Smile Politely

Scenes from The Big Apple

The New York to Chicago Illini sports weekend whirlwind proved a major success. Kudos to all those involved in putting it together.

Smile Politely was there to capture all of it, so good for us too. In the Apple, we got a hand from Chris Green and his Magic Camera.

Not all of these pictures paint a thousand words. But it beats reading.

 

 

THE GAME

OUR COACH, BRUCE WEBER

SCENES FROM THE BENCH

Bill Cole tells a joke to Crandall Head

Tyler Griffey is not as funny

COACHING BY COMMITTEE

When Mike Tisdale picked up his second foul against Maryland, Weber queried his assistant coaches. “Tyler, Billy or Meyers?”

(mumble, mumble) said Jay Price and Wayne McClain, each to himself. Were they undecided? Preoccupied with tracking stats?

Jerrance Howard made the call.

“Meyers.”

THE CHEERLEADER

Meyers Leonard does not enjoy a good celebration as much as the next guy.

He enjoys it as much as the next ten guys combined. To commemorate the ML enthusiasm, SP presents a celebration of celebration.

TYLER GRIFFEY’S CLOAK & DAGGER

Obviously Tyler and Bill aren’t playing third fiddles to Meyers. The substitution had to do with match-ups on the floor.

But in the season’s first four games, Tyler Griffey vacationed at the far end of Weber’s consciousness. He nearly stumbled upon Richard Semrau’s forlorn trail of breadcrumbs.

Friday night, Tyler reminded everyone why he should play. From exactly 21 feet away, he’s deadly accurate.

A FAMILY AFFAIR

Players and coaches families enjoyed the long New York Weekend.

While Champaign-Urbana’s notoriety includes four annual weeks of pleasant weather (roughly two per equinox), Dreary Old Manhattan keeps autumn colors and temperatures through much of autumn.

 

Some of the families enjoyed the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. The people-watching is fun even when they’re not dancing. Fifth Avenue maintains the traditional afternoon stroll of idle rich wives and out-of-work runway models. Ostensibly, it’s the epicenter of Tight Pants High Boots.

But that’s not us. We are simple Midwestern folk. Whatever’s hot at Lord & Taylor, our people will be wearing orange.

Tangie Davis and cousin Courtney Williams prove sophisticates look good in orange

FALL FASHIONS WITH CHESTER FRAZIER

In a New York frame of mind, Chester Frazier continues to expand his professional wardrobe. Frazier opened the season with a conservative gray cardigan and slacks. For the Big Apple, he busted out a tailored navy suit. But it was too much.

“We’re 0 and 1 when Chester wears his own clothes,” jeered a member of the entourage who shall remain nameless.

I think the problem was not ownership, but period and style. When Chester wears traditional British styles, Illinois is undefeated. His blazer and slacks saw the Illini through the consolation game.

Chester, as you’ll remember, hails from the old British colonial port of Baltimore. That’s why he’s named Chester.

A VIEW FROM THE PRESSBOX

And here’s Chicago.

People poked fun at the Wrigley Game planning committee. I hope they enjoy their crow. This event provided a once in a lifetime spectacle. I humbly acknowledge the great privilege I enjoyed — watching it from a heated room, with catering and a clean toilet. It makes me want to say a special thanks to all of you who work for a living.

15,000 orange-clad lunatics joined 35,000 purple-clad investment bankers in day-long drinking contest that likely achieved all-time records for Sunday morning recriminations.

I’ve never seen so many people so drunk. And keep in mind, I spent a decade bartending.

Photos by Chris Green and Rob McColley

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