There are a few things every crazy sports fan of Wisconsin athletics should do before graduating.
Witnessing in person a historic upset, waking up early for College Gameday even when you felt like Frankenstein’s monster from going out Friday night – these are just a few things every Badger fan should strive to accomplish.
But can you say you’ve attended a sporting event at Goodman Diamond?
Yes, one of Madison’s hidden gems lays tucked away on the edge of campus near Picnic Point. If you want to work on your farmer’s tan while spitting seeds and watching the Wisconsin softball team top its opponent, then Goodman Diamond is the place for you.
Worried about transportation? Don’t be. If you feel up to it you can enjoy the nice long walk down beautiful Lakeshore Path. While the journey will test the endurance and strength of your legs, remember that your grandparents used to walk 10 miles to school and back everyday and both ways were uphill. If you choose to take the easy way out, the Route 80 bus will drop you off directly in front of the field.
Like the vibe of the Lakeshore area? The view from Goodman Diamond is one of the best, if not the best, of any of the Badger sporting venues. Looking out past the outfield fences reveals Lake Mendota, as sail boats and rowing crews dot the watery blue waves in a perfect scene. You’re never quite sure what you’ll see either, as just last week I saw a dog pulling some sort of carriage down one of the bike paths.
Maybe you think that softball is boring compared to baseball, and it’s only for girls. Think again, Macho Man.
With a collective team batting average of .307, the second-best mark in the Big Ten and the 27th-best in the nation, chances are you’re going to see some offensive fireworks when you mozy on over to the Badgers home field. Think about that, as a team, the Badgers bat over .300. If you don’t care about hitting for average and just want to see balls fly over the fence like they do in your hometown rec softball league, fear not; the Badgers have six players in their lineup with multiple home runs.
This team is no joke when it comes to bringing runs across the plate. Wisconsin scores on average more than five runs a game, ranking it in the top 30 in the nation. The Badgers head coach Yvette Healy likes to gamble for those runs as well, as the Badgers average 1.71 stolen bases per game, the 19th highest total in the country.
The Badgers have the season storylines to draw you in as well. The Badgers currently sit tied with the Iowa Hawkeyes for fourth place in the conference but easily remain in striking distance of first place in the conference, as first-place Michigan sits ahead with just a single game lead in the conference. With five teams in the Big Ten separated by a single game or less, the Badgers are entering in crunch time with their fate hanging on their next six games.
The Badgers will welcome first-place Michigan to Goodman Diamond on Saturday for a three game series. While I know it will be extremely difficult for any student to consider attending a game of the doubleheader with perhaps one of the final Mifflin’s in history occurring this weekend, the Badgers will host the final game of the series Sunday at noon. After you get sick of listening to the dubstep remixes to Dean of Students Lori Berquam’s “Don’t Go” video, do yourself a favor and go support the ladies in the cardinal and white.
If Wisconsin hope to make its first NCAA tournament since 2005, the Badgers will need to take at least two of their three against the Wolverines. Michigan is a perennial tournament program and Big Ten title contender who has, for a long time, been one of the best in the conference. To be the best you have to beat the best, and the Badgers will have their chance to do exactly that this weekend. There isn’t much room for error either, as the team takes on second place Nebraska on the road just a week later. Whatever the case is, the Badgers season and tournament hopes will be decided this weekend.
It’s been only two years, but Healy already has Wisconsin in the hunt for its first ever Big Ten title. For a team that won just 20 games two years ago, Wisconsin is just a few wins away from its highest season win total ever. With records flying out the window left and right – including an active 13-game winning streak at Goodman Diamond – this may just be the beginning of success for the softball team.
So when it comes game time on Sunday, just go – to Goodman Diamond. It’s a smart decision for even smarter people.
Nick is a senior majoring in English and history. Love the column, hate the column, let him know at firstname.lastname@example.org.