Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Madison to Ft. Worth; Recap of Big Ballgame

Madison to Ft. Worth was not as much fun. Hung around to see my niece and nephew off on their days, and still hadn't showered, and didn't get off until almost 9:00. Decided to drive through southwestern Wisconsin and eastern Iowa on 151, which is a trip I normally love. Within a mile of my brother's house, I took a wrong turn and got lost. Bad omen.

The trip included a 50 mile detour around construction and through several 25 mph towns; three long slow drives through construction; and an extended 5 mph creep for a traffic accident. I had pinched a muscle under my right shoulder blade, and could not get it comfortable. It hurt more and more as the day went on. By the end, the pain was killing me, yet I was still getting drowsy. I was singing, chewing gum, and sucking mints to stay awake, and finally got home at 3:00 AM. Thank God it ended. Ann Althouse, if you're reading this, forget the Corvette and buy a Lear Jet.

Did enjoy listening to Wisconsin Public Radio. The hosts and the callers were in a lot of post-election pain, and I don't blame them. If Bush had lost, I would be devastated and distraught. That said, both the hosts and the callers were, ummm... Uninformed? Out of touch with reality? Its hard to find the right description. There's what is, and there's the claptrap they were saying on the radio. The two are mutually exclusive.

Heard a spunky PBS radio babe reporting, I suspect, from a Baghdad hotel:

American forces will be conducting night operations in Fallujah, using night-vision goggles, which most of them have.

THEY'VE ALL GOT NIGHT VISION GOGGLES, YOU AIR-HEAD! And a bunch of heat imaging equipment the enemy can only dream of.

"Cuba City, Wisconsin. Home of Presidents."
25 MPHering through Cuba City, I spot a teacher leading a line of students. I pull over and jump out, keeping the car between me and her, so she won't be scared by the crazy man:

Me: Why is this the Home of Presidents?
She: That's just our theme.
Me: Have any Presidents ever lived here?
She: Well, President Bush came through last week!

Cuba City has red, white, and blue shields lining their main street, each listing the name and term of a President. In a choice between this actionable theme, and some forgettable theme, like: "Friendship, Service, Community," I'd choose "Home of Presidents." I'm down with Cuba City.

Welcome to Hazel Green, Wisconsin.

Iowa: Fields of Opportunity. Welcome! From the People of Iowa!
Warms the heart.

Tourist break: National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa. Worth $5 and a 45 minute diversion.

Kansas City has Riverboat Gambling! Wish it wasn't so late in the day. Downtown Kansas City is BIG! Didn't realize it was this big.

Emporia, Kansas has a National Teacher's Hall of Fame. Perfect. I've spent time in Emporia. They are proud to be an oasis of literacy surrounded by miles and miles of corn.

If you're me, driving through Oklahoma in the dark of night, you'll get all choked up over this song: "Have You Forgotten," by Darryl Worley. Sample lyrics:

Have you forgotten how it felt that day?
Too see your homeland under fire and her people blown away
Have you forgotten when those towers fell?
We had neighbors still inside going through a living hell
Have you forgotten all the people killed?
Yeah some went down like heroes in that Pennsylvania field
Have you forgotten about our Pentagon?
Yeah all those loved ones that we lost
And those left to carry on
Don't you tell me not to worry about Bin Laden
Have you forgotten?

The Southpark hipsters made fun of Darryl Worley for pandering with this song. I heard Darryl Worley interviewed just before I heard his song. I think he's a sincere guy, trying to inject a dose of emotion into a national conversation in which one side is desperately trying to tamp down all emotion. I don't think he is pandering. My neighbors were vaporized on 9/11, and its a valuable thing for us to look that reality in the face.

You want pandering? I submit Lee Greenwood's "I'm Proud to Be An American."

As promised:

Big Ballgame at Camp Randall!

The Wisconsin Badgers kicked butt: 38-14! Wiconsin is strong, and fundamentally solid. I would not want to play them.

This was a game for men. Everyone on the field was big, strong, and perfectly willing to sock you in the mouth. The Big 12 and SEC have more skinny speed guys. There were no skinny speed guys on the field for this game. Real men only.

We watched the end of the second quarter from the field level walkway behind the Minnesota bench. The noise! The noise! Its louder and more jarring at field level. Its the Roman Coliseum, the crowd wants blood, and these young men are giving it. Bruising, adrenaline, pain, glory-- see it all from behind the Minnesota bench!

The Wisconsin Band has a signature bow-legged knee-raising jump-step. They do a different routine every week. The crowd adores them.

The stands at Camp Randall angle sharply upward-- the way all stadium stands ought to. The crowd is well-focused and well-attuned to the unfolding game. They create walls of noise. Its a big home team advantage. The suites atop the East stands help to entrap and enhance the noise.

The East stands have wonderful quirky stairs and walkways and tunnels, and cramped ancient bathrooms. They have doors(!) swung open between the stands and the tunnels. The West stands' architecture is more generic. The West stands honor Wisconsin's Heisman Trophy winners: Ameche #35; Dayne #33.

Wisconsin does two things every school in America ought to do:

1) On three consecutive breaks near the beginning of the fourth quarter, they play three energetic favorites of the student section. Eight thousand students leap to their feet and begin waving their arms in the air, singing, and jumping up and down energetically.

When the students first leapt into action, I was standing near the student section at field level, and I involuntarily exclaimed "Oh my God!" Eight to ten thousand dancing, arm-waving students is an awesome sight. The students love it, the crowd loves to watch the student section dance, and it gets everybody fired up for the fourth quarter.

The first song is "Shout,"(lyrics below) by Otis Day and The Knights, made famous in the movie "Animal House." The second song was a rap type of song called "Jump and Shout." The students especially loved this song. Ann Althouse blogs that the third song was "Twist and Shout," which was once recorded by the Beatles, and was lip-synched by Ferris Bueller in the St. Patrick's Day parade.

2) The Fifth Quarter: Put 15 minutes on the clock. Bring the band onto the field to sing and dance. Bring cheerleaders and pom pom girls out to dance with the band. Bring some football players out of the locker room to dance with the band and the cheerleaders. Allow the band to play and dance with increasing independence and individualism as the Fifth Quarter goes on. By the end, let the field be like a big Mardi Gras.

The Fifth Quarter was completely charming and fun. Every school should do this. The band gets some glory. Everybody gets to celebrate and party. Thirty or Forty thousand fans(or more) stayed to watch this.

No Wisconsin game could've been more perfect: score, weather, fan happiness, everything. It was wonderful.


Written by The Isley Brothers
Made famous with version by Otis Day & The Knights in the movie "Animal House" from 1978

Weeellllllllll,You know you make me wanna shout
Kick my heels up & shout
Throw my hands up & shout
Throw my hands back & shout
Come on now, shout
Don't forget to say you will
Don't forget to say yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Say you will

Say it right now, baby (say you will)
Come on, come on (say you will)
Say it, eeeee (say you will)
Come on now (say)
Say that you love me (say)
Say that you need me (say)
Say that you want me (say)
You wanna please me (say)
Come on now (say)
Come on now (say)
Come on now (say)
I still remember

When you used to be 9 years old
Yeah yeah I was in love with you
From the bottom of my soul
Yeah now that you've grown up
& old enough to know yeah yaeeah
You wanna leave me
You wanna let me go
I want you to know

I said I want you to know right now
You've been good to me, baby
Better than I've been to myself
Hey hey,
& if you ever leave me
I don't want nobody else
Hey hey, I said I want you to know
Yeah, I said I want you to know right now
You know you make me wanna shout

Yeah yeah (shout), yeah yeah yeah (shout)
All right (shout), all right (shout)
Come on now (shout), come on now (shout)
A little bit softer now

A little bit softer now
A little bit softer now
A little bit softer now
A little bit louder now

A little bit louder now
A little bit louder now
A little bit louder now
Heeeeyyyyy (Heeeeyyyyy)

Heeeeyyyyy (Heeeeyyyyy)
Heeeeyyyyy (Heeeeyyyyy)
Heeeeyyyyy (Heeeeyyyyy)
I'm gonna shout, now

I'm gonna shout, now
I'm gonna shout, now
I'm gonna shout shout shout
I'm gonna shout shout shout
I'm gonna shout shout shout
You know I love

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Glad your home. Your much more interesting to read than the Chronicle.