glory, which, while I shall enjoy it, will not result in me jumping back and maiming Iggins! with proclamations of "my" teams glory. I am a Bradley Braves fan. There, the word is out. Attack me not with your indignation toward Illini basketball. If you wish to discuss Illini football, I retain the undivided loyalty of the devoted fan, but as for basketball, I am detached, nonchalant, and free.
And Bruce Weber really IS an annoying dick. God, that felt good.