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Weekend Multimedia

I am a proud alumnus of the University of Illinois. My freshman year, way back in 1983, happened to blissfully coincide with the Fighting Illini's first Rose Bowl appearance in twenty long, parched, futile seasons. (They proceeded to get trounced by UCLA, but never mind that. At least they got there.) As it turns out, that twenty year drought was downright fecund compared to the years since 1983, when the Illini have had a few scattered moments of prominence but mostly disappointment (despite my occasional and somewhat desperate claim that "The sleeping giant wakes!"), and it's now been another 24 years since the last Rose Bowl berth.

Well, this latest drought has ended, and the Illini are once again Pasadena-bound. (True, thanks to the BCS silliness, the Rose Bowl is only a consolation prize, as Ohio State - whom the Illini beat, in Columbus - will be playing for the national title in some other bowl game.) Anyway, back in '83 a longtime Champaign bar band called Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets released a novelty single called "The Fighting Illini in Pasadena" (a shameless ripoff of the Beach Boys' "A Little Old Lady from Pasadena", of course) which saturated the local airwaves back then. Now, some enterprising chap has wedded the audio of that single to photo images of this year's valiant Illini squad and, yes, posted it on YouTube.

If you're among the Illini faithful, I fully expect you to watch the whole thing and savor all 173 seconds of it. And if your blood does not, alas, flow in a vivid shade of orange, or if you don't get choked up over memories of Kevin Hardy, Jack Trudeau and Johnny Johnson, then I'll understand if you click it off after a minute or so. (The music is a bit grating after one verse, I'll admit.) But either way, please humor one of my baser indulgences.

December 22, 2007 in Sports | Permalink

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