Skip to main content

When the Dam Breaks

Someone crying has always been hard for me to take. Only in the most extreme circumstances -- when I suspect the tears of being faked, or that the person is deserving of them -- has my reaction been anything but icy toward the person bearing the tears. In fact, the presence of a crying person has often snapped me out of any foul mood I may have borne toward them (or the situation). Whether or not this is a proper reaction to such events is debatable, nevertheless it is my observed response. This occurred just a few days ago, in fact.

It's no secret to anyone who follows college sports that the Illinois Men's Basketball Team has been in freefall for weeks. Losing almost of their recently played games, the team and Coach Weber have been under considerable scrutiny by the media, the Champaign-Urbana community, and the university's new athletic director. The pressure got to them this past Saturday in Nebraska, and they lost by over 20 points to the worst team in the Big 10 Conference. Player Meyers Leonard exited the game and was seen crying on the bench. It was, to put it mildly, a low point for the team.

While I've not been one to shy away from criticizing this year's team, something happened when I saw Leonard sobbing on the bench. Much of the cynicsm of an armchair Illini fan & critic was drained away, and I immediately felt great empathy for what these folks must be going through, Leonard especially. These players are barely more than kids, and every week for months on end they practice, work out, listen to their coach, talk with the media, travel all over the Midwest, play games under a microscope, get picked apart by the public and the media and, to top it all off, are expected to do all of that extremely well and go to school full-time. Of course, this doesn't even touch their private and personal lives.

I don't know how much of the aforementioned obligations affected the Illini team last Saturday in Nebraska, but however much it was, I think we can cut them a little slack. Lest we forget, they're human beings. They have good days and bad days. Sometimes more bad than good, but then that's true of us all. They laugh, and they cry. And that's okay. So for those who were wanting to make a big deal about Meyers Leonard's breakdown on the bench, and the players purportedly crying in the locker room, I ask: What's the big deal? It's not like it happens everyday, and it's not like showing some emotion is a bad thing.

Tonight, Illinois Men's Basketball is yet again on the road. They'll be playing against a Top 10-ranked team, Ohio State, and all eyes will be upon them. I don't know how they do it. Of course, Illinois beat Ohio State in a home game in January, and -- hear me out -- I have a feeling they may beat them again tonight. We'll see. But sometimes we need to be there for folks when they're down the most. That's the mark of when true fan loyalty is tested. And, heck, I'm not even that into sports.


  1. Very well written Matt. I know nothing about this team but I felt empathy for all of the college players after reading this.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


Ok, we're now three-fourths of the way through this year's calendar, so I thought I'd rank the thirty-eight 2017 movies I've seen so far.

Here they are....

1. A Quiet Passion
2. Baby Driver
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Kedi
6. A Ghost Story
7. Wonder Woman
8. Columbus
9. Brad's Status
10. Marjorie Prime
11. Maudie
12. Logan
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
14. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
15. Brigsby Bear
16. Atomic Blonde
17. The Big Sick
18. Split
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. It
21. Wind River
22. A Cure for Wellness
23. The Hitman's Bodyguard
24. Norman
25. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
26. Logan Lucky
27. Alien Covenant
28. Ghost In the Shell
29. War for the Planet of the Apes
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
31. Life
32. Annabelle: Creation
33. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
34. My Cousin Rachel
35. Baywatch
36. The Bye Bye Man
37. mother!
38. It Comes at Night

It will be interesting to see what the last three months of the year brin…

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

The Best Superhero Movies of All-Time, Revisited

We are just a few days away from the North American release of Avengers:Infinity War. While I am dutifully going to see it opening night, it's not a film I'm looking forward to. It is (spoiler) part one of two, which means we can expect plenty of plot threads left dangling when the credits roll. In other words, part two will probably be better, and provide some actual resolution. Also, Thanos looks like a CGI yawn-fest. Hopefully, I'll be proved wrong.
Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to rank (again) the major superhero movies (Marvel and otherwise) that we've had so far. As you know, I love making a list, and this one is going to be a definitive one! If you don't see a film on here, it's because I haven't seen it (the first two Thors, Iron Man 2, some of the X-Men features, etc.).   Alright, here we go.