As I’ve noted in basically everything I’ve written this year, I am a senior. RIP homework.

Anyway, in consultation with The Bucky List, I noticed it was highly unlikely I would have the opportunity to be in the front row of a Badger game after this season. Given that many of my friends chose to abandon their Central Michigan ticket for the ridiculous sums freshmen were willing to offer, flying solo at the front for the home opener seemed like a great fit.

The first few Badger fans trickle into Camp Randall for a football game.

Front of the line!

For this game, arriving two hours prior to kickoff provided ample time to get to the front of section M’s line. I like M because it’s a cool letter and my middle initial. Once inside, I was handed my free übr water (honestly a delicacy) and proceeded to score a seat by the fence next to many sober people who actually get to the game this early.

My first übr water.
Angela Peterson/The Badger Herald

Case in point, the row behind me was empty for at least 30 minutes after the gates opened.

Much empty, such wow.
Angela Peterson/The Badger Herald

For the first bit of the time, the mood was somber aside from the raucous security guards. They were there to have a good time! It was at this time I noticed they keep the lights on the side of Camp Randall on even in broad daylight. It seems scientifically proven to help with the football.

By 1:45 p.m., M began to fill with UW Marching Band alumni ready to cheer on key players in the game. These came more so from Rank 23, which I believe is either trumpets or trombones, than player #23.

Despite these outwardly misguided cheers, the alumni were desperately needed to help the poor freshmen who occupied these lower stands figure out what the heck was going on. We’ll get to that in a bit.

Raucous security guards, signs of life.
Angela Peterson/The Badger Herald

Before a bit of “If You Wanna Be a Badger” and the national anthem, it was finally time to introduce the team on to the field. Now, from afar the puff of smoke — or corn starch? — must look really cool I guess — all I know is I could feel my lungs and nose cringing.

I feel the wheeze coming on.
Angela Peterson/The Badger Herald

For anyone who, uh, saw the score of this game, you know it wasn’t exactly a game. This also meant Bucky was out on his board doing push-ups before anyone knew the wiser.

“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight!” fans confidently exclaimed around me as Bucky stopped doing push-ups after his required seven.

Bucky’s just trying to find his place in the world.
Angela Peterson/The Badger Herald

Despite tepid attendance before kick-off, the stadium filled much quicker than I am used to seeing it. Perhaps, again, these were all of the people who paid $70 for a Central Michigan ticket. Who’s to say?

With more people, though, came more confusion. People around me eagerly awaited the arrival of their friends so they could learn the rules of football.

“Red team good, white team bad,” one fan said behind me. Obviously, they had read my previous reporting. When a call for “JT for Heisman” began to trickle through the section, most of the front row sadly thought these calls were for “Jason.” I really wish we had a contender named Jason in the game, but unfortunately literally no Jason’s are named on the roster.

Jason for Heisman!
Angela Peterson/The Badger Herald

Eventually, the misguided cheers became expected, and I got used to explaining why everyone jingles their keys on “key plays” every drive. Halftime in the front row is odd, as most everyone sits, but my short self cannot remotely see over the railing when seated. Heck, you can barely even see me over the railing in this tweeted video (front row experiences are not recommended for those 5-foot-2 and below).

While I did successfully catch a ball at the end of halftime, which is a momentous achievement for my poor depth perception, standing in the front severely limits your chance of catching a t-shirt from the blaster, which is pretty sad.

I’m pretty certain Jump Around happens just to distract people from the fact they didn’t get a t-shirt.

The front row got a little lonely after this point, with only a select few staying around for the Fifth Quarter due to, you know, complete and utter domination of the other team.

The ratio of confusion to knowledge still didn’t really change as time went on, though, and confused standing substituted for dancing in classics like “Tequila” and “Swingtown.”

At the end of the day, I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about the student body. I learned that being at the front of the student section isn’t all that bad, nor that good honestly. At least I got to sing “Build Me Up, Buttercup” to my eternal crush, Buckingham U. Badger.

UW-Madison/GIPHY