Monday, February 19, 2007

End of an Era

So the University of Illinois (my esteemed alma mater!) has officially retired Chief Illiniwek. You can read all about it in the Tribune or at U of I's official statement website. Personally I think the whole thing fizzling out seems like something of a joke. [Not that any part of the issue can be more of a joke than 2002's infamous Plummer report stating "the Board of Trustees has but two alternatives – retain the Chief or retire him." Uhhh... no shit, Sherlock!] However in light of the upcoming last dance, those that support the Chief get no type of honorable retirement for their "beloved tradition" and those that see him as nothing more than a point of contention lack the apology and denunciation of labelling him a "racist mascot". Perhaps this is the only way to achieve a compromise in which case I will concede that it is, in all ways, for the best. But when I look at the efforts of those that have argued the dilemma for the past decade or more, it seems quite the anticlimactic end to things. What has long been painted as a war between alumni dollars and Native American interests has come down to no more than the simple matter of hosting post season sports.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Much to the shagrin of most of campus, it seems there is no respite in the Chief's Last Dance. The campus community has rallied here, and seems to be ignored. It really burns me that the one person who has never given the Chief a chance is the one who has sealed his retirement, and who has not given students and alums a proper chance to make their own goodbyes. Many people, including radio personalities, have taken this opportunity to express their opinions, and the one way that has touched me the most is that the Chief is not a mascot: he is a symbol of the University. He is an honored position, and the fact that students have to compete to portray the Chief and dedicate the majority of their summers to learning the dance that is performed at half-time shows is amazing to me. I have been wearing my Chief gear all week, and will continue to support the Chief until there is no more orange and blue for me to bleed.