Opinion | Charlie Foster is UI’s ‘unofficial’ mascot

Senior+Charlie+Foster+pounds+on+his+chest+during+a+game+against+UTSA+football+on+Sept.+04.+Foster+is+the+Universitys+unofficial+mascot+because+of+his+game+day+spirit.+

The Daily Illini File Photo

Senior Charlie Foster pounds on his chest during a game against UTSA football on Sept. 04. Foster is the University’s unofficial mascot because of his game day spirit.

By Noah Nelson, Senior Columnist

Among over 56,000 University students, Charlie Foster, senior in Engineering, is an ordinary student. He spends his days riding his bike, attending class and spending a great amount of time in Grainger Library.

At every Illini football home game, however, Foster morphs himself into one of the best fans at Memorial Stadium’s North End Zone.

A member of Block I, the student section for Illini football, Foster has been dubbed the “unofficial” mascot of the University — a name he proudly embraces.

“The goal was never really to be a mascot,” Foster said. “It just happened because I wear the same outfit at every game.”

Similar to that of a cartoon character, Foster sports orange and blue overalls over a morph suit of similar colors over an Illini Pride shirt. He also wears a fuzzy wig to match.

“I love when I’m able to get the fans excited and make them happy at games,” Foster said. “There is a certain energy to games I love, too. Everybody is excited even when we are losing, and we are all passionate about Illinois football.”

As a Blockhead, Foster takes part in card stunts at each home game with other members of the group, helping students collect large colored plastic cards in which they will hold up during halftime. When done right, each card produces a giant picture of something related to the University’s athletics subsequently revealed on the jumbotron.

“Gameday is full of amazing parts,” Foster said. “One of my favorites is right before kickoff when everybody is ready to go. Loud music plays and my anticipation for the game hits a peak. I also love finding other blockheads in the stands and watching with them or saying hi from across the student section.”

Though Foster enjoys every aspect of home games, his favorite memory as a Blockhead is shared with many other Illinois fans.

“After winning the Wisconsin game two years ago, we all stormed the field,” Foster said. “I remember being already down below the student section to get a head start. There is no better feeling than hopping the barrier to go dance with all the players.”

As the “unofficial” mascot at home games, Foster will always cherish the memories he’s made in the North End Zone.

“Even though Illinois football has its ups and downs, I still find a way to enjoy every game day,” Foster said. “By feeding off of the energy from our amazing fans, if I can help make their game day experience great, I consider that a win.”

Noah is a senior in Media.

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