The rest of the schedule is up in the air, but the one Illini football game that really matters to fans this year is on the calendar. The Chicago Homecoming game vs. Washington at Soldier Field will take place at 5pm.
According to the release: “With the evening start, thousands of UI alumni and fans in the Chicagoland area will be able to enjoy a full day of tailgating and a special Chicago-style street fest area located just outside Soldier Field.”
Wow, that sounds like a ton of fun! To bad that I will not be able to attend the festivities, or most likely the game. Come to think of it, plenty of others are in the same situation as I am. You see, Sept. 14 also happens to be Yom Kippur, THE most important holiday on the Jewish calendar. For observant Jews, this means that the afternoon is spent inside the walls of a synagogue, observing the somber holiday that occurs right after the new year (Rosh Hashannah). We are supposed to be spending the day fasting and atoning for our sins, which means no fun activities like tailgating.
As soon as the sun goes down, Yom Kippur ends. According to the Internet, that will be 7:05 PM on Sept. 14. The fun can begin with a great meal breaking the fast, and we’re free to do anything we like (though usually it’s nice to spend time with friends and family). However, the earliest I could get down to Soldier Field is about 8pm as I shove a pre-packed dinner into my starving face. Which means there really isn’t much of a point. If I head into a local bar for my great post-Yom Kippur meal I’ll at least be able to catch the second half.
Now if the game started at 7 or 7:30 (which is truly “Under the Lights” as the release boasts), then that would be a different story. This is the first time the Illini will visit Soldier Field, and there is absolutely no way I will be able to attend the game – even though it’s taking place in the city where I live. Yom Kippur requires a bit of a sacrifice (hence the fasting), so I guess I can’t complain too much.
What I can complain about is scheduling. A couple years ago when Illinois played Northwestern at Wrigley Field, the game was scheduled after I had already bought tickets to New York in anticipation of seeing the basketball team play at Madison Square Garden. The choice was easy for me since I am more of a basketball fan, but why should there have been a choice? Again, bad scheduling.
Anyway, for those of you who won’t be hindered by a holiday, tickets are on sale now for as low as $30 at the Illinois Athletic Ticket office. You can call 1-866-ILLINI-1 or purchase them online. Please say an I-L-L or an I-N-I for me and the rest of us who won’t be able to attend.