Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, September 26, 2023

It's in the game

\I am not a role model. I am not paid to be a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court."" 




Charles Barkley's quote from a 1993 Nike commercial still rings true today. As a sportswriter these past few years, I have come across things that make it easy to agree with that statement. 




It's sad to hear pro athletes admit to not playing hard or see others reject multi-million dollar contracts for a better signing bonus'not to mention the criminal trials and substance abuse. Collegiate sports have their own problems as well. Sometimes it is hard to watch all this and still be a fan. 




Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Daily Cardinal delivered to your inbox

The solution is simple. Just love the game. 




All is not lost. As long as sports fans remember the little pleasures that only sports can bring them.  




Like waiting for that first big hit at a hockey game. 




Or trotting onto the infield in a scoreless baseball game, pounding your glove. And writing in the dirt with your spikes, with the sun heating your neck, just waiting for the next batter. 




Despite its problems, baseball has the suicide squeeze. That's good stuff. 




So is laughing at Bill Walton and Dick Vitale doing color commentary on television. Honestly, Vitale is starting to scare me. Shouldn't he be the spokesman for Red Bull by now? And Walton ... well, there is really no explanation for his antics. But where was I ... ah, yes. 




Nothing in this world can make homework, and life in general, seem more irrelevant than March Madness. You can rationalize anything away when it's tournament time. My apartment could be on fire and I would just sit on my couch, waiting for scores of seven other games to pop up on the screen. 




Nothing is more nerve-wracking than filling out an NCAA tournament bracket. Nothing. 




Only in sports can you feel the thrill of bursting out of the locker room before a big high school basketball game. The adrenaline slams you in the face. The crowd is hyped. The warm-up music plays. 




The sound of silence when you topple an opponent on its home court is an even better feeling. The jocks start to weep after the loss, parents file out dejected, but you feel great. 




As a fan, nothing is as exciting and absurd all at once as rushing the court after a college basketball upset. Why do we do it? Are we so intoxicated by the thrill of victory that we forget there is absolutely nothing to do once on the floor? 




I experienced this phenomenon prior to Wisconsin's Final Four run. A crucial win over Indiana basically vaulted the Badgers into the tournament. The floor was packed, with both players and fans jumping around euphorically. Reunited with my friends after a few minutes of chaos, we were clueless. 




""Hey, we rushed the floor."" 




""Yeah. I never thought we'd get to do this."" 




""What do we do now?"" 




We went home. 




Rushing the court is one of my most vivid memories as a fan, along with the sight of 70,000 people holding up Ron Dayne towels at Camp Randall Stadium and thousands storming State Street when UW basketball finally reached the Final Four. 




A few more parting snapshots: 




Breese Terrace before football games; Wisconsin's 1998 Homecoming win against Purdue at night, the loudest I have ever heard Camp Randall. 




Two words: Rooo-onnnn Daaaaay-ne. 




One word twice: Duany Duany. 




Chanting ""sieve"" with thousands of rowdy Badger hockey fans; Andrea Kirchberg dominating Goodman Diamond; ""Jump Around."" 




Road tripping to Indianapolis for the 2000 Final Four; actually caring about volleyball last year, when the women's team barely missed a national title; UW taking home back-to-back Rose Bowl trophies. 




I must have been the good luck guy. But now it's time to go.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Daily Cardinal has been covering the University and Madison community since 1892. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 The Daily Cardinal