I am so tired of the clusterfuck downstate.
That’s the University of Illinois Fighting Illini, for reference—you won’t find Northwestern’s coach putting up a crossed-out Illinois logo, or trying to hold a pep rally at the overpriced Champaign-Urbana B-Dubs, or failing to fill Soldier Field for an in-state rivalry game where the Chicagoland fans will totally show up—we have no problem saying the name.
But it’d sure be nice if Illinois just acted like a school interested in winning football games, instead of making just enough news to remind us they exist, but no news that asserts anything other than their athletic teams’ seemingly constant auditions for the MAC or OVC. No, instead of being shitty in peace, we have to just keep hearing about Illinois and their own self-made, manufactured controversy.
Because no event, no matter how small or insignificant or inane, can avoid bringing The Fate of The Chief into the discussion when Illinois athletics are concerned:
- No one bringing the Chief logo back because the school fucking can’t? BETTER BLOCK A PARADE ROUTE ANYWAYS, BECAUSE OLD PEOPLE ARE SHITTY.
- Have a nice, simple “Block I” logo that has proven relatively inoffensive? BETTER TRY TO MAKE AN OTTER THE MASCOT; FOR THE LULZ! THAT’LL SHOW THE RACISTS! [For the record—adorable otter, but still.]
- Oh, and that mascot vote? After a committee on “Healing and Recognition” concluded they weren’t going to recommend a mascot, but really wanted to remind people that the Chief wasn’t coming back, because WHY NOT JUST WHIP UP CONTROVERSY FOR NO GOOD REASON?
- Doing a normal “Illinois Night at ____” with the Chicago Blackhawks? BETTER PUT ILLINOIS COLORS AND THE BLOCK “I” ON A HAT WITH THE HAWKS’ NATIVE LOGO; THAT WON’T SPARK A DEBATE.
- Want to make a point amid an historically-shitty basketball season that you need an outdated, racist mascot to coddle you? BETTER ORGANIZE ABOUT 40 PANTS-SHITTING STUDENTS TO WEAR “CHIEF” SHIRTS TO A BASKETBALL GAME; THAT’LL OWN ‘EM.
And the solution isn’t “just winning”—the racist shitheels will tell you the Chief’s absence is THE REASON ILLINOIS CAN’T WIN; the ones who realize it’s 2019 and know don’t need a dude in redface dancing to the war whoops of 15,000 white people (you can decide if that’s football or basketball attendance) will remind you THEY’RE THE GOOD ONES—because it will keep cropping up. The Chief will keep casting its long shadow until that generation of idiots wishing to wind the clock back to 1975—or whenever Kurt Kittner played—finally, mercifully die off or realize they have some people’s bodily autonomy to take away and get distracted by the $4.99 special at Denny’s. Illinois football is offensive enough; the desire of the talk radio-ification or Facebooking of a sports program into an anthropomorphic “TRIGGERED, LIB?!?!?!” “NO U!!!!11!1” meme is just obnoxious.
Only 10,000 of these dumbasses signed some meaningless change.org petition. The “Honor the Chief Society” or whatever the fuck it calls itself (I won’t dignify it with a link) is effectively a Facebook group of old men and women who call the cops when a new Vietnamese restaurant opens downtown. These are the functional equivalents of the morons who learn their history from statues, and continuing to provide them any sort of recognition only ensures that we’ll have to keep hearing how allowing them to war-whoop at a basketball game really teaches kids Native history.
And yet no one will shut the fuck up about them.
In some sisyphean quest to prove who the REAL Illinois fans are, this embarrassment of a fanbase crops up over and over to remind you that not only are they bad at damn near every sport that’s ever existed, but they prefer to do it in a way that leads the Jimmy Rantouls of the world to tweet angrily about how Dee Brown’s progeny will lead the Illini back to the Promised Land, either when [drunkenly bellows] CHIEEEEEEF [/] comes back, or when Illinois hires Jay Wright away from Villanova or whatever overly-inflated sense of self-worth they have. You are bad because your program sucks, and because no one wants to be there. That’s not a “wow, rural America sure blows,” it’s a “wow, the University of Illinois spent a decade or more actively becoming such a terrible place that if Steve Alford agreed to coach basketball there, you’re not sure which you’d resent more!”
Stop kicking the hornet’s nest; let the racist wasps (get it) die. Stop turning a meaningless February game against Purdue into a microphone for 10 dumbasses wearing a shirt because a Facebook meme told them they should. Stop following people into bathrooms with cameras, for the love of God. They won’t win, and they’ll die off. Just lose in fucking silence.
This program is just a shitty billboard, along a broken-down highway, in a dying state. We don’t need a dying gasp; just do it quietly, and mail us the time of death.