This is exactly why we love you so much Robert! We'll never get this from any other writer. We're sharing the journey with you and you happen to be the most articulate Illini friend we have. That's valuable to us and don't ever doubt your worth.
If we were all local buds, we'd show our appreciation by always inviting you to the bar with us, or always inviting you over to our home parties. However, since we're spread out all over the world, you're our best virtual Illini buddy. I've always thought the way you do. I'm not subscribing, I'm sharing in the cost of living this crazy Illini experience together.
I also agree that it's not about getting a unique perspective from the same presser that everybody else attends. Develop the relationship. Think of yourself as the president and communications director of the Illlini Board Fan Club and you're writing the newsletter to your fellow club members. For $199/yr you could have a Zoom account and get everybody together (well, up to 300 of us). And I like the idea of the tip jar.
Thanks for everything you do.