For All of My Fellow Illini

This post will not be meaningful to all of you, I realize.  But read through it anyway and skip the video.  This video, my friends, tells the abbreviated and not-very-well-videotaped tale of what was a great day in Illini basketball history.  And if you’re a fan, you’ll remember where you were when you watched this game!   And let me just acknowledge the atrocity that is this year’s basketball team, which we don’t even watch…I realize it’s bad people, but it will get better.

The date, I believe, was March 27, 2005, and Illinois (who had only lost one game the whole season) was playing Arizona in the Elite Eight game.  I remember the date/time so well because I was T minus 10 days from giving birth to Bennett.  The Final Four was to take place in St. Louis the next weekend, April 2-4, so if Illinois could pull off a victory against AZ, they’d be playing, here, and Matt. Had. Tickets. 

We watched the game from our living room, with a sick-with-a-stomach-virus, 2 1/2 year old Luke sleeping on the floor.  I kept insisting that Matt, who gets incredibly emotional during a good game like this one (because the coaches/players can hear you, of course, when you yell at the TV), keep it down so that Luke wouldn’t wake up.  Both of us were pacing and screaming by the end, though, and I was crying when they finally won in OT.  Here’s the video for those of you who care. 

By winning, Matt was able to see his beloved Illini play here, in our town, and because he took customers to the game, he got the tickets for free (which is good, because we would have had to sell one of our kids to pay for them).  If had been anything other than 9 months pregnant I’d have thrown a fit about not getting to go.  But really, I was in no condition.  Matt’s being at April 2nd’s game also potentially posed a problem, since I was so very pregnant, and Matt was sure that he wouldn’t hear his cell phone ring in the Dome if I went into labor.  By Illinois winning the first game of the Final Four, it meant that I had to be nervous about this again on Monday, April 4th.  And, if Illinois won that game, we’d be celebrating the biggest victory in the history of the program by giving Bennett the middle name “Weber,” after the coach.  I’m not joking.

In the end, Illinois didn’t win the championship game.  We were pretty bummed about that, but HELLO! we were about to have a baby, and we went into the delivery room for my induction on the evening of April 6th without a middle name picked out for baby boy #2….if you don’t already know Bennett’s name, stay tuned for a post in the very near future about names, and a little game I want to play with you, my readers!  (That post is here.)

7 responses to “For All of My Fellow Illini

  1. THANK. YOU. this one game made my top ten happiest moments in my life i think. it even made it’s way into my maid of honor speech at andrea’s wedding! i think everyone in america wanted to be an illini that night! it would have been great if you and matt were at home with us that night! jeff’s dad still to this day asks me when i’m going to get him a copy of that game to him to have… GO ILLINI!!!

  2. Is it completely pathetic that this video brings a tear to my eye?? That was such a great season! I went to the first round games in Indy and had center court box seats thanks to the position I was in at the time – I sure miss those perks. The funny thing is that I do remember where I was for the AZ game – I was pacing in my living room and jumping up and down because they did what seemed impossible! Anyway, what a great time in IL history, and it is definitely history. Let’s not get started on this season and how everyone on campus just wants it to be over.

  3. okay, i just reread my post and CRINGED. i did one of my BIGGEST PET PEEVES–i meant “its” not “it’s” sorry, i did actually pass 2nd grade…

  4. Yes, this was the night when Eric really discovered my family’s psychotic obsession with Illini. That game was incredible.

  5. A game? Will there be prizes!….. even if your not Illini fans.

  6. I WAS THERE!!! And yes, this is one of my best memories of all time. The only thing that breaks my heart is that my dad (who is a superfan and instilled the freakishness in me) got really sick and left the game when we were down because he felt so bad. I know it sounds silly, but if I could do anything in the world for him, I would rewind that night and have God send him a message to stay! 😦

    My mom was the ticket manager at the time (her last season before retirement). We were sitting there watching the game. . . and it was just such a shock to us that we won when the buzzer went off. AZ missed their last shot, and Mom and I just stood there and stared. All the sudden, she looked at me and said, “We won. . . WE WON!!!” We had to go in the tunnel and have police escorts to the car as we had to transport the FINAL FOUR tickets to Champaign that night.

    Sorry for the long comment. . . just reliving a GREAT memory! 🙂

  7. I remember all of this, of course, even though you will seldom find a woman more oblivious to sports than I am! I was actually pretty excited about it during those few days (besides my family, we had some fanatic Illini fans at work) and then felt so bad for those of you who were mourning the final outcome, even though I couldn’t totally relate!

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