Being an Illini Fan at a Rival University

#26      

sacraig

The desert
I got my B.S. at Illinois and then spent the next 5+ years of my life at Texas A&M earning my Ph.D. My approach was to just largely ignore Aggie Basketball. That was easy, because Aggie Basketball is awful (usually) and the gameday environment is even more awful (always).

Now I am on the faculty at the University of Arizona and (much to the chagrin of many on these boards) I would count the Wildcats as my number 2 team. I've found it fun to follow the local team (albeit casually) as a way to connect with students and others around town. But the Illini are and always will be my number 1 and I will root against Arizona any time it's good for Illinois.

But with Mizzou... I have a hard time counseling anything other than going to their games wearing Illini gear. Muck Fizzou. :ROFLMAO:
 
#27      
This is a very personal thread; please feel free to merge it into any existing thread. I am posting it as an individual thread as I could not find an existing one that seems suitable.

I have just defended my PhD dissertation and am approaching the conclusion of my 5-year academic journey as an international student at the University of Illinois. Reflecting on this journey, I am very thankful to the Fighting Illini basketball team and this IllinoisLoyalty forum, which has been very meaningful for me find a sense of belonging as an international student.

Let me quote a paragraph from my dissertation acknowledgements: "Here is what I wrote in spring 2021 to Ayo Dosunmu, a then-Illinois basketball player who has now completed his third year in the NBA: 'When coming to Champaign in 2019, I knew nobody and had no friends. The PhD life is kind of monotonous and isolated … There were many times when I was overwhelmed with my research work, and what I looked forward to the most were the coming matches ... that’s when I finally felt I was REALLY a part of Illinois.' I truly meant it. Being isolated from family and friends during the global pandemic and overwhelmed by political depression, what made me feel the vibrancy of life was joining other Illini basketball fans in cheering for our team and booing the opponents and referees during the home games at State Farm Center, away games at local bars, and the Big Ten Tournament at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. With so many unforgettable moments of both sweetness and bitterness, being a sports fan gave me an irreplaceable sense of belonging to the community."

In addition to expressing my gratitude, I would also like to hear your suggestions on "being an Illini fan at a rival university." My entire life in the US has been spent in Champaign, so my only experience with sports fandom is being surrounded by fellow Illini fans. My next role will be as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri (well...), and I am curious if you have any advice for living in a campus town where most people do not support the Illini. Is there anything to be cautious of? For example, do you think it is advisable for me to reveal to my students who I support during the Braggin' Rights game:ROFLMAO:? But no matter what, I will always be loyal to the Illini for the rest of my life.

I'll end this thread by once again quoting the last paragraph of my dissertation acknowledgements: "Five years ago, when I first arrived in Champaign-Urbana, I could hardly imagine what life would be like in this foreign land. Now, reflecting on this journey 'By the rivers gently flowing, by the prairies verdant growing,' nothing can better express my feelings than this Chinese poem written over a thousand years ago:
'As a sojourner in Bingzhou, it has already been ten years,
Day and night, my heart longs for my hometown, Xianyang.
For no reason, I further cross the Sang’gan River,
Looking back at Bingzhou, realizing it is now my home.'
I bleed orange and blue."
Shouldn’t be much of an issue there’s not much overlap. Mizz for football and Illini for basketball /s.
I think the younger kids will be fine with it, probably professors will have fun with it too. Something to talk about and break the ice. Be prepared for some jabs and not be so sensitive-no ones on you side lol.
Had a friend who always sported the rival team, used it as an icebreaker to talk with girls.
 
#28      

OrangeBlue98

Des Moines, IA
I currently live in the Des Moines, IA area. My son attends Iowa now. At the end of the day, it's a game. I wear my Illini orange to the office a lot. Get some good-natured ribbing from others. Obviously, the Iowa State game was a lot of fun. The night of the Illinois-Iowa State game, I actually rode with an Iowa State employee to referee a soccer game together. Had a great time discussing the game and giving each other good-natured ribbing.

I do attend a few Iowa games every year with my son. All I will say is I will not wear that damn Tigerhawk iogo. And when Illinois played Iowa in iowa City this year, I absolutely wore my orange sitting next to my son in his black and gold Iowa sweatshirt. We survived. :)
 
#29      

Illini2010-11

Sugar Grove
I got my B.S. at Illinois and then spent the next 5+ years of my life at Texas A&M earning my Ph.D. My approach was to just largely ignore Aggie Basketball. That was easy, because Aggie Basketball is awful (usually) and the gameday environment is even more awful (always).

Now I am on the faculty at the University of Arizona and (much to the chagrin of many on these boards) I would count the Wildcats as my number 2 team. I've found it fun to follow the local team (albeit casually) as a way to connect with students and others around town. But the Illini are and always will be my number 1 and I will root against Arizona any time it's good for Illinois.

But with Mizzou... I have a hard time counseling anything other than going to their games wearing Illini gear. Muck Fizzou. :ROFLMAO:
George Costanza Good Job GIF
 
#30      
This is a very personal thread; please feel free to merge it into any existing thread. I am posting it as an individual thread as I could not find an existing one that seems suitable.

I have just defended my PhD dissertation and am approaching the conclusion of my 5-year academic journey as an international student at the University of Illinois. Reflecting on this journey, I am very thankful to the Fighting Illini basketball team and this IllinoisLoyalty forum, which has been very meaningful for me find a sense of belonging as an international student.

Let me quote a paragraph from my dissertation acknowledgements: "Here is what I wrote in spring 2021 to Ayo Dosunmu, a then-Illinois basketball player who has now completed his third year in the NBA: 'When coming to Champaign in 2019, I knew nobody and had no friends. The PhD life is kind of monotonous and isolated … There were many times when I was overwhelmed with my research work, and what I looked forward to the most were the coming matches ... that’s when I finally felt I was REALLY a part of Illinois.' I truly meant it. Being isolated from family and friends during the global pandemic and overwhelmed by political depression, what made me feel the vibrancy of life was joining other Illini basketball fans in cheering for our team and booing the opponents and referees during the home games at State Farm Center, away games at local bars, and the Big Ten Tournament at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. With so many unforgettable moments of both sweetness and bitterness, being a sports fan gave me an irreplaceable sense of belonging to the community."

In addition to expressing my gratitude, I would also like to hear your suggestions on "being an Illini fan at a rival university." My entire life in the US has been spent in Champaign, so my only experience with sports fandom is being surrounded by fellow Illini fans. My next role will be as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri (well...), and I am curious if you have any advice for living in a campus town where most people do not support the Illini. Is there anything to be cautious of? For example, do you think it is advisable for me to reveal to my students who I support during the Braggin' Rights game:ROFLMAO:? But no matter what, I will always be loyal to the Illini for the rest of my life.

I'll end this thread by once again quoting the last paragraph of my dissertation acknowledgements: "Five years ago, when I first arrived in Champaign-Urbana, I could hardly imagine what life would be like in this foreign land. Now, reflecting on this journey 'By the rivers gently flowing, by the prairies verdant growing,' nothing can better express my feelings than this Chinese poem written over a thousand years ago:
'As a sojourner in Bingzhou, it has already been ten years,
Day and night, my heart longs for my hometown, Xianyang.
For no reason, I further cross the Sang’gan River,
Looking back at Bingzhou, realizing it is now my home.'
I bleed orange and blue."
Congratulations on your huge accomplishment!

As someone native to the Champaign area, a lifelong Illini fan, and a U of I alum, it makes me happy that you found solace, support, and a second home within the communities that I also call home.

My advice to you as you start this new journey as an Illini in another foreign land - Own it! I think you'll find that you can bond with students and colleagues over your love of sports even as a fan of a rival team. Sometimes it can be fun to be the outsider.

Good luck!
 
#31      
I've lived in Pennsylvania since 1988 and I've not been shy about being an Illini. My wife is my college sweetheart and she wears Illinois gear frequently. For example, we are going to a minor league baseball game tonight. We cheer for the home team but we wear Illini gear. She'll bewearing a white polo with an orange block I. Im wearing an Illinois baseball 2024 championship t-shirt. In fact, I wear Illini gear every day now that I'm retired. My wife taught at a local university and because it's a Div II school, thought it better than to flaunt a Div I school. But now that she's retired, Illini garb has increased significantly. We have two cars, with license plates Illiini and Illinii.

I have fun with it and for the most part there's friendly rivalry and ribbing. In a work setting, I wouldn't make a big deal about it every day. You'll probably see other faculty showing evidence of their alma mater. If you were to have some memento of Illinois in your office, I would think that's OK, or wearing and Illinois tie on game days versus Mizzou. A smile goes a long way.

I've certainly never hid my allegiance. I was stationed in Madison, Wisconsin, for a year, and at my going away lunch, I was given a small red blanket with a large block W on it. I looked at it, then turned it upside down, and because my last name begins with an M, I said, "Aw, thank you for the monogrammed blanket."

One thing to remember, almost all of your colleagues have loyalties to their alma maters, some of them perhaps Illinois. So again, have fun with it. Always smile.
 
#32      

bdutts

Houston, Texas
This is a very personal thread; please feel free to merge it into any existing thread. I am posting it as an individual thread as I could not find an existing one that seems suitable.

I have just defended my PhD dissertation and am approaching the conclusion of my 5-year academic journey as an international student at the University of Illinois. Reflecting on this journey, I am very thankful to the Fighting Illini basketball team and this IllinoisLoyalty forum, which has been very meaningful for me find a sense of belonging as an international student.

Let me quote a paragraph from my dissertation acknowledgements: "Here is what I wrote in spring 2021 to Ayo Dosunmu, a then-Illinois basketball player who has now completed his third year in the NBA: 'When coming to Champaign in 2019, I knew nobody and had no friends. The PhD life is kind of monotonous and isolated … There were many times when I was overwhelmed with my research work, and what I looked forward to the most were the coming matches ... that’s when I finally felt I was REALLY a part of Illinois.' I truly meant it. Being isolated from family and friends during the global pandemic and overwhelmed by political depression, what made me feel the vibrancy of life was joining other Illini basketball fans in cheering for our team and booing the opponents and referees during the home games at State Farm Center, away games at local bars, and the Big Ten Tournament at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. With so many unforgettable moments of both sweetness and bitterness, being a sports fan gave me an irreplaceable sense of belonging to the community."

In addition to expressing my gratitude, I would also like to hear your suggestions on "being an Illini fan at a rival university." My entire life in the US has been spent in Champaign, so my only experience with sports fandom is being surrounded by fellow Illini fans. My next role will be as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri (well...), and I am curious if you have any advice for living in a campus town where most people do not support the Illini. Is there anything to be cautious of? For example, do you think it is advisable for me to reveal to my students who I support during the Braggin' Rights game:ROFLMAO:? But no matter what, I will always be loyal to the Illini for the rest of my life.

I'll end this thread by once again quoting the last paragraph of my dissertation acknowledgements: "Five years ago, when I first arrived in Champaign-Urbana, I could hardly imagine what life would be like in this foreign land. Now, reflecting on this journey 'By the rivers gently flowing, by the prairies verdant growing,' nothing can better express my feelings than this Chinese poem written over a thousand years ago:
'As a sojourner in Bingzhou, it has already been ten years,
Day and night, my heart longs for my hometown, Xianyang.
For no reason, I further cross the Sang’gan River,
Looking back at Bingzhou, realizing it is now my home.'
I bleed orange and blue."
Congrats on the PhD! While I'm not at a rival university, I am squarely in SEC country living in Houston so I have a feeling what it's like to be an outsider. I say: embrace it and give it to those Mizzou folks every chance you get!
 
#33      

the national

the Front Range
This is a very personal thread; please feel free to merge it into any existing thread. I am posting it as an individual thread as I could not find an existing one that seems suitable.

I have just defended my PhD dissertation and am approaching the conclusion of my 5-year academic journey as an international student at the University of Illinois. Reflecting on this journey, I am very thankful to the Fighting Illini basketball team and this IllinoisLoyalty forum, which has been very meaningful for me find a sense of belonging as an international student.

Let me quote a paragraph from my dissertation acknowledgements: "Here is what I wrote in spring 2021 to Ayo Dosunmu, a then-Illinois basketball player who has now completed his third year in the NBA: 'When coming to Champaign in 2019, I knew nobody and had no friends. The PhD life is kind of monotonous and isolated … There were many times when I was overwhelmed with my research work, and what I looked forward to the most were the coming matches ... that’s when I finally felt I was REALLY a part of Illinois.' I truly meant it. Being isolated from family and friends during the global pandemic and overwhelmed by political depression, what made me feel the vibrancy of life was joining other Illini basketball fans in cheering for our team and booing the opponents and referees during the home games at State Farm Center, away games at local bars, and the Big Ten Tournament at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. With so many unforgettable moments of both sweetness and bitterness, being a sports fan gave me an irreplaceable sense of belonging to the community."

In addition to expressing my gratitude, I would also like to hear your suggestions on "being an Illini fan at a rival university." My entire life in the US has been spent in Champaign, so my only experience with sports fandom is being surrounded by fellow Illini fans. My next role will be as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri (well...), and I am curious if you have any advice for living in a campus town where most people do not support the Illini. Is there anything to be cautious of? For example, do you think it is advisable for me to reveal to my students who I support during the Braggin' Rights game:ROFLMAO:? But no matter what, I will always be loyal to the Illini for the rest of my life.

I'll end this thread by once again quoting the last paragraph of my dissertation acknowledgements: "Five years ago, when I first arrived in Champaign-Urbana, I could hardly imagine what life would be like in this foreign land. Now, reflecting on this journey 'By the rivers gently flowing, by the prairies verdant growing,' nothing can better express my feelings than this Chinese poem written over a thousand years ago:
'As a sojourner in Bingzhou, it has already been ten years,
Day and night, my heart longs for my hometown, Xianyang.
For no reason, I further cross the Sang’gan River,
Looking back at Bingzhou, realizing it is now my home.'
I bleed orange and blue."
Amazing Achievement on receiving your PhD from the beloved. Congratulations!

As far as being an Illini fan, living away from Champaign for many years makes seeing fellow Illini fans that much sweeter. But they're out there, everywhere I have lived. I absolutely love going to holiday or NCAA tournaments and seeing throngs of Illini fans. It warms the heart.

One quick story - Way back when Zook took us to a Rose Bowl, I was attending a Big 12 school. For winter break, I had a chance to go on a ski trip to Aspen with a girl, but I happened on some tickets for the Rose Bowl very last minute. I mentioned this dilemma to one of my professors (whom I knew was an Illinois Grad), and his response was priceless (and almost prophetic): "Illinois? You're an Illinois Fan? I went to high school in Champaign back when the 80s belonged to the Illini - I got my degree, master's, and PhD there. If you get a chance to attend the Rose Bowl wearing Orange and Blue, you do it. The powder of Aspen will be there again, but the Illini might not."

I attended the Rose Bowl :)
 
#34      
This is a very personal thread; please feel free to merge it into any existing thread. I am posting it as an individual thread as I could not find an existing one that seems suitable.

I have just defended my PhD dissertation and am approaching the conclusion of my 5-year academic journey as an international student at the University of Illinois. Reflecting on this journey, I am very thankful to the Fighting Illini basketball team and this IllinoisLoyalty forum, which has been very meaningful for me find a sense of belonging as an international student.

Let me quote a paragraph from my dissertation acknowledgements: "Here is what I wrote in spring 2021 to Ayo Dosunmu, a then-Illinois basketball player who has now completed his third year in the NBA: 'When coming to Champaign in 2019, I knew nobody and had no friends. The PhD life is kind of monotonous and isolated … There were many times when I was overwhelmed with my research work, and what I looked forward to the most were the coming matches ... that’s when I finally felt I was REALLY a part of Illinois.' I truly meant it. Being isolated from family and friends during the global pandemic and overwhelmed by political depression, what made me feel the vibrancy of life was joining other Illini basketball fans in cheering for our team and booing the opponents and referees during the home games at State Farm Center, away games at local bars, and the Big Ten Tournament at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. With so many unforgettable moments of both sweetness and bitterness, being a sports fan gave me an irreplaceable sense of belonging to the community."

In addition to expressing my gratitude, I would also like to hear your suggestions on "being an Illini fan at a rival university." My entire life in the US has been spent in Champaign, so my only experience with sports fandom is being surrounded by fellow Illini fans. My next role will be as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri (well...), and I am curious if you have any advice for living in a campus town where most people do not support the Illini. Is there anything to be cautious of? For example, do you think it is advisable for me to reveal to my students who I support during the Braggin' Rights game:ROFLMAO:? But no matter what, I will always be loyal to the Illini for the rest of my life.

I'll end this thread by once again quoting the last paragraph of my dissertation acknowledgements: "Five years ago, when I first arrived in Champaign-Urbana, I could hardly imagine what life would be like in this foreign land. Now, reflecting on this journey 'By the rivers gently flowing, by the prairies verdant growing,' nothing can better express my feelings than this Chinese poem written over a thousand years ago:
'As a sojourner in Bingzhou, it has already been ten years,
Day and night, my heart longs for my hometown, Xianyang.
For no reason, I further cross the Sang’gan River,
Looking back at Bingzhou, realizing it is now my home.'
I bleed orange and blue."
Wonderful post. When you move to the America, you become an American. When you attend the University of Illinois, you become an Illini. Congratulations and welcome on all accounts. Be true to yourself. Be proud, but don't gloat (even when you have the chance). Stay above the fray. The nonsense that makes the news, are not the sports fans you are going to encounter. Enjoy the exchanges whether they're in agreement or dissent. This post made an old Alum very happy.
 
#35      

Ignatius Shang

5th year PhD, school of Information Sciences
Champaign, IL
I got my B.S. at Illinois and then spent the next 5+ years of my life at Texas A&M earning my Ph.D. My approach was to just largely ignore Aggie Basketball. That was easy, because Aggie Basketball is awful (usually) and the gameday environment is even more awful (always).

Now I am on the faculty at the University of Arizona and (much to the chagrin of many on these boards) I would count the Wildcats as my number 2 team. I've found it fun to follow the local team (albeit casually) as a way to connect with students and others around town. But the Illini are and always will be my number 1 and I will root against Arizona any time it's good for Illinois.

But with Mizzou... I have a hard time counseling anything other than going to their games wearing Illini gear. Muck Fizzou. :ROFLMAO:
I watched the game that we hosted Arizona in person in December 2021. That was a heck of a game. We fought hard and lost 79-83 against the eventual No. 2 ranked Wildcats with Mathurin, Koloko, and Tubelis. And the Wildcats fans were crazy. I could tell it was a very passionate fanbase.
 
#36      
Amazing Achievement on receiving your PhD from the beloved. Congratulations!

As far as being an Illini fan, living away from Champaign for many years makes seeing fellow Illini fans that much sweeter. But they're out there, everywhere I have lived. I absolutely love going to holiday or NCAA tournaments and seeing throngs of Illini fans. It warms the heart.

One quick story - Way back when Zook took us to a Rose Bowl, I was attending a Big 12 school. For winter break, I had a chance to go on a ski trip to Aspen with a girl, but I happened on some tickets for the Rose Bowl very last minute. I mentioned this dilemma to one of my professors (whom I knew was an Illinois Grad), and his response was priceless (and almost prophetic): "Illinois? You're an Illinois Fan? I went to high school in Champaign back when the 80s belonged to the Illini - I got my degree, master's, and PhD there. If you get a chance to attend the Rose Bowl wearing Orange and Blue, you do it. The powder of Aspen will be there again, but the Illini might not."

I attended the Rose Bowl :)

Understand the logic, but it wasn't the Aspen powder that would have been the draw for me. "Gotta go see about a girl"

robin williams its not your fault GIF
 
#37      

Ignatius Shang

5th year PhD, school of Information Sciences
Champaign, IL
I currently live in the Des Moines, IA area. My son attends Iowa now. At the end of the day, it's a game. I wear my Illini orange to the office a lot. Get some good-natured ribbing from others. Obviously, the Iowa State game was a lot of fun. The night of the Illinois-Iowa State game, I actually rode with an Iowa State employee to referee a soccer game together. Had a great time discussing the game and giving each other good-natured ribbing.

I do attend a few Iowa games every year with my son. All I will say is I will not wear that damn Tigerhawk iogo. And when Illinois played Iowa in iowa City this year, I absolutely wore my orange sitting next to my son in his black and gold Iowa sweatshirt. We survived. :)
Thanks for sharing this story! On an unrelated note, I am thinking of resuming my experience as a soccer referee too. I did as an undergraduate but have paused for five years since relocated to Champaign.
 
#38      

Ignatius Shang

5th year PhD, school of Information Sciences
Champaign, IL
I was stationed in Madison, Wisconsin, for a year, and at my going away lunch, I was given a small red blanket with a large block W on it. I looked at it, then turned it upside down, and because my last name begins with an M, I said, "Aw, thank you for the monogrammed blanket."
That's something worthy of inclusion in a collection of witty short stories.
 
#40      

sacraig

The desert
I watched the game that we hosted Arizona in person in December 2021. That was a heck of a game. We fought hard and lost 79-83 against the eventual No. 2 ranked Wildcats with Mathurin, Koloko, and Tubelis. And the Wildcats fans were crazy. I could tell it was a very passionate fanbase.
It's a very comparable basketball fanbase and atmosphere to what we have in Champaign.
 
#41      
Ig Shang....massive congrats fellow alumni!!
Now, your mission...should you choose to accept it....is to mercilessly troll Miznoz students, faculty, and fans by wearing orange and blue every WeWillWednesday and intentionally misspelling "Missou, and Missouri" at every opportunity. I recommend "Miznoz" for optimum troll effect.

If they mention football, just pretend that you don't know what that is. For now.

Good luck!! :illinois: :alma-mater:
dragons' den idea GIF by CBC
 
#42      
I got my B.S. at Illinois and then spent the next 5+ years of my life at Texas A&M earning my Ph.D. My approach was to just largely ignore Aggie Basketball. That was easy, because Aggie Basketball is awful (usually) and the gameday environment is even more awful (always).

Now I am on the faculty at the University of Arizona and (much to the chagrin of many on these boards) I would count the Wildcats as my number 2 team. I've found it fun to follow the local team (albeit casually) as a way to connect with students and others around town. But the Illini are and always will be my number 1 and I will root against Arizona any time it's good for Illinois.

But with Mizzou... I have a hard time counseling anything other than going to their games wearing Illini gear. Muck Fizzou. :ROFLMAO:
Bet Smarty Pants GIF by Soul Train
 
#43      

chiefini

Rockford, Illinois
I just want to say, @Ignatius Shang, that is has been a pleasure watching you grow over the past few years from someone who didn’t know the team or program that well when you first posted your questions, to a knowledgeable poster whose love for the team and the school was apparent. Good luck in your new school, and I hope you keep your passion for the Illini and continue to keep posting on Illinoisloyalty. #IlliniForLife
:chief::illinois::chief:
 
#44      

Ignatius Shang

5th year PhD, school of Information Sciences
Champaign, IL
I just want to say, @Ignatius Shang, that is has been a pleasure watching you grow over the past few years from someone who didn’t know the team or program that well when you first posted your questions, to a knowledgeable poster whose love for the team and the school was apparent. Good luck in your new school, and I hope you keep your passion for the Illini and continue to keep posting on Illinoisloyalty. #IlliniForLife
:chief::illinois::chief:
Thank you! I definitely will!
 
#45      
This is a very personal thread...

“... I would also like to hear your suggestions on ‘being an Illini fan at a rival university’."

First off... let’s look generally at what it means to be a fan of any team at any level of competition... anywhere.

One must strike and forge a personal connection of some kind with that particular team. The type and reason for the connection is unique for each person. Once the connection is made... a strong bond is created.

Next... now that your bonding with that team has been secured then the fortunes of that team become an extension of YOU. The team becomes, ‘us’ and ‘we’. The team is now a full projection of your personality – a literal extension of your spirit and skin outwardly. Once this is done... your emotions now are fully engaged. Happy... sad... mad... frustrated... excited... etc. You will experience the full range of human experience now through ‘Your Team’.

And since the team is now ‘Your Team’... your ego is also fully aroused. And when our human ego is flaring this brings all kinds of effects both good and bad for us.

That covers the general fandom aspect.

Now, to your other question about being an Illini fan at another place...

Just understand that ‘They’ (the other place) have done the same things you have in terms of forging a personal connection with Their team. The process is the same. So... on that level you are just like They are. You already have a connection with those people on that level.

The fact that They favor a team different from yours? So what? They have every right to choose a team for themselves as you had the right to do with yours. So you also share that ‘human’ right as a second point of commonality.

You may or may not forge a connection with the team from your new place. That is totally your choice. But when you understand that these people are very much like you in their fandom then you already have a basis for connection with those people.

And you do not in any way have to apologize or hide your love for the Illini. Again, that is your right to do and be so. And if some in your new place don’t like that (and some won’t)... then this can be used as a learning opportunity for Them to understand that each of us always has the right to forge and be proud of whatever connections in Life we choose. They need to open their minds and become more tolerant.

Mutual respect is a greatly valuable and much-lost skill in today’s World. We need to be respectful of each other and each other’s choices whether those choices adhere to our own personal whims or not.

You got your team. Your new place has Their’s. You can add your new place team to your fandom or choose not to. You have a right to be in a respectful environment with people around you who fully allow you to be who you are.

And if you find you are NOT in such a respectful environment... then that place has problems way bigger than one’s choices of teams to be fans of.

Best of luck to you in the future. And live your life with joy when experiencing life’s ups-and-downs through your favorite choice of teams.

Some part of you --- just like many of us --- will always appear Orange regardless of whatever colors we might also be shining.
 
#47      
Welcome to Columbia! This won't be a popular opinion on the board but I think you are going to enjoy your time here. I have been and Illini fan living in Columbia for over 27 years. I love the town. The fans are ok for the most part, annoying at worst. I wear Illini gear regularly and have never had an issue. They are much more likeable in basketball with Gates here. Drink is another story........ Message me if you have any questions or if you want to get together over a drink for a Illini game once you get settled.
 
#48      

Ignatius Shang

5th year PhD, school of Information Sciences
Champaign, IL
“... I would also like to hear your suggestions on ‘being an Illini fan at a rival university’."

First off... let’s look generally at what it means to be a fan of any team at any level of competition... anywhere.

One must strike and forge a personal connection of some kind with that particular team. The type and reason for the connection is unique for each person. Once the connection is made... a strong bond is created.

Next... now that your bonding with that team has been secured then the fortunes of that team become an extension of YOU. The team becomes, ‘us’ and ‘we’. The team is now a full projection of your personality – a literal extension of your spirit and skin outwardly. Once this is done... your emotions now are fully engaged. Happy... sad... mad... frustrated... excited... etc. You will experience the full range of human experience now through ‘Your Team’.

And since the team is now ‘Your Team’... your ego is also fully aroused. And when our human ego is flaring this brings all kinds of effects both good and bad for us.

That covers the general fandom aspect.

Now, to your other question about being an Illini fan at another place...

Just understand that ‘They’ (the other place) have done the same things you have in terms of forging a personal connection with Their team. The process is the same. So... on that level you are just like They are. You already have a connection with those people on that level.

The fact that They favor a team different from yours? So what? They have every right to choose a team for themselves as you had the right to do with yours. So you also share that ‘human’ right as a second point of commonality.

You may or may not forge a connection with the team from your new place. That is totally your choice. But when you understand that these people are very much like you in their fandom then you already have a basis for connection with those people.

And you do not in any way have to apologize or hide your love for the Illini. Again, that is your right to do and be so. And if some in your new place don’t like that (and some won’t)... then this can be used as a learning opportunity for Them to understand that each of us always has the right to forge and be proud of whatever connections in Life we choose. They need to open their minds and become more tolerant.

Mutual respect is a greatly valuable and much-lost skill in today’s World. We need to be respectful of each other and each other’s choices whether those choices adhere to our own personal whims or not.

You got your team. Your new place has Their’s. You can add your new place team to your fandom or choose not to. You have a right to be in a respectful environment with people around you who fully allow you to be who you are.

And if you find you are NOT in such a respectful environment... then that place has problems way bigger than one’s choices of teams to be fans of.

Best of luck to you in the future. And live your life with joy when experiencing life’s ups-and-downs through your favorite choice of teams.

Some part of you --- just like many of us --- will always appear Orange regardless of whatever colors we might also be shining.
This is a very thoughtful comment. Thank you very much.
 
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