Yes, Chris Collins has thrown out the first pitch at Wrigley Field. Big deal. And yes, he also got to shoot a puck during intermission of a Chicago Blackhawks game. That’s cool, I guess. But what does that have to do with being a coach at Northwestern?
During his introductory press conference, Collins said that he wanted to be involved on campus with students. The first-year head coach promised to step away from Welsh-Ryan Arena and energize the Northwestern community. If Collins is going to be successful in this endeavor, he’s going to have to relate to students.
How can he accomplish that? There's a few things he'll need to get under his belt.
Get mentioned on Northwestern Crushes: Aric DiLalla
So, Coach Collins, you’re kind of the next big thing on campus. That’s pretty clear. You’ve been tapped as the one to finally lead this program to the Big Dance. As a result, Northwestern’s fan base has showered you with praise in the weeks since your hiring. But if you really want to be a part of the Wildcat community, you need to be complimented through much more secretive methods.
Since Northwestern Crushes sprung up on Facebook, more than 1,300 people have liked the page where anonymous, usually highly inappropriate, love-declaring messages are posted. Now it’s your turn to be recognized, Coach.
I can see it now:
“Chris Collins, I knew you were (a good kind of) trouble when you walked in. I was looking for a change in my life, and you provided the spark I needed. Your passion for the game of basketball and for Northwestern has been clear since your opening press conference. Hopefully, our team can score as much as you always did… as a player. All I’m asking for is a chance. Please don’t make me run a full-court press in order to slow you down long enough to talk to you!”
It’s 64 percent awkward. It’s 36 percent weird. It’s 100 percent Northwestern.
Eat too much hot cookie bar: Steven Goldstein
Look at it.
Yes, that's exactly what you think it is, Coach Collins. It's a whole tray of unbaked sugar cookies. You came to this school for a reason.
With wide eyes, a voracious appetite and no semblance of self-control, students diving head-first into hot cookie bar is an unspoken tradition at Northwestern. Like marching through the Arch or watching a football game at Ryan Field, gorging on half-baked cookie dough in the dining hall is a rite of passage. Every Wildcat has done it, so now it's your turn.
Like all good things in life, hot cookie bar comes with a simple mantra: go big or go home. Or probably both. After shoveling down a pound of awesomeness, your body will realize the seriousness of what you've just done, rendering you completely useless for the night as you crawl into bed and fall asleep. We know you have meetings. We know you have work. We know you have friends to see. But hot cookie bar takes no prisoners.
It builds character as much as it builds waistlines. Welcome home, Coach.
Get inundated with event promotions: Andrew Hudson
Chris Collins, you won’t experience the real Northwestern community until you get bombarded with hundreds of shows and events via Facebook.
There are a few events that everybody gets regularly invited to at Northwestern: bake sales, theater performances, philanthropy events at sorority houses, dance shows and an a cappella show or two. Let’s face it, Coach, you would follow suit along with the majority of the Northwestern community and hate the dozens of weekly invitations you'd receive.
Coaches are personable people. They go visit recruits in person to try and bring them to their respective universities. No coach in the history of NCAA basketball (I’m assuming and hoping at the same time) has ever sent a recruit a Facebook invitation as a letter of intent. My guess is that you would hit that "No, I will not attend" button with a passionate anger.
However, you did play professional basketball in Finland for two years after your collegiate career. So, who knows, you might be into some of the cultural diversity groups on campus. Some advice to students though, don’t invite Collins to your muffin madness parties or You Got Served dance battles. He’s not interested.
If you want to find out for yourself, ask him in person.
Join a pickup game at SPAC: Luke Srodulski
For you to really fit the mold of a typical Northwestern student, it might be a good idea to join in a spontaneous pickup basketball game at SPAC. Every afternoon, students wait to be able to hit the court and show off their skills. Here "skills" is a relative term, because most of the players who dominate are the ones who were probably sixth men in high school.
In that case, it’ll probably be tough for a former McDonald’s All-American to fit in. You're only 39, so you can still hold your own against college athletes. There’s no doubt that you stll have the handles and the jumper. After you break a couple ankles and drains a few threes, you won’t be just another guy. You'll be SPAC royalty.
Miss a basketball game: Sylvan Lane
We've all been there. It's a cold, dreary winter evening in Evanston and you've got 40 pages of history reading, an econ problem set and a stats quiz tomorrow. You get set to buckle down with your homework, a Red Bull and the last shreds of sanity you have when you realize that the Wildcats are about to take on another Big Ten opponent at Welsh-Ryan in 30 minutes.
You scramble to see when the next shuttle up to Ryan Field from the Arch, fail to find anything you need and miss another Northwestern basketball game as you fall asleep on a printed picture of Peter the Great.
Of course, Coach, if you miss a game, you're going to have to deal with a whole lot more than a little disappointment and a drool-covered textbook. But if you want to feel like a part of this campus, this isn't a bad way to start.