Tonight, all eyes will be on the University of Illinois, where the team mascot will dance for one last time. Chief Illiniwek is being put out to pasture, a politically incorrect emblem that could never hope to gain the approval of those he was said to honor. Unlike the Seminole Nation, still going strong and in a position to bless the mascot of Florida State University, the last of the Illini perished many, many years ago at Utica, on the banks of the Illinois River.
The chief's regalia was more Lakota than Illini, but again, when there's no one around to run the costume by, one must be imaginative and make a best guess. No matter any more, because the buckskins and the head dress will not be seen at half time after tonight.
The university claims to be full up for tonight's basketball game/ last dance, leaving this epic event to the pens of sports writers instead of proper news people. After all the controversy over the chief, news directors all over Illinois are frothing, growing ever more incensed at the inability to wrangle an extra ticket for the 10 o'clock anchor and his live remote broadcast. They can rant and rave all they like, but there are only so many tickets and so much square footage, and the university does not really want a holy show made of the dance.
The University of Illinois will always be the Fighting Illini, because the state was named for the people who lived here once, before the Pottawatomie pushed them out. The dancing Illiniwek is out, cast aside as an insult to Native Americans. So Greek Americans are all happy as can be with the Spartans, is that it? And don't get me started on the feckin' leprechaun and the Fighting Irish. We're lovers, I'm telling you, not fighters, and doesn't that make the whole Notre Dame business as politically incorrect as can be? If there'd be any money in it for me, I'd sue. Ah sure and how could anyone sue the good Fathers of the Congregation of Holy Cross?