Suzuki Method fiddlers gathered at center-court, moments before the tip-off of Northwestern’s annual orange invasion. Both teams formed a single-file line, facing each other.
The children bowed their instruments, commemorating a flag that was still there.
Elyjah Williams looked over his shoulder, and spotted a fivesome of six year-olds in kimonos, or whatever martial artists wear. Karate kids. He motioned them toward him. They stepped into the line, between Williams and Pete Nance. He looked down at the youngsters, placed his hand on his heart, and turned back toward the Star Spangled Banner. The kids copied his motions.
I don’t remember thinking I’m gonna root for this guy from here on out. I thought it was a nice gesture. I got the idea that he’s a good guy, and that he thinks of others. And then the fiddling stopped and the game began.
As I watched Williams frustrate Kofi Cockburn, I wasn’t rooting for him. I thought it was kind of funny, because Elyjah obviously had a good attitude about his mountain-sized task.
Kofi broke into a smile momentarily, after some shit-talking. I appreciated that Kofi appreciated Elyjah.
I feel like I’ve written “Kofi is a kind & sensitive person” enough, and I don’t want to be boring. But did I say it enough?
I enjoyed watching two kind, sensitive and enormous people battle vigorously. At an elite level might say this one coach I know.
It’s been a strenuous time in America. These moments gave me some hope.
Meanwhile, Da’Monte continued his years long slog at proving the value of hard work.
It was demonstrably the best moment of the day for Illini fans. But because it was so needed, so necessary; a lot of Illini fans are feeling down about their team.
Maybe that’s appropriate. The #EveryDayGuys have been plenty bad on most recent days. But they closed the deal against Michigan, Michigan State, and this group of NUrds that’s played everyone close, but hasn’t learned how to close the deal.
It took Chris Collins to remind everyone, in 13 heartfelt minutes, how good this Illini team is. How hard it is to shut them down. And how good his Wildcat team is. And how they shut the Illini down,
You’ll feel better for watching it. And it’ll make you feel better about the Illinois performance at Welsh-Ryan.