Photo by IUSC’s Joshua Bowles-
fter Saturday’s illustrious, storybook, Steven Spielberg directed win over the former No. 1 ranked Kentucky, it got me thinking of just how proud I am of this school, and what it truly means to be a Hoosier.
When I visited this campus four years ago, it was an uncharacteristic spring day here in Bloomington. It was cold and rainy, and I was already tired from the previous two colleges I had been to in the days prior. Yet, it didn’t matter.
As my tour guide started showing me around campus, I started to lose interest in learning that the art building doesn’t have one 90-degree angle, and became more interested in the interaction among the other students walking to and from class. 95 percent of the people I glanced at had a smile on their face as they were talking with their friends, planning out what they were going to do for the upcoming weekend (obviously, it was a Thursday). I began to see various shirts and sweatshirts, some with Greek letters, others with “Hoosier Daddy” across the chest, and others just to remind you exactly where you were – ‘Indiana’.
Ever have one of those ‘ah-ha’ moments? Well this was mine. It was at that moment I decided that no matter what other school I got into, I was going to attend school at the Indiana University, in Bloomington. And I could not have made a better choice. When I became a senior in high school that next fall, my peers began asking, “So, where are you going to school next year?” Every time, I answered with the utmost confidence, pride and pleasure, “Indiana University,” with a grin across my face.
Three-and-a-half years later when people ask me where I go to school, my response, facial expressions and emotions are all still the same.
So what does it really mean to be a Hoosier?
It starts and ends with tradition, and I’m not just talking about basketball. Being a Hoosier means you either previously were associated with Indiana, currently are, or will be in the future. And nobody can take that away from you. I’ve visited my share of schools since coming to college, and although I may be biased, I have never seen anything like the people of IU. This school has such an astronomical amount of pride in everything it does. It really is remarkable, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it.
It doesn’t just end with the students. It’s the faculty and staff, the coaches, the alumni. It’s the sweet old lady working at Marsh that was born and raised in Bloomington, or the little nephew of an IU grad you see running around with a red No.1 Hoosier jersey before a football game.
To be a Hoosier means you stand for something, it’s the reason you are proud to wear your Indiana University hoodie when you go back to your old high school’s homecoming game. It’s that same reason why the class of 2012 went to every basketball game they could during their three and half years here thus far, regardless of the team’s 28-66 record. We are all here for the long haul, and everybody that goes to this school is damn proud of it.
We wear it on our sleeve just as Tim Tebow does his religion. We dress up in ridiculous outfits any day of the year to show our school pride because we don’t care what other people may think of it. We’re out on the tailgate fields at the crack of dawn, rain or shine, and we thoroughly enjoy doing it.
It’s the experience.
It’s going to your first basketball game as a freshman and realizing how freakin’ crazy they are at “The Hall”. It’s going to Taco Johns at Gresham that first day you move in, and going back to get a chicken and potato burrito every day after that. It’s pulling your first all-nighter for finals with your boy Herman. It’s getting those horrendous OnCourse emails that you ignore opening, fearing that it will be about some assignment you forgot to turn in the night before.
It’s having four straight years of Welcome Week, and looking forward to it for the next year the day after it ends. It’s Little 500, where most professors pretty much give extra credit to those students even attempting to show up to class. It’s getting kicked out of Kilroy’s on your 21st birthday, after a year of trying to get in with your fake ID that doesn’t look anything like you, and continuously getting denied.
It’s forcing IUPD to block off Kirkwood to celebrate one of the best wins for this school since 2002.
Regardless of what you choose to do here on campus – whether you’re a GDI, frat star, or “classy” sorority girl – you love every single day of it, and you dread the day your undergrad years here are over. But that’s the best thing about it. No matter what, you will always be a Hoosier, and won’t be shy to brag about it to whomever, whether you’re 18 or 80. Being a Hoosier is something that deserves its own category, it’s something special that will forever be a staple in your life, no matter what you decide to do with it.
This IS Indiana, and I’m talking about the Hoo-Hoo-Hoo-Hoosiers.
We will forever fight for the Cream and Crimson, for the glory of old IU.
My name is Drew LaMontagna, and I’m a Hoosier.