Yesterday was a sad day for many University of Illinois fans. It was Chief Illiniwek’s last dance. The university folded to NCAA pressure and the Chief is no longer the U of I mascot. It was a sad day for me, too. My father bleeds orange and blue and I have many fond memories of attending football and basketball games with him in Champaign. The first time I saw the Chief perform at half time I got chills up my spine. Amazing dancers have been performing the Chief’s dance since 1926. To U of I fans and alumni, the Chief represents collegiate loyalty to the fullest.
It’s sad that in this world of political correctness, we are forced to let go of such traditions when they are soooo not hurting anyone. If anything, fans are reverent when the chief performs. Justin’s family has Native American roots and I would never stand for anything that degraded or humiliated them.
Justin and I were discussing this and I mentioned to Audrey, “It’s sad that you will never get to see the Indian chief dance.” I didn’t think much more about it but later that night I was giving her a bath and she looked at me sadly and said, “I can’t see the Indian dance?” I promised her we would find the dance on the computer after her bath. She didn’t let up until we did. Since then, she’s probably watched this video 30 times. I think even she can sense the respect that students and alumni have for their beloved mascot. It saddens me that my girls will never get the chance to see the Chief perform in person when they go to games with Gramps. Hail to the Chief!