Early Autumn Days…

When you drive through the Illinois countryside this time of year, you’re treated to a pleasing mix of greens and golds—the harvest tones of early autumn, gentle and sun-drenched and warm, untouched by frost. The farmers are taking their crops but haven’t yet begun to plow or disk, so the fields remain golden. The leaves have not yet turned. The weather is so pleasant, so accommodating, you almost feel guilty about it; you definitely feel the guilt if you have to stay indoors all day. At night, you have your big harvest moon overhead. The crickets are large and loud, but you keep the windows open anyway. It’s a lovely time of year.

And the Fighting Illini are 4-1, sitting atop the Big 10.

That’s Arrelious Benn, who ran back the Illini’s opening kickoff 90 yards for the TD, and broke about 15 tackles to score another one. He’s a big reason why the Orange & Blue faithful are smiling this morning. We’re not used to it around here. Usually, we’re already counting down to the start of basketball by the first week of October, but now we’re talking bowl game.

What a great day for football this past Saturday. Beautiful weather, a sold out stadium, the great running game, the big play defense… The in-laws who made the trip had a fine time—hopefully the first of many in coming years. The kids had a blast, the RV ran fine…

Yes, the Illini still have some problems to address: giving up too many big pass plays on D, not completing a single pass the second half, etc. But the heart is there, the belief is there. Most importantly, the athletes are there. It’s been far too long since we had guys that could run past you, but now we do. Give the Zooker his due—his recruiting and general positivity are paying off.

Random notes from the weekend:

  • I hope the general good signs exhibited by Juice in the first half weren’t countermanded by his struggles in the second half. That said, I think Eddie McGee should get more time.
  • We still don’t throw enough to the tight ends or to Kyle Hudson.
  • Our tickets put us right by the bball team, who were sporting the pink Tees. The guys look healthy. My nephew got Coach Weber’s autograph, which was cool.
  • My daughter, who is three, wanted to know where the Chief was. She asked the wife and my sister several times. She didn’t understand. My wife attempted to explain it to her but had a rough time. Last night my little girl was still wondering about it—she thought maybe the Chief could come live at our house, or alternatively, we should throw the people who made him go away in a dungeon.
  • As a follow-up, the 3-in-1 without the Chief, in its current format, is hollow and sad. I’m convinced the band is doing this purposely in tribute. I’m hoping someone finds a way to do something symbolic and futile for homecoming.

6 thoughts on “Early Autumn Days…

  1. I think a lot of people, me included, are just now remembering that there is a football team as well as a basketball team in Champaign. Good for them, giving it to a ranked opponent. And durn lovely writing to boot, here. Someone’s got a real writer’s touch.

  2. Is that really you Scott writing about the golden landscape. Sounds like a far stretch for the SCI FI writer but nice. Excited about this weekends games and can’t wait until the Michigan game so I can actually use my own season tickets….

  3. Nice writing and I so enjoyed hearing your thoughts about the game and the fun you had! We are enjoying Noah, he really is a very bright and nice little boy! Mom enjoyed her birthday dinner- and your gifts!!! I’m looking forward to the next game!!

  4. Scott, I loved this entry. You took me there. Took me back to all the visits as a kid, and living in the Ville all too briefly. Thank you for that.
    But, back to reality–I just have to say it, if only for old times sake—um, we’ll just see what kind of season the Illini are really having when they come to Columbus. 😉
    Love you all,

  5. O.K., enough of the sappy, “green and golden tones.” I mean seriously, who are you and what have you done with my brother.

    I want to hear more about the tranch work being performed by our Illini football team. Where are your “Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field,” (in my best NFL films guy voice.) Where are the bone jarring comments, the lambasting of unaware foes. Why don’t I see anything about the ankle breaking cuts by our running backs. Not even the odd commentary on the status of our beloved and their punting game?

    No instead I get the gentle crackling of the fall colors under foot. The soft kisses of a cool fall breeze brushing across my face. We get to hear your opinions on the warm golden hues of a fresh reaped field.

    Oh my god, now I’m doing it…..

    I want to hear about a guy hit so hard by Jay Leman that he has snot bubbles coming out of his nose!!!

    P.S. Dori, don’t test us, the last time any of us came out to Columbus for a game we handed the Chokeyes their collective asses! ;^)

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