Okay, so my team is in the NCAA final championship game. This is unheard of for the University of Illinois--we're usually pretty good, but not this good! Having graduated in '99, there's not a soul left there that is even remotely familiar to me, although to be honest I was never that keyed into the sport scene when I was there. All my friends were band nerds, though, so I'm used to seeing the familiar faces in the trombone or trumpet section. This is one of the few times I really wish I was still back in Chicago. There would be a lot more people to celebrate with.
Being part of these mass events is one of the things I miss most about college. I loved being a part of something huge. I loved Thursday nights in my dorm, knowing every other TV on the floor was tuned to NBC at 7:00 when "Friends" came on. (The entire floor screamed in unison when Ross and Rachel kissed for the first time.) I loved Saturday mornings in the fall when the football team had a home game; I'd join the throng and march with the band from the Armory to the stadium and go crazy during the pre-game show. (Gotta love band friends--they got two tickets to each game, so I never missed one.) I loved whatever day it was that The Onion came out and everyone was walking on the Quad with their face buried in the newspaper. And I especially loved singing "Loyalty" at the end of the football halftime show, arms around each other's shoulders, swaying and singing, The Chief standing proud with his arms outstretched in the center of the field. (Yes, I supported The Chief; still have the t-shirt.)
So tomorrow I'll just have to fake it. I'll don my Illinois wear, I'll pretend I'm in the dorm, ten floors up above Green Street, leaning against the bunkbeds as I sit on the floor staring at my roommate's 20 inch TV, instead of sitting on the couch in my parents' California living room. I'll pretend the shouts of "I-L-L...I-N-I!" can be heard in the street below and that the sidewalks on the Quad, filled with blue and orange chalk drawings, are just a five minute walk away instead of a five hour plane trip. I'll pretend that I'm still 20 years old and that my biggest worry is midterms and not paying the mortgage. And when its halftime, I'll embarrass my husband and sing "Loyalty" at the top of my lungs.
Hail to the orange, hail to the blue,
Hail, Alma Mater, ever so true! (So tru-ue...)
We love no other, so let our motto be,
And so we come to the end…
7 months ago