You know how they say that eskimos have like 1000 words for snow? With each new post I write it feels like I need to come up a new way to say “ouch.”
There area number of things about losing to Illinois that make it feel like your sliding down a razor blade into a swimming pool filled with rubbing alcohol.
It seems to be important to fit into a role. It’s like being on the Real World. On the Real World you need to have the black guy, the gay guy, the asshole, the slut, the naive farm/religious person.
In sports, it seems that you have to have the underdog, the powerhouse, the heroes, the villians, the cheaters, the righteous. We have been many things, the powerhouse, the underdog, the righteous, and sadly, the cheaters. But each of our identities has been of our own making and based on our own merits. We have never sought to identify ourselves in relation to others.
Enter Illinois. I’ve lived in Illinois for close to a decade now, and until last year I had no opinion of Illinois basketball at all. Other than the game in ’89 that we lost on the most improbable shot after Jay Edwards most improbable shot, I have no significant memories of playing Illinois. They don’t appear on my radar. I challenge you to come up with an Illinois memory prior to last year.
Since Eric Gordon changed his mind and decided to come to IU, the entire Illinois basketball program has decided that they are going to play the role of douchebag. Their identity as a mediocre basketball program wasn’t enough for them and rather than separate themselves from the pack based on their own merit they decided to pick a fight with us.
They acted with less class than a Kentucky fan last year and spent an entire game screaming obscenities at a college freshman. And they lost.
Then, this summer, when Bruce Weber was asked about his team for the upcoming year instead of giving an honest answer about his team, he decided to take a shot at us.
Let me tell you something Bruce. If the best you can say about your team is that you’ll be better than the youngest, least experienced team in the history of basketball then you should probably just shut up because it’s obvious that even you think your team isn’t worth talking about.
We lost on Saturday to a better team, which is sad because they aren’t a good team. They’ll finish in the middle of the Big Ten, like they always do, with very few exceptions and in two years we’ll be head and shoulders better than them again and I’ll cease caring about Illinois except for twice a year.
And speaking of their exceptions. Did you see the ads for the celebration of all things Illinois basketball program they were airing after the game on Saturday? The best they could come up with to celebrate was two years where they came kind of close to winning a championship.
Try not to rest too much on your laurels, kids. I’m so happy, that the best and brightest moments in the history of IU basketball don’t revolve around the years we almost won something.
I guess if that was my legacy, I’d try to make my bones by kicking a better program when they were down too.
After getting myself all worked up like that I really need to turn something up loud. This feels like the right choice. It’s not a real video for this song, but this song is just great and it makes me feel a little bit better.