Tonight, Tonight -- Purdue at Illinois Game Preview
This may ramble. You've been warned.
Two overriding thoughts have occurred to me lately -- one, obviously, involves the Smashing Pumpkins and I'll get to that, but the first one is a weird memory of a game and a moment that probably shouldn't stick in my mind, all things considered in life. It wasn't that important.
I was in college at Illinois and I THINK the year was 1998, one of the goofier Illinois teams. Illinois was playing Michigan at home and was near the end of the season, and Robert "Tractor" Traylor got called for a technical foul for running over Matt Heldman, and, despite the fact that it was a must-win game for the Wolverines, they basically no-showed in the second half and got run out of the gym. The sell-out crowd chanted "N-I-T! N-I-T!" at the Wolverines as they left the floor.
Flash forward to Sunday's game, when the Michigan crowd at Crisler Arena should have done the same to us. What goes around does in fact come around, doesn't it?
And that brings us to tonight (tonight, tooooonight...) against Purdue. It's a must win. You can't be 16-10, 5-8 in the Big Ten heading into this last stretch of games. You absolutely can't. It leaves no room for error, something the Illini have been prone to. And yes, under .500 teams in the Big Ten certainly have made the NCAA Tournament...but what that doesn't taken into account is that, with a loss tonight, the Illini might be WAY under .500. Getting invited then, well, THAT would be without precedent.
Back to the Smashing Pumpkins. Tonight, Tonight came on my MP3 player and I was struck with sadness. This is only notable because, though it sounds melancholy, it's not a sad song. Billy Corgan's love letter to the city of Chicago is actually a hopeful song, one full of love.
The Pumpkins have a weird connection with the University of Illinois, having played many shows there but, despite all the band members having been from the Midwest, none of them actually went there. Their next to last show prior to reunions and bad albums in the late 2000's was actually played at the Canopy Club under a fake name.
So again, why sad about what is ultimately a happy Pumpkins song?
Let's break it down lyrically...
"Time is never time at all. You can never ever leave without leaving a piece of youth." -- Poor Bruce Weber. He won't be a very in-demand hire if he gets fired, which is sad for one of the nicest people in all of sports. He left his youth at Illinois.
"And our lives are forever changed. We will never be the same. The more you change the less you feel..." -- 2005 seems like a loooong time ago, doesn't it?
"And you know you're never sure...But you're sure you could be right if you held yourself up to the light..." -- Certainly seems descriptive of the Illini passing, no?
"And the embers never fade in your city by the lake - The place where you were born..." -- As a Chicagoan I always smile at this line anyway, but there's another Chicagoan that we should all be focusing our attention on: Jabari Parker. He's one of, if not the, best high school basketball players in the nation. He's smart. He's an unbelievably good kid. And if he committed to Illinois, even if it was only for one season, the embers of the fire that commitment would light would burn for years as the Illini try to recruit more high profile kids.
"Believe, believe in me, believe...In the resolute urgency of now. And if you believe there's not a chance tonight..." -- Hi, Illini Nation! Billy is singing about us here...
So yeah, I have an Illinois problem, and I'm seeing things that aren't there. But still...it fits. So let's get ourselves fired up with the end of the song, shall we?
"We'll crucify the insincere tonight!" TONIGHT!!
"We'll make things right, we'll feel it all tonight!" Against Purdue TONIGHT!
"We'll find a way to offer up the night tonight!" TONIGHT!
"The indescribable moments of your life tonight!" The insanity of this season pays off TONIGHT!
"The impossible is possible tonight!" TOOOONIGHT!!!!
"Believe in me as I believe in you, tonight...."
And...most importantly. We all, somewhere inside, still believe. We want to will you to victory. Believe in yourselves as much as we do, oh, young Fighting Illini, and good things will happen to you.
70.0 F (21.1 C)
Pressure : 1006.2 mb
Humidity : 66 %
Wind : West at 9.2 MPH (8 KT)
What's on FOX Illinois Full Schedule
The Steve Wilkos Show
The Jeremy Kyle Show