I’m a ‘Sconnie. I always have been. And like most people who have grown up in Wisconsin, I have developed a sort of latent animosity towards Illinois, particularly the people from Chicago — which can include residents in the entire northern half of the state, depending on who you’re talking to.

As I prepare my resume and attempt to stay on top of my studies in this, my last semester at UW, I am faced with an impending threat to my loyalty: I must move to Chicago after graduation.

There are many facets to the ongoing boarder war between Illinois and Wisconsin. Insults, pity, rivalry and blame are thrown across state lines like baseballs thrown at Wrigley Field (or Miller Park).

The playing field is perhaps most level when it comes to insults. Both sides use names like ‘Sconnie, flatlander, cheesehead and FIB (f–king Illinois bastard) to describe the other. The insults are verbal manifestations of deeper generalizations. Wisconsinites eat a lot of cheese and are actually proud of it. Illinoisans are horrible drivers. Wisconsinites are fat. Illinoisans are snobs. Wisconsin is wilderness and farms. Illinois is ugly. The list goes on and on …

While insults go back and forth, the pity tends to flow in one direction: North. To many Illinoisans, Wisconsin is like Illinois’ dim-witted cousin — something to feel sorry for but something to remind you how good you have it. I’ve actually had this explained to me using a (much) less politically correct simile.

I don’t think they pity the state itself so much as the people who live in it year-round. In fact, many Illinoisans enjoy the abundant natural beauty of Wisconsin and visit often during the summer months. Specifically, they enjoy their million dollar “cabins” on lakes across the state.

But the thought that people actually choose to live and work in the “sticks” of Wisconsin is the cause of a great deal of pity from the south.

Sports rivalries also exist between the two states. These rivalries ebb and flow across the boarder depending on season, sport and team. Illinois had the Bulls during the whole of the 1990s; Wisconsin had the Packers in the late 1990s. As we’ve seen recently with both teams, and with any sports team for that matter, claims of superiority are short-lived. However, this does not stop some from claiming unconditional superiority.

The blame-game aspect of the boarder war heated up again this early this summer when Illinois congressman Mark Kirk blamed “cheesehead” sewage water on the high levels of E. coli that forced the city to close swimming areas at 31 Chicago area beaches this past summer. What Kirk failed to note, however, are the additional and more heavily contributory sources for the closings cited by the Environmental Protection Agency, such as seagull droppings on the beaches. It’s just easier to blame Wisconsin.

Even the UW, an oasis of culture and diversity in the middle of Wisconsin, is not immune to the occasional state-loyalty flare ups. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard students from Chicago ragging on Wisconsin. You know what? You’re going to school in Wisconsin, not Illinois. If you think your city and state are so superior, go to school there and shut up already.

My animosity toward and generalizations about Illinois will undoubtedly begin to fade after I make the leap across the boarder. FIBs aren’t so bad, I guess. I’m dating one, after all, and I’ve learned to ignore the jabs at my home state and buckle my seatbelt immediately after getting into his car.

But no matter how much time I spend in Chicago, no matter how many White Sox games I attend, no matter if someday I get a “cabin” in Lake Geneva, I will always be a ‘Sconnie at heart.

Laura Rego ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in marketing and management; she is the former advertising director of the Badger Herald.