Kit Pit: Shaping a superior student section


As the sun set over a cloudless sky on an ideal August night, Lazier Field transformed into something straight out of a high school movie. Students in the stands stood decked out in orange and blue body paint: their hands became claws when it came time to celebrate or pose for pictures. Even if it may never be known exactly what propelled the football team to win 53-50 in overtime that night, the passion exhibited by the student section is a lead contender. 

“You could see very clearly [that] Friday night, that that was a full student section,” says Athletic Director and Kit Pit sponsor Chris Livatino. 

“The game was really fun and the energy in the student section was great,” says senior attendee Bella Rene. “Everyone was really excited.”

So what was it that made these fans stand out from past ones? Kit Pit. 

Kit Pit is the official student section of Evanston Township High School. While it was known as Paw Patrol last year, its name was changed via a student vote to broaden its appeal. As a matter of fact, the student section used to go by another name, Blue Crew, prior to COVID-19.

“We created Blue Crew back in 2006, and the focus of Blue Crew was to be a student section that went to all the different sports,” says Livatino. 

Towards the end of Blue Crew’s run, numerous problems had emerged within it. For one, it was only ever really able to drive students to come to football and boys basketball games. On top of that, Blue Crew was also becoming known for fostering an environment of exclusion, particularly when it came to race.

“We had this recognition [that] our student area was becoming super segregated. We had all our white kids in here. And then we had all our students of color over here. And it just was really ugly,” says Livatino.

Since packed stands at high school sporting events weren’t exactly possible during much of the pandemic, Blue Crew essentially disappeared after 2020. But last year, class of 2022 seniors Ava Axelrood, Molly Kaplan, Zoe Snider and Maya Wallace approached Livatino about reviving an official student section. 

“Those four girls really wanted to try to start a student section off again, and I was like, ‘yeah, that’s cool, but let’s start fresh. Let’s not call it Blue Crew,’” says Livatino.

Thus, Kit Pit was born.

This year, Kit Pit is being led by seniors Carter Aaron, Heath Grossman, Othman Hariri, Jessica Sehgal and Kyla Wellington. To introduce to the rest of the school how the student section would be different from past years, the Kit Pit Rally was held on Monday, Aug. 22, in Beardsley Gym.

“We wanted the Kit Pit Rally to explain how we want an inclusive student section of all people of all grades, because one it has been very white, and two it has been very senior. We want to change that up and see all types of people,” says Wellington.

Despite these efforts, there was an incident at the first football game in which multiple seniors showed up long past the start, but still proceeded to shove students out of the way so that they could sit where they wanted. This act marked a major setback for Kit Pit and drew sharp rebuke from Livatino.

“Inappropriate behavior like that makes people not want to be a part of a section. It’s not like a country club. It’s not an exclusive thing. We’re here to cheer on our team. You want the seat in the front row? Get there on time,” states Livatino.

Nevertheless, Kit Pit’s successes have far outweighed its shortcomings, even in the face of this episode. This can be most notably seen in the sales of the Kit Pit Football Season Pass–as of Aug. 30, a whopping 556 of them had been sold at a cost of four dollars each. 

Attendance, however, has always been high at football games. The real challenge lies in encouraging students to attend games and meets for sports other than football. This is yet another cause to which Kit Pit is dedicated.

“I’d like Kit Pit to feature every sport at least one time during their season and give them the same amount of energy and love that we show for football and basketball,” says Livatino.

So, whether it’s ensuring that all grade levels and races feel welcomed at ETHS sporting events, driving up turnout for sports that traditionally don’t have packed student sections or just plain old making sure that every fan is having fun, one things is for sure:

Kit Pit’s got you covered.

For all the latest updates on Kit Pit, they can be found on instagram @ethskitpit.