My Orange Krush Adventure To Evanston

Tuesday’s column from CBS Chicago

Photo courtesy of Craig Pessman

EVANSTON (CBS) They say you can’t go home again.

Turns out, though, you can go back to college.

I can prove it. After all, this past weekend, I spent 13 blissful hours being 19 years old again in spite of the fact that, ahem, I’m only three months shy of my 37th birthday.

For that refreshing dip into the Fountain of Youth, I can thank 150 of my new friends in the Orange Krush, the University of Illinois’ famous student basketball cheering section that’s become infamous throughout the Big Ten for hijacking the opposition’s stadiums.

In recent years, the Krush has invaded the basketball arenas at Michigan, Nebraska, Minnesota, Ohio State and Iowa. On Sunday night, Northwestern University’s Welsh-Ryan Arena was the latest to get Krushed. And I was along for the entertaining daylong adventure.

About a month ago, McKennon Biers, a U. of I. junior and the current president of the Orange Krush, shot me an email with an invitation to join the students on their annual “sneak attack” road trip. This year’s destination, the message whispered, will be Evanston.

I agreed to tag along and was sworn to secrecy since the Krush’s annual ploy involves adopting a cover story to purchase a block of tickets (this year, they posed as “State Farm interns”) and disguising themselves in the opposing school’s colors (purple for Northwestern). At tipoff, the Krush members peel off their rivals’ T-shirts to reveal the orange underneath and announce their presence.

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