It's where young men train and sweat for the battle ahead. No, I'm not referring to the training camp soldiers used to train for the Union Army during the Civil War.
I'm talking about what Wisconsin Badger football fans call Camp Randall Stadium, which was built right on top of the former base.
Heading into "Mad-Town," you can't help but notice the sea of red as well as the aroma of brats and burgers. Tailgaters are in the numerous parking lots around the area or just outside the union, which is where you'll hear the band playing before game time.
While heading toward the stadium, you'll see the ultimate pregame experience for any college student: drinking beer on the front lawns of frat houses while playing beer pong and bean bag toss. And you may even see someone drink from a three-or-four-story beer bong...and look very sick right after.
There is also sometimes a band or two to provide musical entertainment.
If you walk into the stadium from the east side, you can look across toward the front of the upper deck and see the names of the legends that left their mark on the University. Names like Heisman Trophy winners Alan Ameche and Ron Dayne, along with other players like Elroy Hirsch, Dave Schreiner, Allan Schafer, and Pat Richter (the last two whose numbers are now retired).
Walking around the stadium, you can also see statues of Badger legends, like Richter and former head coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez,.
Just before the players enter the stadium and the game starts, the band will make their appearance playing the fight song to set the atmosphere for football. With that, the drum major tosses the baton in the air, hoping to catch it and insure a Badger win.
Then the players run out of the tunnel and it's game time.
And when you think the band is done just because the game has started, watch out for some of them to make their way throughout the entire stadium and perform in the aisles of random sections.
The student section also has their fun during the game, whether it be singing along with the songs played on the P.A. or yelling obscenities back and forth as a group, the most famous being one side yelling, "F*** you!" and the other responding with, "Eat s***!"
Then halftime arrives and the band performs. The band plays "Varsity", the school's alma mater, in which the majority of the people in the stadium wave their right hand in the air while the final lines are played.
After the second half is underway and the third quarter comes to a close, the stadium will start one of the newest traditions, the jump around. This involves the playing of House of Pain's "Jump Around" while the entire student section, band, players, and some of the rest of the crowd jumps up and down.
This tradition was almost halted due to safety concerns. In it's first year when everyone would jump around, the whole stadium's foundation would shake.
The song had to stop being played for a few weeks, but after complaints of it being removed between the third and fourth quarter break, and a safety inspection, it was ruled safe to continue.
After a Badger victory, don't be so quick to leave the stadium immediately because there is more entertainment. The band will perform another tradition called the "Fifth Quarter," where they give another halftime-like performance.
I've been going to Badger games at Camp Randall Stadium ever since I can remember. With the exception of when the Badgers lose (which is something that doesn't happen very often at home), Badger games are always an experience to remember.
A few years ago, when the Badgers finished playing a game against North Carolina, I heard one of the sports reporters from North Carolina had said that even though their team lost the game, it was still one of the better games he had ever been to, so don't just take it from me.
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