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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I Am No Traitor

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.

BREAKING NEWS: Illini fans officially switch sports

CHAMPAIGN, IL- Word was confirmed today on a long-held suspicion in the sports industry; fans of University of Illinois sports have officially switched the one sport they pay attention to from basketball to football. Athletic Director Ron Guenther held a press conference in Champaign this morning.

"I had a long, well-thought-out meeting with several revered members of the Illini community; President B. Joseph White, Red Grange's soul, and several average Illini fans. After quite some time, much of it filled with reminiscing about the old days of Illini basketball, we decided to forsake basketball and switch our minds to care for football... the fact is, our brains can only take caring about one sport at a time."

When pressed with questions about what his ex-wife's name was, what his second son's name and birthday were, and what he ate for dinner two nights ago, Mr. White was unable to answer.

The mood around the University of Illinois campus was surprisingly accepting. Many had even already adopted the telltale Illini fan signs of blase towards basketball.

"I really just don't care because our football team is so good. Our football team had a better record than yours this year so our basketball team MUST also be better," remarked John Mackins, a University of Illinois Sophomore. When our cameraman remarked that he was an LSU fan, John remarked, "Well we went to the Rose Bowl! And we have more national titles overall than you!!" utilizing the classic "A long time ago we were better so it makes us better now" Illini response.

That very response will now be used exclusively when any Illini fan is questioned about basketball. This reporter remarked to 20 Illini students and all twenty used the phrases "Total Final Four appearances", "Record over the last 10 seasons", and "37-2" at least once, and many used all three simultaneously. Several even told us that Illini basketball had more Rose Bowl appearances than Iowa.

When AD Ron Guenther was questioned about this he said "It may take some time for the students to sort out their poorly made defenses of our basketball program. They are so used to using the, quite honestly, pitiful defenses they have made for our football program that their brains may have to take a few weeks to think up more of them for basketball. Remember, our brains can only take one sport at a time here at the University of Illinois. This is far too much thinking for any of our students to do."

Remember that the telltale signs of an Illini fan include (now referencing basketball instead of football):
- Swearing that their team is better than yours because they were better several seasons prior.
- Swearing that their basketball team is better because their football team is good.
- Justifying their uncaring for all sports but football by repeatedly telling you that Ron Zook is great.
-Breaking down to tears when you reference Bill Self compared to Bruce Weber.

Bill Self was reached for comment, but his only reply was a 60 second voicemail filled with hysterical laughter pointed at the University of Illinois.