ILL-INI! The MSTM program visited Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 21st to see our Fighting Illini take on the Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech. The game was a chance for students to further immerse themselves in the American cultural with a good old-fashioned gridiron game. Everyone, including myself, anticipated an Illini victory as the Illini currently rank the top 25 for total defense and rushing defense.
Although it was a cold Saturday night, the spirit of orange and blue was soaring high with the anticipation of the game. Many MSTM students came early and followed the crowd to enter the majestic Memorial Stadium. Our small numbers did not intimidate us to play our part of painting the stadium blue and orange.
The Fighting Illini started off strong with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Scheelhaase. However, the Bulldogs answered with 21 straight points, which substantially silencing the crowd. During the second half, things did not get any better for the Illini as we were outscored by 31 points. Although we experienced a “beat down,” the MSTM students were very supportive and many stayed to the final whistle while taking a plethora of photos. The final score was 52-24 Bulldogs which give the Illini a 2-2 record.
For me, it was more than just a game of football. It was the experience of appreciating the effort and acknowledging the sense of belonging. Many students in MSTM are international students who were not familiar with our American culture. It is intimidating when you are venturing out of your comfort zone to be in a new place. However, this game is much more than just another entertainment for MSTM family. It is our way to say that we welcome you to the family.
As we walked out of the Memorial Stadium, MSTM students developed a stronger bond. We shared good times and laughter and a tinge of dissapointment for our loss in the game. However, we are satisfied nonetheless. It is those memories that counts in our MSTM journey together.