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Badgers Game Nightmare

Posted by Ben Erlichman on November 10, 2011

A lot’s been going on with the Joe Paterno/Penn State scandal over the last few days, but I’m not here to write about that as I have no desire to comment on a very messy situation from just about every angle. I’d rather take some time to focus on a football team that’s closer to home: the Wisconsin Badgers.

Okay, so this post isn’t really even about the Badgers themselves, nor is it about their two ridiculous last-minute losses to inferior teams (neither of which I saw, by the way). In fact, for having been born and raised in Wisconsin, I really only have slightly better than neutral feelings towards the Badgers. In general, I really don’t care much about college sports, as I went to a tiny little school called North Central University in Minneapolis. In a school of around 1200 students, there’s not much to get excited about unless you’re on one of the teams, which I never had time for because I was always working or playing video games.

Anyway, I’m mostly indifferent to college sports, and I like the Badgers, but as far as sports go I’m really a Green Bay Packers more than anything else. That said, when my parents invited my wife and me to attend the Badgers game against Purdue this past Saturday, I said “Sure, why not?”

Maybe I should have stayed home instead. I’ve posted a video on my Facebook page that may give you some perspective on why the game was no pleasant for me.

In short, if you can’t see the video, I had the distinct privilege (opportunity? curse?) to sit next to a special needs guy at the game. For those of you who don’t know me very well, let me just start out by saying that I grew up with one of my best friends being special needs, so I am well-acquainted to being sensitive to special needs people. However, this time it really got on my nerves. You will see, though, that this wasn’t just because of the guy in the video, but because of the situation as a whole.

We made it to the game about a few minutes after kickoff. If you’ve been to Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, you know how abysmal it can be trying to get to your seat in the middle of the row after the game is in progress. You also probably know that the space allotted for each seat on the bench is enough for very tiny adults or medium-sized high-school kids, not for tall people with big muscles and even bigger egos. (You people just don’t understand…) As soon as we sat down in our four seats, you guessed it–I ended up next to the guy in the video.

Here’s the thing–everything was working against me that day. This guy was just the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back, so to speak.

He had a big globule of snot dripping from his nose (I kept wondering if it would somehow end up on me or my coat–thankfully it didn’t). He kept yelling “Yeeeeeeeeaaaaahhhh” whenever the Badgers did something good (you can hear this in the video), which wouldn’t have been so bad had he not basically yelled at the top of his lungs (I had to cover my ear to keep from it getting hurt—seriously). He wasn’t healthy–he kept coughing and I’m certain my sore throat today has something to do with him. Those were the things that bothered me the most, but he also made goofy hand gestures and said goofy things that agitated me.

Despite all of that, he had more of a right to be there than I did. Hear me out: I got the impression from the other fans around us that he shows up to most–if not all–of the games. Me? I came once and got stuck sitting next to him. Too bad for me. Yes, it soured my experience (and I’m not planning on going back to any Badgers games any time soon) but I didn’t let it cause me to detract from his experience. For all I know, that could be the one thing that really brings him joy in his life, so I kept my mouth shut. I didn’t rain on his parade, so to speak.

Sometimes I think life is a lot like that. We as Christians often make sacrifices so that others can benefit. I really didn’t enjoy my time at the game, but I know he did, and for me, that’s worth a bit of suffering and temporary partial deafness in one ear.

-Ben

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2 Responses to “Badgers Game Nightmare”

  1. Ben – I’ve told you before that my boss lives in Green Bay. I so enjoyed this post that I shared it with him today. You gave him a BIG smile. ; ) Thanks for writing this for your readers.

    • Ben Erlichman said

      Thanks a bunch, Kristy. Here’s to hoping your Colts are back in action sooner rather than later. :)

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