Jan. 27, 2006
Throughout the season an Illinois women's basketball player will post her thoughts on fightingillini.com in a weekly blog. This week, freshman Lori Bjork discusses basketball runs, the return of 'regular students' and her Super Bowl rooting interest.
Women's BasketBlog - Jan. 27, 2006 - Lori Bjork
Almost every coach says, "Basketball is a game of runs." This cliché is usually referring to the ebb and flow within one basketball game, but momentum over a stretch of games is similarly made up of streaks. After losing three games in a row, we have dug ourselves a little bit of a hole in the Big Ten. All of us, coaches and players, are extremely competitive, so losing is never easy or acceptable. However, with another big game at Ohio State coming up on Sunday, we have no time to sit around and point fingers and no intention of tossing in the towel. Everyone will have to do their part to start our ship moving back in the right direction. For some people, this means fitting in some extra shooting time (this is my automated response to a loss), for others it means suffering through the film of the loss to find ways to improve (coaches tend to take this one to the extreme), and for a select few it means switching up their lucky underwear (I will avoid implicating anyone in this category). Kids are resilient, my dad always says, and we are just a bunch of big kids, so we will find a way to bounce back.
As we conclude our second week of classes, I think that I am finally clear of the "welcome back" phase of the semester. This phase is characterized by regular students joyously returning to the freedom of college. You can't walk into the dining hall or down the hallway without being rudely confronted with the unbounded happiness of a regular student who could not possibly endure one more week of home cooked meals and quality time with mom and dad. As a basketball player who spent all but three days of the ridiculously long collegiate winter break living out of a hotel room over 300 miles from home, the sight of students jubilant about returning to the box that is your dorm room is enough to make you want to puke (just try to do so quietly so as not to draw attention to yourself in the communal restrooms). The inability to spend extended time with family and friends during the holiday season is perhaps the only drawback of playing college basketball. Returning to the dorms and having to hear the complaints of everyone who was bored to death at home and couldn't take another sentence out of their querying parents seems, from my perspective, to be a lack of appreciation.
My family's continual support and love makes them worthy of much more than three days of my time. Even for someone as passionate about basketball as I am, it is still difficult to essentially tell your family that an orange sphere is more important to you than spending time with them. Needless to say, I will be forever indebted to them for their understanding. I owe my mom a lunch date, like we used to have about once a month when I was in high school, I owe my dad and brother some quality shooting time together, and I owe my sister some Christmas cookie baking time (okay, so she does the baking, and I do the taste testing).
So far this semester, one of my more interesting classes appears to be an introductory computer science class. In addition to learning the basic makeup of a computer, I will be learning a few programming languages. I have to admit that, despite using a computer every day, I really know nothing about them. Adults from my parents' generation assume that anyone born after about 1980 has a computer wizardry gene in their DNA, but they would be surprised to learn that there are a lot of young people terrified of computers. Like me, they can patch together a paper easy enough with a word processing application or surf the internet, but when it comes to troubleshooting we are utterly clueless. Completely bereft of any technical know-how, when something goes awry with my computer, my only solution is to repeatedly turn the computer on and off until it finally successfully operates. During the process of starting up or shutting down, there is the inevitable fleeting thought given to just taking out a hammer and bashing in the screen, but self-control always prevails, especially when I remember how much I paid for the thing.
In closing, let me just say that I will be doing some (forced) rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl. Our four Pennsylvanians (Audrey Tabon, Erin Wigley, Danielle Gratton, and Chelsea Gordon) are infected with various degrees of Steeler mania. Danielle is our most serious case, evidenced by her occasional donning of a black Hines Ward jersey. Erin is next in line, with a working knowledge of the Steeler roster and general awareness of who and when the club plays each Sunday. Audrey is the classic fair-weather fan, jumping onto the bandwagon of a successful team. Chelsea is our least afflicted Pennsylvanian, possessing only a trace of Steeler pride. Because teammates are supposed to support one another, as a show of solidarity, I will be a Steeler fan for one day. When my Minnesota Twins make the World Series, I will expect this support to be reciprocated.
Lori Bjork #20