For sophomore Quentin Williams, this Saturday’s football game against Illinois at Wrigley Field will bring back childhood memories. When he was home sick from school as a boy, his go-to comfort movie was Rookie of the Year. Even though the defensive end grew up a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, he always had a special place in his heart for Wrigley Field, the setting of the film.
“Being down on the grass is a bit of an honor for everybody,” Williams says. “It’s a very historic stadium.”
Williams says he appreciates the opportunity to play there as a football player, but the game carries even more importance because of his love for baseball. In addition to playing football, Williams also plays right field for Northwestern’s varsity baseball team.
This week’s game is obviously notable for all players and fans, but it carries a special importance for Wildcats from the Chicago area as well as those who play for Northwestern’s baseball team.
Chicago native Corbin Bryant does not express the same amount of enthusiasm as Williams. Despite not rooting for either the Chicago Cubs or the White Sox, Bryant still recognizes the rare opportunity to play on the historic field.
“I don’t like baseball at all,” the defensive tackle says. “I thought it would be pretty cool just to play there because it’s a prestigious stadium.”
John Henry Pace is another Chicago resident on the roster, and he feels much more strongly about the chance to play at the Friendly Confines. The senior grew up a huge fan of both the Chicago Cubs and Bears, who used to play football at Wrigley.
“I was really excited when I heard and it’s only been increasing since then,” the long snapper says of the chance to play on the Cubs home field this Saturday.
Pace has many fond memories of attending games at Wrigley, but one stands out in his mind. When he was a kid, he attended a baseball game where Sammy Sosa and Fred McGriff hit back-to-back home runs.
The player says he looks forward to the game, where he will get the chance to play on a field with so many historic moments and personal memories.
“It’s going to be a great atmosphere,” Pace says.
Although all three players are looking forward to the opportunity to play at Wrigley, they say the team is not getting sidetracked by the venue and losing focus of the game itself. Coach Pat Fitzgerald has not spent much time talking about the stadium, except for a brief history lesson of the field, Pace said.
“The game is played on a 100-yard field,” Bryant says. “We’re going to play it like it’s a regular game. The fans are going to be excited, but we’ve got a job to do.”