Camp Randall South: Dallas area alumni enjoying recent string of Badger games in Texas

Even after an impressive win by Georgia last week, no one in the SEC can compete with Alabama. 

Image By: Kaitlyn Veto

Don’t let Marie Polzer’s southern drawl fool you. She is a Badger through and through.

Polzer grew up in Arlington, Texas and resides there now. But despite her Texas roots, Polzer was born to be a Badger.

Her parents met in Madison and years later Marie would follow in their footsteps, spending her college days in Madison, just like the three generations of Polzers before her.

Monday, the Wisconsin football team returns to her home state of Texas for the third straight year. And for recent Texas-based Wisconsin alumni, UW’s return allows for them to exhibit their Badger fandom.

Polzer, who graduated from the business school in 2007, is in search of last-minute tickets, but even if she doesn’t go to the Cotton Bowl, she will be reveling in the atmosphere in Arlington.

“Living here in the south, I don’t get to see them much,” Polzer said. “It’s just so fun that they come down here. It makes it feel like home, getting to see them play in my backyard.”

Even though Badger alumni living in the Dallas area reside about 1,000 miles from Madison, they’ve been lucky the past few years with Badger teams traveling to the Lone Star state on multiple occasions. The football team played in Houston against LSU in 2014 and then in Dallas against Alabama the following year. The Badger basketball team played in the 2014 Final Four in the very same building the football team will play in tomorrow.

This has been a blessing for alumni like Polzer, who only get to see the Badgers play once in awhile, despite still following the team religiously. Polzer for instance, said she still regularly reads the Wisconsin State Journal to keep tabs on her alma mater.

“It’s been amazing because I have to fly up there or fly to a bowl game to see them,” Polzer said. “And to have people in Badger gear walking around in the streets, it’s just been such an amazing experience.”

Jaclyn Schmidt, a 2006 graduate, feels the same way about the Badgers coming to Texas. Her story varies quite a bit from the Arlington-raised Polzer though. She grew up in Madison and spent her whole life there before moving to Texas three years ago. Fortunately for her, the Badgers recent string of Texas trips have provided ample opportunities to see her alma mater in person.

Schmidt was at the the Final Four and witnessed the Badgers fall to Alabama in Jerry World in 2015.

Schmidt and her husband — whom she’s converted into a Wisconsin fan — will be there Monday afternoon to see Wisconsin take on Western Michigan.

“The Badger fans travel really well,” Schmidt said. “You kind of feel like you’re at home. You’re not in Camp Randall, but it’s still a great atmosphere."

For both Schmidt and Polzer, it’s about more than just seeing the Cardinal and White play on an annual basis. They understand the bond UW alumni have, a connection that displays itself in random places like the grocery store.

“Badger alumni just love talking about Madison. I talked to a random guy for 30 minutes in the grocery store and all we talked about was Madison,” Polzer said. “There’s this draw that people [who went to UW] have and it’s amazing. Other school’s alumni don’t have the pride and don’t have the passion that Wisconsin alumni do.”

Schmidt said she has met several friends through the Wisconsin Alumni Association, which has a chapter in North Texas and organizes watch parties for Badger games.

But they won’t need a watch party Monday. Wisconsin will be in their neck of the woods, and both Schmidt and Polzer will be soaking it all in with other alumni, sharing stories of time spent in Madison.

And years from now, both Schmidt and Polzer hope they can convince their potential future children to carry on the timeless Wisconsin tradition.

For Polzer, this process has already started.

“My brother has three kids. I’ve already told one of them, I will start a fund for him right now; he will be going to Wisconsin,” Polzer said. “We’ve gotta keep the Polzer tradition. I won’t have that last name [if I get married] but we have to keep that Polzer line.”

Schmidt will one day follow suit.

But she isn’t too worried about selling the school that is a thousand miles away from the Lone Star state.

“With the Badgers being so good, I think it will be a pretty easy thing to do,” Schmidt said.

“I already got my husband converted so it shouldn’t be too hard for my children.”

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