I’m a Bucky Badger who lives out in Los Angeles. Until Barry Alvarez rode in on Rocinante in 1990 and gave all of us Wisconsin football fans a reason to live for Saturdays, Badger Football was so bad that any Wisconsin emblazoned clothing I wore around the city, I had the words “Be Kind, Be Generous, Show Pity” sown prominently into it. I must admit I did plagiarize that slogan: It is the union motto for the WGA out here as well.
I learned to despise the football programs of both Ohio State and Michigan. Those two teams, made up primarily of walking sides of beef, were proof positive of the existence of Satan’s spawn on Earth. Only in high school did I discover where those two states were located and how close in proximity they were to Wisconsin. This made me even more nervous, since geography was one of my better subjects in school.
Prior to 1990, I personally was leading a life best described as unglued and disquieting. I walked around in a daze and was known for mumbling the names Alan Ameche, Pat O’Dea, and Pat Richter whenever stressed out. I was arrested several times during those years for wearing my Wisconsin parkas and sweatshirts in 100 degree temperatures and pronouncing the word "Sepulveda" incorrectly. People also thought I was a Washington State Huskies fan which really made me hated around UCLA and USC.
The Rose Bowl is a beautiful stadium. I’ve gone there for concerts, 4th of July celebrations, and its fabulous flea markets. The stadium is either 26 or 32 miles from my place depending on which car encrusted freeway I try my luck on. MAPQUEST says it is about a 40 minute drive from where I live. MAPQUEST is afflicted with alcohol poisoning. On an average day, when most traffic patterns originate in Hell, the trek is well over an hour. On Rose Bowl Day, bet on a probe launched to Mars to get there quicker.
I went to the Rose Bowl on January 1, 1994 and some miscreant sided swiped the left side of my car causing several thousand dollars in repair. I went to the Rose Bowl Game on January 1, 1999 and a drunk or drunks used the right side of my car as a public urinal and vomitorium. The pissing rubbed the paint off the car and the ralphing smell took two weeks to disappear.
For the January 1, 2000 game, nothing happened to my car. I did, however, misplace my binoculars and break my glasses tripping down a flight of stairs at the end of the game. I no longer remember whether I was pushed by the mob racing to leave the Stadium or just slipped on some cheesy food. It took me ages to find my vehicle and driving home with eyesight just north of Helen Keller’s proved both my mettle as a foolhardy male and my capacity to cry on command. I will always be thankful for all the DUIs caught on the roads that night, employing the police so fully that they ignored this squint-eyed fool snaking down side streets, back alleys, and through portions of the LA subculture at 12 miles an hour. I got home by sunrise.
I did not go to the 2011 Rose Bowl game since my nerves were still on edge from 2000. I sat and watched it on a 50 inch screen at a friend’s house a mere two miles away and bawled like a puppy. Wisconsin lost that game and we ran out of food in the middle of the third quarter.
I will not be attending this year’s game either. Instead, I will be viewing it on an even larger screen with friends who know that a football game of this magnitude has food served two hours before the kick-off and six hours after the last play has been run. As is customary at such events, I will be wearing all sorts of Wisconsin headgear, sweatshirts (one for each quarter), and socks with the famous “W” emblazoned on them. With each touchdown score I will high five some stranger and puff up my man breasts with pride.
Wisconsin will win this BCS game by a minimum of two touchdowns. If for some Mayan apocalyptic reason the Badgers should lose to the Ducks, I will personally sideswipe my own car while peeing on it as I vomit up the last 24 hours worth of stomach contents. Will I be so clumsy as to step on my own glasses? What? Do you think I have cheese for brains? I’ve grown up since my days at Wisconsin.
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