The University of Wisconsin has one of the most dominant athletic programs in America. They have top-ranked teams scattered throughout their 23 men’s and women’s varsity programs. Wisconsin ranks 18th in the nation with 30 national championships, establishing itself as one of the most dominant programs in the NCAA.

While all 23 sports have unique fan traditions, there are some that transcend Wisconsin. Here is a brief ranking of the top five sports traditions that define our great school.

5: “We Want More”

Like many Wisconsin hockey chants and traditions, this one’s origins lie with 1969 graduate Phil Dzick. Dzick is a Wisconsin sports superfan who has made a name for himself as a staple at the Kohl Center and LaBahn arena. Dzick’s best-known chant has become the “We want more!” yell he leads after Badger goals. It is simple, yet special. After a goal, Dzick stands up, counts the number of goals and then yells “We want more!” For example, pretend Wisconsin just scored its third goal of the game. The chant would go like this — “One … two … three … WE WANT MORE!” This chant gets repeated a handful of times, and then it’s back to focusing on the action on the ice.

In an interview with UW’s On Wisconsin Magazine, Dzick said he started the chant in 1981 during a playoff game at Clarkson. Wisconsin won this playoff game, and Dzick has been leading this cheer at men’s and women’s hockey games in the 40 years since.

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4: Fan Salute

While every sport does it differently, thanking the fans is a very cool part of most Wisconsin sporting events. In basketball, football and soccer the fan salute tends to be simple, usually just high fives on the way off or a brief clap from the players. But this salute is a big part of a men’s or women’s hockey game or a volleyball match. In hockey, win or lose, the team surrounds the “Motion W” at the center ice and raises their sticks to the crowd. This is quickly followed by the three stars of the game. While it is not a Wisconsin-centric tradition, it provides an opportunity for three players to come out and salute the crowd individually. These are two really cool ways for the players, both individually and as a team, to thank the fans that came out.

While volleyball does it a little differently, the general premise is the same. After each game, the entire team runs over in front of the student section, gives some waves and high fives and then they put their arms around each other to sing “Varsity.” It is always a cool thing to see as the players face their peers before running back to the locker room. 

From a fan’s perspective, players showing their appreciation after a game is always a fun sight to see.

3. “Build Me Up, Buttercup”

The 1968 song by The Foundations has found its home at Wisconsin football games. While it is unclear when it was first played, its origins are said to be around the 1998 season. That year, Wisconsin had one of its most successful seasons in history, finishing 11-1 with a win in the Rose Bowl.

In the 23 years since, “Buttercup” has grown in popularity and is now played at every football home game. Typically, the PA system will play the first verse of the song over the loudspeaker during a commercial break and then cut the audio as the teams return to the field. But, when the audio is cut, this tradition shines. The “Camp Randall Choir” takes over, and 80,000 people sing the second verse in unison. It truly is one of the most special fan traditions in college football. And these 90 seconds are, in a lot of people’s minds, the best part of a Wisconsin football game day.

2. “Jump Around”

The single greatest tradition in college sports calls Camp Randall Stadium its home. At the end of the third quarter, the 80,321 people inside Camp Randall Stadium and the 400,000 living alumni of the University of Wisconsin, all stand, rise to their feet and collectively lose their minds.

In every home game since the 1998 clash against Purdue, this song has been played. While the tradition has not existed as long as some other of college football’s finest, nothing results in the sheer awe “Jump Around” does. The stadium goes from still to chaos in a matter of seconds. It is a sight to see and something all sports fans need to be a part of once.

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1. “Varsity”

Wisconsin has been singing its time-honored “Varsity” since 1898. It is a simple, interactive song that brings an entire stadium or arena to their feet. “Varsity” is the official alma mater song of UW, and it is played at all sporting events and major gatherings on campus.

“Varsity” is a bonding experience as you put your arms around your fellow classmates and sway with the song. It is simple and all students, alumni and fans know the words. “Varsity” is my personal favorite part of any Wisconsin event. It gives me chills every time and makes me so proud to be a Wisconsin Badger.