Photo by Jeff Vorva
Chris Koll models off a crazy outfit for a breast cancer awareness theme in November during a St. Laurence/Crete-Monee playoff football game.
If you are a high school senior male, you don’t just wake up one day and say “Hey! I’m going to the big football game today and I’ll wear a pink training bra, a pair of pink and white tight shorts and a big floppy hat. Oh, and I will paint the number ‘1’ on my stomach.’’
No, this kind of highbrow thinking takes planning.
St. Laurence grad, athlete and super fan Chris Koll, made it to 94 percent of the school’s football, basketball and baseball games in 2016-17.
OK, he was on the basketball team for all 29 of the Vikings games so he had to be there, but when it came to football and baseball games, he froze with those teams on some days and sweated with those teams on other days. He waited through rain delays and had to adjust his schedule with postponements.
He was with them for blowout regular season wins. He was with them for exciting postseason wins. And he was with them for heart-crushing, postseason losses – including the football team’s Class 6A state semifinal loss in Springfield and the baseball team’s 3-1 Class 4A Illinois High School Association state semifinal loss to Edwardsville on June 9 in Joliet.
And there was that crazy day that took some planning.
It was Nov. 5 and the Burbank resident was ready to show up to the school’s stadium for a second-round playoff football game against Crete-Monee.
Tight shorts? Check
Floppy hat? Check.
Guts to walk around hundreds of peers in that getup? Check and double check.
“When we came up with the theme about breast cancer awareness I started texting girls I knew for the bra,” he said. “I texted them on Tuesday and the game was Saturday. I was ready to go.’’
And he said he made 23 bucks when other students wanted to stuff that bra with singles.
He also made $5 on a bet for baseball season. The Vikings played four games in Arizona but he vowed he would attend every game the Vikings played in Illinois.
Now, it’s easy to be a super fan in football with a 9-to-14-game schedule. It’s a little tougher for basketball, but he was on the team bus all the time. He had to be there for all the games.
But baseball? The late-afternoon starting times of many of the games and the weather make it a challenge to make every game.
“I told the baseball team I was going to go to every game they played in Illinois and they told me I wouldn’t do it. “Then I did it’
“I was just messing with them at first,” he added. “Then when they said I couldn’t do it, I wanted to prove I could. I won a $5 bet that I could do it. I wanted to prove them all wrong. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. It was so fun seeing them on the road and at home. It was just awesome.’’
When Koll was a freshman in 2013, he said his first game as a future super fan was Sept. 13 and the Vikings took a 2-0 record to St. Rita and lost 55-14.
“We got killed,” he said. “That was when Rita was on their insane level. I remember watching it and it was just terrible. I was in the student section but I didn’t say anything. I was just at the top of the stands and just watched.’’
Year later, he was in the front – and sometimes the focal point – of the section.
As a fan and athlete, he has a unique perspective on the dynamics between the hecklers and the heckled.
“Being a fan was more my calling than being an athlete,’’ Koll said. “It was a nice change of pace being a fan during football season and playing during basketball season and being a fan against for baseball. When people would say stuff to me during basketball season, I would just laugh. It doesn’t get in my head – I think it’s so funny.
“I know what I do as a fan to other people so I was getting a taste of my own medicine.’’
Koll is heading to the University of Illinois to major either in business or kinesiology.
And he wants to be a super fan for the Illini.
“That’s the goal – that’s the plan right now,” he said. “Freshman year I will definitely be at the home games and by junior and senior year, I’m going to try to figure something out to get to some road games, too.’’