Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gameday Etiquette

I suppose there isn’t a much better way to introduce myself to the blogosphere than this: I graduated from the University of Wisconsin in May of 2010.

So yes, I guess that was the freshman and sophomore me (and the upperclassman me and the whenever-the-situation-calls-for-it me) that football coach Bret Bielema and athletic director Barry Alvarez were talking to when they sent this email a week and a half ago. You see, the Camp Randall students have this thing – I won’t get into whether or not it’s a “tradition” – where one section yells “eat shit” and another section returns “fuck you.” The exchange goes back and forth a couple of times until it stops.
I don’t know how it started, and I never bothered to find out for certain during my time at Madison. Some commentators have claimed that it dates back to the 80’s when the team was awful and there was precious little else to do at games besides swear and eat brownies. I was always told, however, that it grew out of the Miller Lite slogan. Over the years, “great taste, less filling” morphed into a more exciting exchange.

Regardless of its origins, it’s there. And with the Badgers success on the football field, “there” has grown to include an increasing number of national broadcasts and visiting fans, so after the Nebraska game, Bielema and Alvarez asked the students to keep the profanity down.

ESFU certainly isn’t the best way for Wisconsin students to represent themselves to the world, but then again having a beer and dropping a couple f-bombs on a Saturday afternoon is pretty harmless in the grand scheme of things – especially in the grand scheme of things that happen at football games. If parents can find a way to explain all of the above to their seven-year-olds, well, then 12,000 drunk college students cheering shouldn’t be too difficult.

The students are adults and can make their own decisions about the proper way to conduct themselves at a football games. They don’t need me or anyone else telling them to come up with something more creative – after all, we didn’t. Come to think of it, if Bielema really is serious about classing up Camp Randall, I have a couple ideas of where he can start.

Of course, this isn’t the first time the student section has been told to tone it down. Administrators have previously eschewed logical options like striking up the band during the offending cheers or piping in music over the PA system, opting instead for more confrontational tactics. Granted, that is not always possible if there is a play in progress, but since 2007 students have been threatened with loss of scholarships (sounds crazy, but…) and deprived of our beloved “Swingtown.” In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the chant lives on.

To their credit, Bret and Barry’s most recent attempt to clean up the cheers has been refreshingly measured. Even if the prospect of a few free bowl game tickets spread among five figures of Badger faithful makes for a rather small carrot, at least it comes with a please and thank you – Wisconsin students are a polite bunch, after all. You know, maybe it would be best if we could just go back to “great taste, less filling.” Whoops, I forgot we’re not allowed to talk about beer at football games anymore either.


  1. maybe free hot dogs...I prefer reducing or freezing ticket prices, which seem to have skyrocketed over the years. Or releasing extra student tickets for the following game if ESFU is not exercised

  2. I think most students would rather continue ESFU than get to read about a hand full of douches every year who get a chance to suckle on Barry Alvarez and the administration's collective teet.

  3. Or maybe they could promise to schedule a non-conference game not involving a thrashing of St. Mary's School for the Blind, Deaf, and Dumb.

  4. Camp Randall is like nowhere else I have seen a college game. Maybe if we get rid of ESFU it becomes less hostile and we lose that game to #1 Ohio St. last year

  5. They made us stop saying 'fuck em up, fuck em up, go CU' at Cornell hockey games. If you were caught cursing they confiscated your season tickets, and unfortunately it succeeded. Granted, it's much easier to keep tabs on students at a 4000ish seat hockey rink compared to a 12,000ish student section.

  6. Oh, and this blog seems a bit Wisconsin-centric so far.

  7. agreed, where is the commitment to the name? Carter and I can keep you up to date with the fresh goings on in neighborhood.

  8. also seeing as between your past and present educators and my past, present, and future devotions we cover three of the big ten schools i vote this turns real college basketball real soon

  9. My first reaction to Nebraska fans? Holy horny cowboys who rolled into Madison by the drunken busload. I agree that the Badgers have a reputation to uphold: but the subtext of "top ten school" is "top ten party school."


Keep it civil.