Bob Hunt is not a football player. Actually, he’s not
much of an athlete whatsoever. But he is a wannabe soccer hooligan
who likes to go on road trips. As a football writer for The
Michigan Daily, Bob will travel to each Michigan road game and
chronicle his experiences.

Bob Hunt
Bob takes in the Champaign nightlife at Station on Green Street.
Bob Hunt
Bob sneaks into the “Orange Krush” during Illini Basketball Madness.

•This week led me to the heart of the Land of Lincoln in
the connecting towns of Champaign and Urbana — where the land
is flatter that the table you last played beer pong on, and the
people are counting down the days until basketball season.

•The core of the University of Illinois experience is the
bars that align Green Street in the middle of downtown Champaign.
What makes these establishments unique is that you are allowed to
enter at 19, and the shape of your stamp may or may not be checked
when you order that next pitcher. This means that the campus social
scene revolves almost entirely around the bar. Even the
fraternities and sororities, which constitute a large presence on
campus, leave their houses clean and rent out places for most of
their gatherings. The one drawback is that literally every bar has
an obscene wait, not just the most popular ones. After a quick stop
at Murphy’s, an Irish pub, I headed over to Kam’s,
which was supposedly the “Rick’s” of Champaign.
But it looked like the Jack Daniels Party Bus had brought too much
of a crowd — so much so that the wait at 11:15 was at least
45 minutes. The funny thing is, the patio attached to the place was
almost completely empty. Did the place just constitute a line? Like
the amount of licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop,
my world may never know.

•I eventually decided to try Station, a bar that had a
heavy Greek reputation and was supposedly on the decline. Other
than the rip-off prices ($5 cover and $2 “drafts” of
Miller Lite in small, clear plastic cups), it wasn’t too bad
— and the crowd was actually pretty cool. The only bit of
advice I have is that walking around with a fedora hat can gain you
some additional attention — positive attention.

•During the football game, other than the group of students
that represented the “Block I” (the Illinois student
section), the atmosphere wasn’t that stellar. Well over 30
minutes before the end of the game, the line at nearby Assembly
Hall was forming for the annual “Illini Basketball
Madness.” Meanwhile, Memorial Stadium was almost empty by the
final whistle.

•After the game, I went to go see this Mid-day Madness for
myself, since I can’t participate in such an activity in Ann
Arbor. There were about 10,000 people there, who patiently waited
well after an hour following the football game to watch their
men’s team — a consensus pre-season top-10 team —
take the floor for a 3-point contest, a slam dunk contest and a
10-minute scrimmage. After some peer pressure, I bought an orange
shirt and headed down to the “Orange Krush,” which
claims to be one of the best student sections in the country. No
one said a word as I barged down to the first row. Personally, I
think the students at Wisconsin were better last year. Now, does
anyone want a Deron Williams T-shirt?

 

Bob Hunt has changed his future career plans in a result of
On the Road. After looking at his fun logo, he decided that he
wants to be a Back to School model for Target. He can be reached at
bobhunt@umich.edu.

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