SULLIVAN, Ill. (WCIA) — This month, Illini football fan Nick Smith will publish a children’s book about the Illinois football game experience.

The 24-page book, titled “Football at Illinois,” will explore all of the sights, sounds, and traditions surrounding football games at Memorial Stadium in Champaign with full-color illustrated pages accompanied with text.

“The book will take you from the tailgate to the stadium,” said Smith, who resides in Sullivan, Illinois. “You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of the action.”

Since 2005, Smith has been a season ticket holder for Illinois football, attending nearly every Illini home game. His love for the sport inspired his debut book.

“I have loved Illinois sports my entire life,” Smith said. “I have a great football family. We tailgate each week. I wanted my kids to know that Illinois sports isn’t just what happens on the field.”

Earlier this spring, amidst the hot weather, Smith couldn’t wait for the crisp air and grilled foods of fall.
“Those are the first words of the book,” Smith said. “It just sort of flowed from there.”

Throughout his life, Smith has surrounded himself with storytelling. After hearing his grandpa tell funny stories about alligators and writing poems for birthdays and other occasions over the years, he wanted to tell stories of his own.

“The initial draft came quickly after I established the theme of the story,” Smith said. “The process itself was pretty smooth. The most nerve-wracking part was stepping outside my comfort zone and making the book public.”

As a debut author, Smith feels hopeful for the book’s success.

“I want this to be a book that Illinois fans come back to year after year when football season approaches,” Smith said. “I wanted to document what it is like to be a sports fan. This book may be based on my experiences at Illinois football games, but the feeling is universal.”

Smith will release the book on Sept. 30 with Amazon.

You can find more information here.