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The Top Illinois Football Fan Traditions

Illinois has some great traditions to watch for on gamedays this fall.

I was lucky enough, along with many of you, to be a student at the University of Illinois for four years. And, like many of you I’m sure, I took advantage of the opportunity to join Block I, Orange Krush, Spike Squad, and the like.

There’s so many great things about attending Fighting Illini games live, so I thought I would throw just a few things out here for you to enjoy. Let’s look ahead to football season so you’re prepared to cheer the Illini on to victory!

The Keys

At home football games, kickoffs always begin with student in Block I shaking their keys in the air as the ball is kicked away.

I honestly have no idea why this happens. I’ve heard that it has something to do with us asking the opposing team to take our cars as if they were our valet, which is incredibly disrespectful if true. Either way, most people just do it because it’s fun to show off who has a nicer car.

The William Tell

Ah, yes. The William Tell. The infamous piece played by the Marching Illini at football and basketball games, most notably, allows the students to support each other and hop to the left and right.

You’ll know this one is coming as soon as you hear everyone yell “TO THE LEFT!”

Card Stunts

This is one of the oldest student section traditions in all of college football. If you’ve participated, you know that around halftime you need to sit exactly on a seat number, take all those weird-smelling plastic cards, and follow the instructions of whoever the Block I chair is.

Easily the best stunt is with the beer mugs, where everyone yells “CHUG! CHUG! CHUG!” as Block Heads run down the steps. Just good old fashioned American fun here, folks.


Perhaps the least appropriate yet most fulfilling tradition and cheer is the one where everyone yells “Oh yeah!” whilst doing hip thrusts and going side to side.

The Marching Illini are playing literally as loud as they can, and you’re just hip thrusting for the first time in months outside of KAMs. It’s a win-win for everyone.

There’s no good video online of this, but that’s because it can be considered NSFW. Carry on.

War Chant

A lot of us miss this. It’s too bad we don’t have it anymore.

What are some of your favorite gameday traditions?

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