The next couple of weeks are going to be an emotional rollercoaster for me.
When I graduate a week from Sunday, I will be leaving behind the relationships I have forged, the coworkers I have spent countless hours with and the life I have built as a student at the University of Wisconsin.
As I graduate, I will no longer be able to have the relationship with Badger athletics I have built over the last four years.
Being a sports writer in a football/basketball/hockey town with a drinking problem (not the other way around) has caused me to go through more emotions in a mere number of minutes than the freshmen on College Life. One minute you are in love with the Badgers and the next thing you know you are drunkenly crying in front of your friend’s house wondering why you have put so much time and effort into this relationship.
For me, being a Badger fan was like having an arranged marriage. Both of my parents are Wisconsin alumni, as are both of my grandfathers and one of my grandmothers. My grandpa was a season ticket holder at Camp Randall from the mid-1970s until 2005 when, ironically, I began my freshman year. There is even rumor that my grandma used to sing me “If You Want to be a Badger” before I went to bed. Needless to say, wearing the cardinal and white was my destiny.
The relationship I have with Badger sports goes back farther than I can remember. Like a junior high relationship, it was awkward at first. Sure, people knew I had a thing for the Badgers by the sweatshirts I wore and my annual trips to Camp Randall to see a game, but we really never showed any real affection. I never got in any arguments, never insulted other people’s allegiances and never full-out admitted I was a Badger fan. Like any good junior high relationship, we were more than friends but less than boyfriend and girlfriend.
As I got older, though, our relationship bloomed into a full-on, making out in the hallway, going to prom love fest. In high school, I felt like I was the only Badger fan in school. Since the Illinois basketball team finally reached its potential when Bruce Weber took over the job after Bill Self left for Kansas, it seemed as if my whole high school jumped on the Fighting Illini bandwagon, leaving me to stick up for Wisconsin like when your girl has a bad hair day. It was rough, you got a lot of flack from your friends, but in the end, you knew you were making the right decision.
Then came college and things started getting really serious. After becoming a sports writer, it seemed like I was spending all of my time with Badger athletics. Sometimes, my friends were wondering where I went and the only response I could give was I was covering something. I had to ignore friends that came into town, spend hours away from home and spent a good deal of money on my obsession with Badger sports. Luckily, however, my friends still respected me despite having to put our friendship by the wayside.
Now that I am graduating I have come to a crossroads with my lifelong relationship with the Badgers. I will once again have to stick up for my love for the Badgers even if I am amid fans of other Big Ten rivals. But, never again will I truly be able to devote my life and time to the Badgers. I will miss walking out on those warm fall mornings, hearing the band in the distance, as I approach Camp Randall on game days. As I sit in my cubicle, I will long to sprint from my apartment to the Kohl Center clad in red paint, without a shirt in the middle of winter. And, never again, will I be able to develop the relationships I have had with players, coaches and members of the of the athletic community I have been lucky enough to get to know for the last for years.
Like sex, graduation changes everything. Although I will never be able to cheer for Wisconsin like I once used to, I will always love the Badgers by the bright shining light of the light of the moon.
Ben is a senior majoring in journalism and history. He wants to thank you for reading No BS’n for the last year. If you have any comments or will be missing college life as much as he will, send him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org