When I was in college no one loved Wisconsin Badger Football more than me. I had no understanding of what occurred on the field, but that was okay, because I never watched the field. I polkaed in the stands, bashed beach balls over my head and took entire quarters to wander a section over and see who I knew.
The great thing about Badger football was that it didn’t matter if we won or lost -- and at that time we lost a fair amount. Games were always a blast. If it was pouring rain, we’d stomp in the puddles on the bleachers and shout, “It just doesn’t matter.”
After, win or lose, fans stuck around for the Badger’s unique 5th Quarter. Fifteen more minutes of dancing, singing, jumping-Badger fun. Then we’d follow the band back to the Humanities building, careening behind them as they played for probably their sixth hour straight. That may have been a bit over the top, even for a normal Badger fan, but my roommate dated a trombone player.
So I knew Badger football. Kinda. I remember for one victory the guys in the dorm seemed more hyped than usual. I think Fifth Quarter that game lasted as long as the first half and the players got to stay out on the field.
When I became mom to three sons, sports became the conversational currency in our home. The best way to get close to my sports-loving, statistic-quoting, fanatic-fan boys was to chat about the Big 10 or the NBA.
So now, thanks to my son who plays college football, I know what a first down is. And why I need to care. Because of the son who graduated from University of Kansas, I can discuss where the Jayhawks will be come March Madness. (In the lead!) And I watch 30 for 30. I actually cried during the episode where some rich KU guy spent more than a million dollars to buy the original rules of basketball penned by the inventor of the sport, James Naismith. (Those 30 for 30 documentaries are manipulative. Be warned.)
A couple years ago I was watching Badger football with the boys. It was a big game and a huge victory. We listened to the post-game talking heads. One of them said, “That’s the first time the Badgers have beat the #1 team in the nation since 1983.” And finally, I got it. That’s what the dorm boys were excited about back then.
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