This week, ESPN posted a pre-tour-na-ment piece that detailed the fight song, colors, mascot and 'notable alumni' of all 64 teams that made it into March Madness this year. My Fighting Illini were included in the piece and what ESPN listed there kicked off a text conversation that I had with Equation Boy/Man about the University of Illinois Mount Rushmore and who would be on it. Here's what ESPN included: Four members of the author's "Notable Alumni" list. Now, before we talk about the folks here - and not here, let me briefly show you what the list looks like for Yale University . This is what I'd call the 'royal treatment'. Long list, right? And, even a link to an even LONGER list on Wikipedia. Wonder why Yale was given this treatment? I'm sure...part of it is - of course - the fact that they HAVE a good list. But, there's more, of course. Where is ESPN located? That's right. The World Wide Leader is, indeed based on Conn
Showing posts with the label fighting illini
As I often do during the deep part of Winter, my brain starts to think about the garden and the projects that I'd like to take on this season. I've done a couple of years of to-do lists and those have been good ways of forcing me to focus. In each of those years ( 2019 and 2020 ), I included trying a metal-frame topiary to the list. And in both of those years, I never check the idea off my list . But, that hasn't stopped me from thinking about how to pull one off. And, as I was tool'ing around the Web recently, I came across this Etsy store that sells all sorts of topiary frame s. They're all really great. Go have a look at this Pikachu one . Or this Mickey Mouse head . They also sell a full-body Mickey Mouse which looks really great . It is $300, so maybe a little rich for a first-timer like me. But, there also was one that caught my attention. It is the one featuring Auburn University's A/U logo. Here's a screenshot of the listing below. (Ag
On all of our trips to campus to see a Fighting Illini football game down at Memorial Stadium, we do a few things: park at Frat Chi, walk the quad and buy some stuff at the bookstore or Gameday Sports. Or both. On one of those trips in the past few years, I guess I made an impulse buy that I recently came across. Doing what most of us do at the new year, I decided to clean out my desk drawers. In one of them, I found a package that contained this Fighting Illini football player minifigure you see below. He's wearing W-O-W or White - Orange - White...which isn't my favorite look (I'm much more of a traditionalist in O-B-O), but seems like something the team wears a lot these days. A few notes: 1. He's wearing #00 - which I think has to do with players not being paid to play. 2. If you look closely at the yoke, you'll see "Team Shield" showing up. Nice little detail. 3. He came with a football, but TKOTBS seems to have misplaced it. 4. The h
A few weeks ago, we packed up the Minivan and went down to Champaign for Illinois Homecoming. That started with a visit to Memorial Stadium where the Illini were taking on the Wisconsin Badgers and I was able to participate in the annual Varsity I weekend where they welcome back past athletes (see my Football Alumni badge at the top) and all the festivities that includes like a tailgate party, some free tickets and going on the field before the game. We watched the game (at least most of it) and also had a nice time with my sisters at their tailgate in Grange Grove. As part of the Varsity I celebration, the Athletic Department hosts what they call the "Legacy Tunnel" - where former players line up and the team charges out in front of when they leave the locker room. I had a good spot - facing West - and snapped a few photos of the Fighting Illini Football Team wearing their "Grey Ghost" uniforms. Check out this post that shows the 1998 team photo and
As part of the 'Share a Coke' campaign, it seems that the fine folks at Coca-Cola are running some college football team logos on their bottles. Above...you'll see the Block I from what I'm pretty sure is the Fighting Illini. More on this in a moment. Below, you'll see the other side with a football helmet. Here (below) is another football team logo - this one from Ole Miss. I bought both of these in Memphis. Hence...why I was uncertain if the Block I is *really* the Illini? It *has* to be, right? The problem is that Coke is using the OLD Block I. They updated it a few years back to include these rounded inside corners. See the brand guidelines here . Or here . Below is the "new" Block I - with those rounded inside corner. Wonder how that happened? I've posted Coca-Cola products here on the blog before including these from Singapore . And these from France . And this one that ALMOST got my name right .
A few weeks back, we piled into the Swagger Wagon and went to see my Illini take on Purdue for Homecoming. We now have two nieces that are Freshman down in Champaign, so this was a family affair. My sisters threw a great tailgate in Grange Grove and then we went into the Loyalty Lounge inside of Memorial Stadium to watch the game. Well, I went in well before the game because I wanted to see warmups and all the pre-game what-have-yous. We were lucky that the specialists for the Illini warmed up (for the most part) on the north end of the field, so our spots in the patio in the northwest corner tower of the stadium was a good view. Just about every game that we go to as a family, Nat and I disagree about the 'time to enter' the game. I enjoy the pre-game festivities almost as much as the game. I like to see the operation unfold, watch the support staff take action and watch the stadium come to life. A little weird, yeah. But, that's why I want to get into li
If you head there now, you'll see that hanging in the staircase of the Downers Grove Recreation Center is this art project made of small mirrored pieces of glass. It has squares around the edges and a molecule-looking object in the center. There's a post here on Facebook that describes the project and the themes it is exploring (community + the universe). Here's how the project is described in the document hanging next to the work that is titled "C-60" that was created by artist Linda Stucker. Here's the full post on Facebook from the Art Department embedded: If you read the description, you'll see that the artist - Linda Stucker - invited Downers Grove residents to design their own 1.5" tile squares that would be included in the final project. Welp...I totally forgot that we participated! One Saturday, after basketball, we saw a table set up at the Rec Center. So, The Babe and I decided to sit down and create a little glass tile.
One year ago today, I posted this on the blog : What a year it has been for the Illini and Athletic Director Josh Whitman. Has Lovie lived up to the billing? As an Alum and former member of the football team I can say this without question: He has! Did we win a ton of games last year? Nope. Will we win a bunch this year? Probably not. But that's ok. #WeWillWin. Why? Because he's upgrading the talent on the field ( #40 recruiting class this year ) and in the coaching box . And in that year, things have changed in the football program, but also at the Athletic Department. They announced the inaugural class for the University of Illinois Fighting Illini Hall of Fame with 28 members . The golf program continues to hum along in amazing fashion. He hired a new Volleyball coach . And...They also announced the Memorial Stadium renovation (South Endzone and maybe a new facility by the indoor training complex like what they're showing below. And now come
One of my nephews gave this to me for Christmas and it has been sitting on my desk ever since. It is a 'pen rest', but that's not the cool part. First, he made it! Yeah...like he made it in shop class in school. I'm thinking it was some sort of computer-driven machining tool? He programmed in my name and (most importantly) the Illini shield - which I'm over the moon for - and then stained it all by himself. Kinda awesome, right? Especially because he's just a 12 year old.
Over on eBay this weekend, I came across this beauty of a lamp . It is listed at $85 and has no shade, so it isn't a steal, right? But it *is* awesome. But right now, it isn't for me. ( remember that whole Joe Rhode-thing about that says: " It is enough to enjoy the existence of things without possessing all of them" ???) Looking up the helmets in the Helmet Project site , it seems that this one with the blue facemask, the arched "Illini" that is outlined in blue is from a very specific few years: 1977 to 1979. As a child of the late 70's, I kinda love that. We don't have a house yet, let alone a place for this lamp, but I bet it'd look pretty awesome in a rumpus room, right? At $85, it might not go fast, right? All it takes is one nutball like me to buy it, though!
Back in 2011, I posted here on the blog about how the University of Illinois Athletic Department was rolling out a limited number (just 77 of them. Get it? Grange was #77??) mini replica statues of the famous (and massive) Red Grange statue that sits on the west side of Memorial Stadium . But they were $4800. Wowsa. Obviously, I passed. Fast forward to this fall and the Athletic Department announced that for Homecoming they were going to give away smaller replica statues to the first 5000 fans who entered Memorial Stadium for the game against the Minnesota Gophers. We weren't heading to Homecoming, so I figured I would have to hop on Ebay to find one of these to sit on my desk. Welp, the first few weeks after the giveaway, there were a few statues popping up on Ebay, but the auctions were driving the prices pretty high (at least for me!) and I just stayed on the sidelines. But, I kept 'watching' auctions and I finally found one that looked like
A few days ago, I posted a couple of photos from our visit to the Legacy Lounge in the Northwest corner terrace of Memorial Stadium down in Champaign that included finding one of the team photos that I was in from my days on the Fighting Illini squad in the late 90's. But, this was our first trip down that we were able to enjoy the *kinda* new Grange Grove. The Athletic Department christened the Grange Grove for last year's season and it has been a big hit. From FightingIllini.com : Grange Grove has transformed what was previously Lot 36, the parking lot directly west of Memorial Stadium, into a free, high-energy tailgating area, which Fighting Illini fans of all ages can enjoy. When we arrived a few hours before kickoff, the place was jumping! There was a band playing on one side and the beer garden was loaded with alums and students. It was Dad's day, so it appeared that a few Fraternities had their "Football Block" on site in the Grange Grove and
We were down in Champaign recently for an Illini game and as part of the pre-game festivities we spent some time in what they call the "Legacy Lounge" in the Northwest corner of Memorial Stadium. Along with a nice bar and some good tailgate chow (bbq sandwiches this week), they have photos of a bunch of the past Fighting Illini football teams. There, on a few of the team photos, was a picture of *this guy* that I was able to show my nieces and nephews and kids. That was kinda fun. There's a page here on the blog that chronicles a bit more about my time as a punter on the Fighting Illini football team in the 90's. Jake Parrillo - punter on Illinois football team . If you look closely at the photo, you'll see me in #44. They also gave me this sweet "football alumni" lanyard that granted access to the field. Really nice way to embrace former players - even guys like me - beyond the annual "Varsity I" weekend game.
This month's wall calendars feature Toy Story 3 on the left in the Pixar calendar and the one and only Memorial Stadium on the right in the University of Illinois wall calendar. October is - maybe - the best time on campus, so I love seeing the football team featured in the month. Last year, I turned the calendars over on the 8th of October , so that means I've gained another four days in the annual contest. At the end of September, I was up -21 days . So, this thing might just be over before December even starts. For those keeping track like I am (Which, we all know is nobody!): January took 8 days to put up the calendar . I don't think I was tracking January last year. So let's call it a wash. (+0 Days) February took 16 days to put up the calendar. In 2015, I turned it over on the 17th . (-1 Days better) March took 8 days this year. In 2015, I turned them on the 10th . Posted on the 11th. So...that makes it -2 days better. April took just 7 days. I did
We were at the Babe's school for new parent orientation recently and as we exited her classroom, we were able to see some of the work that the class had done. And as I looked for the Babe's paper, I saw this above. Sure...she gives really good answers for what she needs to do in 1st grade. But, look at the bottom where the kids were asked to color in their own backpack. She picked the Fighting Illini and the Block I?!? Yep. Not Mickey the Mouse. Not My Little Pony. Nor Shopkins. Or her *actual* backpack - which is cute...but probably hard to draw because of the squiggles and such. Nope. She went with the orange and blue. I-L-L! Proud parenting moment for sure.
Despite never getting a trophy showing off a punter during my time in Jr. High or High School or even college down at the University of Illinois, I have NOW rectified that and am the proud owner of this sweet vintage punter trophy! I picked it up at the Kane County Flea Market during the same trip when we got these Fraggle McDonalds cars and the Chipettes glass . I had never seen a punter trophy before, so you know the old rule: when you see something you've never come across before, you need to buy it. So, I knew I had to have it. Fortunately, Nat was looking at a vintage book in the same booth and after decided she wanted it, I packaged up the book and this guy. I think the vendor figured that if she didn't sell this thing to me, she wasn't going to sell it to anyone as the buyers for a 60's era vintage punter trophy are rare, I'm guessing. So, she gave us a great price for the book and basically threw the trophy in for nuttin'. Pretty sweet deal
A few weeks back, there was a pretty awesome Estate Sale at a house in Elmhurst on Cottage Hill (the swankiest street in town, maybe????) and after taking my number and waiting to get in (yes, they had you take a number and limited the number of shoppers in the loaded house), I came out with a few items including this sweater that I just *had* to take a selfie of that morning. I snapped this pic and texted it to Nat with a 'What do you think?' and instead of her usual 'pass' on the garage sale junk I come across, she said 'of course! Buy it!' So...this sweet, kinda tight beauty came home with me and I can't wait to break it out on a college football Saturday this fall when I support Lovie Smith and the boys in orange fight against their Big Ten brethren. Last month, I posted 3 other Estate Sale sweaters , so I'm starting to wonder to myself is *this* becoming a thing now for me?
In the same pile as the Student Power Magazine that I posted yesterday, there were also a bunch of football programs all from Purdue University. Above is one against Notre Dame that features Neil Armstrong - a Purdue Alum. This estate was chock'ed full of Purdue sports stuff. Below, is another Purdue vs. Notre Dame program from September 30, 1967 that features the returning 1966 National Champion Fighting Irish with South Bend being highlighted in the 'middle' of the 'D' and West Lafayette in the 'middle' of the 'P'. Cute. As you can see scrawled by hand is what appears to be the score: Purdue 28. ND 21. Also were a few other interesting ones: This one directly below is from the 1967 Rose Bowl Game featuring Purdue vs. USC. And this was the only one featuring the Illini. That's Bob Griese, too! Which is pretty neat. This Illini vs. Purdue program is the earliest from October 29, 1966. With us being in total disarray hous
This whole thing isn't just about the new coach. It is about a new moment. One where the Fighting Illini aren't being discussed in the news for scandals or embarrassing moments. But for making a bold and decisive decision that is the first step in a long journey back to relevance. Thanks, Josh Whitman. #WEWILLWIN pic.twitter.com/eIC379IiyD — Josh Whitman (@IlliniAD) March 7, 2016
Nat popped off her Snapple cap over the weekend and discovered this gem. Seems like forever ago that the Bears invaded Memorial Stadium down in Champaign. From the read of the 2002 Season Wikipedia entry, it sounds like a terrible year. The connections between the Bears and the Fighting Illini are deep. This year, as the Illini played the Northwestern Wildcats at Soldier Field, the University published this article documenting all the connections starting with the blue and orange and running all the way through Ron Turner.