So Geekrant noticed that the last blog actually got itself read by some people. I mean I'm not a stalker, Google just let's me know when it's been read. Although half of the views are probably just me checking to make sure it posted okay, so for the ten readers who weren't just myself indulging my vanity, thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed it.
As I have previously noted within the pages of this web based tome, things are different here. The food brands are different (they don't have Robinson's squash! How do they conduct a major tennis tournament without barley water?), the bathrooms are different ("it flushed on on one yank!") and they drive on the wrong side of the road. But the one thing I didn't expect is how different sports are.
I should clarify that last statement, I knew sports would be different. I always loved American Football, a fact that my brother has always struggled to accept and many a disagreement in Geekrant's parental household has raged over the issue. My father dislikes the fact that the Americans call Ice Hockey, "Hockey", because obviously Ice Hockey developed from field hockey and they should know their place. Well, Dad, Hockey players are bigger than me, so you can inform them of their error when you come over to visit.
So I knew sports would be different but what surprises me is how the support for sports teams is different.
One of the consistent complaints I heard growing up from the greybeards in my hometown, is how nobody supports their local football club anymore. Now granted, they were talking about Scunthorpe United, whose greatest claim to fame is Kevin Keegan once played for them.(for those Americans reading this, Kevin Keegan is a english football player known as much for his 70s Bay City Roller/David Cassidy/Donnie Osmond wannabe perm haircut/disaster as for his silky skills on the ball.) Still they were right, young people nowadays are just as likely to run away from the mediocrity of their home town clubs as they are to leave home for the big city lights of London.
Here however, sports clubs take on so much more than that. They become part of a regional identity, where you're from, or where you went to college or even where you went to high school. As it probably was for english football fans generations ago.
Here in Madison, one symbol represents the city in nearly every arena, sports pun intended, of life. That symbol is The Badger. Not just any badger though, a fierce, bad tempered looking badger in a red and white striped turtleneck. This is Buckingham U. Badger. This is Bucky.
He's everywhere, his picture is on everything, his visage stares down from billboards, flags, shop windows. An image that defines Madison, used to sell everything from A to Z. There's Badger buses, Badger care, (subsidised healthcare) Badger storage units, Badget coupon books. All this for the mascot of the University of Wisconsin, Madison's sports teams.
And if it's not the Badger. It's the white "W" on the red background flag of the university adorning half the buildings in town. UW 's stadium seats 80,321. That's an 80,321 seater stadium for university sports. That puts it easily in the top fifty sports stadiums in the world by size and it's only the fifth largest stadium in its own conference.
Madison is Bucky. Bucky is Madison and if it's not the red and white of Wisconsin that people revere, it's the green and gold of the Packers.
People paint their houses green and gold, wear foam cheeses on their heads and tailgate in subzero conditions. Macdonalds even put the fixture list on drinks cups sold in the state of Wisconsin. To live in Wisconsin, seems to mean to mean being a cheesehead and following the Packers. This is regional pride at its best.
And while it might seem foolish to support a badger, at least he's doing better than Scunny Bunny. (My hometown mascot).
Till Next Time.