When you’ve said Wisconsin

One late morning in the August before my senior year, I was waking up slowly through some quality REM sleep when a pulse began blanketing my brain. Tubas and a drumline were throbbing inside my skull. I woke up, and sat bolt upright, in a cold sweat, gasping for breath, with the cadence still ringing in my ears.

“I’ve got to go to a football game right now!!!”

I mention this because right this very minute, P-House is packing his bags and heading for the bright lights of the Mini-Apple, so as to attended the “U” in Minn-Minn. I tried to warn him about the media black hole he was about to enter — no Brewers coverage of any kind! When I was there last September, I was reduced to scouring day-old box scores in USA Today. He responded with “Internet. Duh.” Kids these days.

The first weekend of the college football season last year, I had to work at Maxie’s. Shortly after the restaurant opened, it began offering “Blunch” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It was called “blunch” because, we said, we didn’t want to have to get up early enough for “brunch.” It was glorious — the best muffulettas I’ve ever had, crab cakes eggs Benedict and piccata-like dish called “smothered chicken.” But 11 was still too early on many weekend days, especially after attending many Brewers games and late night festivities.

As I walked to my car, I noted that it was an astonishingly perfect September day. The radio started the song that was playing in my head while I showered — “Throw Some D’s” — just as I hit the ignition. Hangover or no, double shift or not, this was going to be a good day.

I paced nervously as I waited on the slow trickle of tables and tried to stay interested in the Colorado-Colorado State game, which was actually very good. Maxie’s owner Dan is a native Cornhusker, and therefore a big Big 12 guy. I snickered that Michigan had not yet put away Appalachian State. “We now go live to Ann Arbor, where Michigan is lining up for a gaming-field goal…”

Oh!  That. Just. Happened.

“Well, they’ll be rockin’ in Boone tonight!” Dan said as we jumped up and down.

It was finally game for the Badger game. I turned on ABC channel 12. Wait a second… Switched it to channel 512 — put that shit in high-def. Wisconsin work red pants and doubled Washington State’s score.

Two weeks later, as I was pre-gaming for a Wisconsin game in Madison, en route to Minneapolis, the entire house party stopped to watch the Brewers blow a lead and lose in 11 innings in Atlanta. The next day I drove to Minnesota, with the Brewers game AND the Packers preseason game on the radio. Two wins and two losses later, I was back in Madison, where I watched the final outs of the last game that mattered in 2007.

But Paulie won’t be missing action. The bars (and the sex shops) are staying open late in Minneapolis next week for the Republican National Convention, and with a little luck, the Twin Cities will have their own playoff excursion.

Let the good times roll.

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