When living below someone else in an apartment building, one gets used to hearing their upstairs neighbors. Within a month, one can tell when they leave for the day, when they get back and if they like to go out on weekends. Depending on how thin the walls are or how inconsiderate a neighbor is, one can also learn what movies and bands they like or that their girlfriend is probably faking it.
For Madison resident Trevor Judd, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, these age-old guidelines no longer apply.
“I was hearing thumping noises constantly. Whether it was three in the morning or 11 at night, it felt like I couldn’t get an hour of peace,” said Judd.
The student went on to recall leaving a note on his upstairs neighbor’s door after a particularly bad couple of days. However, he was not met with anger or a half-hearted apology — rather, he received an explanation from Jake Chase — 32-year-old accountant by day, hopscotcher by night.
“I got into it around elementary school, really,” began Chase. “Over time, I noticed that my peers were moving onto stuff like gymnastics or football — not me.”
“By the time I was in college, I was able to hop on a professional level. I made a lot of money on the side betting people that I could slam five beers and still beat them at hopscotch. It was never even close,” smirked Chase.
Now Chase, who works from home, competes in Wisconsin’s biggest hopscotch league. Boasting 40 members, the fight to become one of the elites is cutthroat. Chase is in the top five.
Judd was asked how his perspective changed after learning about his neighbor’s athletic commitment.
“It didn’t, really,” said Judd. “He gave me his practice schedule, which is cool I guess, but knowing he’s going to be jumping up and down at 3 a.m. doesn’t stop me from waking up at 3 a.m.”
“I kinda wish he would just have one three hour practice when he’s done working instead of these sporadic 30 minute blocks throughout the day,” Judd continued.
Judd has no plans to complain to Chase a second time, as he “would rather not be around him ever again.”
As for Chase, his pro days are dwindling faster than he realizes, as a game typically enjoyed by little girls will not remain welcoming to a guy nearing middle age with a balding head of hair.