My Wisconsin Badgers start playing football in a couple of weeks here. I'm excited; this is Wisconsin. We love us some football. Sunday is the holy day 8 months of the year around here because we go to church... 4-5 months out of the year it's because the Packers play. And no, that's not heresy. God is also a cheesehead.
I know, I know. Everybody thinks their team has the best fan/team relationship, but it's a big deal here.
We have a tradition at Camp Randall; it's called "Jump Around". Rather than explain it, I'll just show you,
I've been a season ticket holder for more than 20 years. You feel the ground shake when we Jump Around. Not just in the stadium. Halfway across town. It literally measures on the richter scale.
But I won't be jumping around in 2020. At least not from my usual spot. None of us will. Yeah, there are a few fans sprinkled in there, but it's not the same. If there's one thing this stupd year has taught sports fans, it's that we are every bit as impostant, just as big a player as the guys with the uniforms on.
I'll watch my Bagders, and I'll root every bit as much. My hot dog won't cost 8 bucks. But as I've already learned watching my Packers... and I'm loving every minute of 4-0, I promise you.... It's not the same. When we score a touchdown, there is no one to Lambeau leap into. It sucks.
But I'm grateful for what we do have. Sports is an escape, and 2020 is most definately a year that needs a bit of escaping from.
And but while we may not be able to partake in Jump Around or any of the other crowd activities that help make college football what it is, we can turn to perhaps the most underrated invention of our time... Youtube. All of those amazing traditions are there waiting. I've gathered some of the best ones; take a bit and look. I found a few I didn't know existed... Did you know West Virginia's fans sing "Take Me Home Country Roads" after games? It's amazing. And if you've never heard the Seminole War Chant Florida State fans do.... you've missed out.
Let's start, since I mentioned it, In Tallahassee with the 'Noles.
If that doesn't get you geeked, nothing will.
And now the also aforementioned "Country Roads" in Morgantown, West Virginia.
If that isn't everything college football should be, I don't know what is.
Singing certain songs is a common theme, but one that never seems to get old. Next stop? Blacksburg, Virginia with the Hokies for some... Metallica!
Grown men dressed up as turkeys. Everything about that is amazing.
Now we head back up north; College Station to visit Penn St. Two amazing traditions at once.... a white out and Sweet Caroline. I have no idea why they sing that song, or why any of the college crowds do. Nor do I care. I just know anytime tens of thousands of people come together to do sometihing this positive... it reminds me of all of the things we still do have that don't suck.
Now south, to Gainsville, to the Swamp and the Gators. I don't know if this has continued to be a thing, or if it was a one time thing. Either way, it's incredible. Just days after Tom Petty died.....
There are many more; I can only encourage you to do a bit of digging on your own. But there are many that aren't just songs.
I won't bother with the commentary on all of them; truth is, most of them don't need commentary.
If you search, you will find so many more; Almost every school that plays football has traditions like this. But if I put them all here, I'm cheating you of that search. It took me for an entire evening.
If you''ve made it this far, I'll ask you to share one more moment with me. Don't worry. Not sure it it qualifies as a tradition, but you do see them here and there....
Football has always been American as hell. My dad always taught me to never mix politics and sports. He's always say "No one at the Packer game gives a [email protected] who you voted for."
Sports is an American sanctuary. He's right. No one goes to Lambeau on Sunday to vote. We go because we love our Packers. And there's a very simple reason for that. Because we're all Americans. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter weather you support Trump or hate him. I don''t know if this moment could happen in 2020. You don't see "let's put all the [email protected] aside and be Americans" moments in 2020. Everything is divided. There's so much hate. If you made it this far.... watched some of those videos... remember what it was like when we went to see our Packers. Or your Bears. (I'm still not including the Viqueens) Or Gators or Tide, or 'Noles or Wolverines or Ducks.
That crowd weren't Seminoles or Gamecocks fans. They were Americans. In that moment... all those people there out of a common love.... not protest, or hate, or fear...
And don't laugh. Is it a bit cheezy? No [email protected] But we watch football because we love when we see magic. Rodgers hail mary against Detroit. Montana to Clark. Short by a yard. Wide right. That cheese... that [email protected] all for one and one for all mentality... that's not just what football is.... that's what America is. At least I hope it still is.