Where did you grow up? Who was your team? What jersey did you get for your seventh birthday when being an athlete was the only job you ever wanted?
Now look in the mirror. Chances are that’s not your team anymore, but your mom still has a picture of you in that jersey grinning ear-to-ear.
Now, you’re a Badger, a proud student of UW-Madison — but you might not have grown up that way. This weekend’s hockey series made that incredibly apparent.
Thanks to reciprocity, a large influx of passionate Minnesotans attend this university. They love their Badgers, but they don’t forget where they came from.
Needless to say, I was pretty surprised this weekend. Some of my fellow students were still supporting Minnesota at the Kohl Center, but it got me thinking.
Hometown bond is pretty hard to break.
I grew up an Oklahoma Sooner fan (Sooner magic, Texas sucks, the whole nine yards). If the cards would’ve fallen into the right places and Oklahoma and Wisconsin met in a bowl game I honestly can’t say who I’d root for. Just the thought of it makes me queasy.
I’d hope no one got hurt. I’d hope the refs would call a good game, but I think I’d be sad no matter which team lost.
This is the exact predicament Minnesotans were put in this past weekend.
On top of that, Gopher hockey is a colossal deal. Especially considering — no offense — the basketball and football teams aren’t that good. Honestly, the Gopher football team is not going to be No. 1 in the country anytime soon.
If you grew up cheering for the Gophers, and you know your parents and friends back home are cheering for the Gophers, it’s incredibly difficult to disregard that and pull for Bucky.
This weekend confirmed that in sports, just like everything else, blood is thicker than water.
Just because you’re spending four years in Madison to get an education doesn’t mean the past 18 years of sports passion goes out the window.
How we are raised affects our very nature as sports fans. No matter the current situation, it is impossible to not root for the team that made us fall in love with sports and captured our imagination of being an athlete.
Thousands of boys and girls in Minnesota right now are out on a frozen pond, playing hockey and dreaming about one day having an “M” on the front of their jersey. They may go on to be Badgers, but they’ll never forget pretending to be a Gopher hockey player.
When I was growing up, while playing football during recess, I always imagined I was any member of the 2000 Oklahoma national championship team. It’s why I love college football as much as I do today. It’s why I’m so passionate when I get to write about and photograph it.
As a Badger fan, I talked all the trash I could to my Minnesota friends this weekend, but I understand the burden felt as a sports fan. The Badger’s sweep has to come as the most bittersweet moment imaginable.
If only they could’ve split, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Do you root for your hometown team over Wisconsin? Let Grey know why you root for who you do and email email@example.com.