The student section atmosphere at Wisconsin simply has to be experienced to be understood.I had witnessed the student section here once before from the confines of the “grownup” sections.But this time around I demanded that Mindy find us seats amidst the chaos of 20,000 Sconnie’ undergrads to give me a firsthand glimpse into her four years of undergraduate splendor.
Put simply, the Badger student section has all the choreography of a Chinese opening ceremony minus the impending threat of capital punishment or political imprisonment.Yet unlike the two other premier student sections I have attended (Texas A&M, Notre Dame), students are not formally “taught” the cheers at Wisconsin.Amazingly, this vast sea of red clad undergrads performs all of these chants completely unrehearsed.It may very well be the most precisely executed, truly “normative” behavior I have witnessed.
As far as Wisconsin student traditions go, “Jump Around” has reached almost mythical status.In short, between the 3rd and 4th quarters, House of Pain’s “Jump Around” is piped in over the loudspeaker. Instantly, 20,000 anxious students are transformed into a sea of bodies rhythmically bobbing up and down on thin rails of aluminum benches.For two minutes, the entire structure discernibly trembles, swaying under the frenzied mob for what many pundits consider the most chaotic two minutes in college football.
But “Jump Around” is only one such highlight to be found among the fans in Camp Randall Stadium.In fact there are a multitude of Wisconsin in-game cheers and traditions, each with their own self generated gesturing and dancing.These include several variations of the wave, including the regular wave, slow wave, fast wave, and the infamous “split wave”.Other full stadium sing alongs included: “If you want to be a Badger…”, “Swingtown”, “Buttercup”,
Of course, there are also a handful of cheers that would make a truck driver blush, and since this is a family blog I won’t be repeating them.But suffice to say if you bring the kiddos to CampRandall, be sure to train them on the “earmuffs” command.
Some of the classier numbers were entitled:
“Eat Sh@#$, Fu#@# You”,
“You Fu@#$ed Up”
“We’re gonna kick the Sh#@ out of you…”
“All 300 Died” (in reference to the opponent of the day, the Spartans of Michigan State)
Here is a delightful example of the above (NSFW).
Finally, as if four quarters of cheering and singing weren’t enough, Wisconsin is known for a unique tradition known as the “5th Quarter”.After the game ends, virtually none of the students head for the exits.Instead, they stick around as the Wisconsin Marching Band generously stays for an additional fifteen minutes to play more brassy pop hits for the animated students.All of these songs are familiar hits, and all of them include their own sing along versions and ‘choreographed” dance moves by the students.It’s one helluva time that makes you almost forget a football game just happened.
Finally, here is a good compilation video that gives a good overview of most of the Wisconsin student section experience, including the 5th Quarter.
The spirit of the Wisconsin student section is truly remarkable, and given the chance it would be worth going out of your way to experience it…..for all five quarters.
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