"Minnesota Against the World" |
was a basketball game played in Madison Wisconsin. Madison, or "Madtown",
deserves the reputation as a hard partying campus. Loke, my railroad
friend, his friend Hari, and I had travelled from Minnesota to
the University of Wisconsin at Madison the weekend Minnesota and
Wisconsin played for the NCAA Hockey Championship. We stayed at an apartment
where their friend Jeff lived. The day of the
hockey final, we four Minnesotans teamed with other native
Minnesotans in a pickup basketball game against a team made up of
University of Wisconsin students hailing from everywhere. It was Loke
who coined the phrase, "Minnesota Against the World". Anyway, representing
our State as we did we managed to win a very spirited contest.
That night we went to a house where we watched the hockey championship
game on T. V. with about
twenty U of Wisconsin
fans. Every time the opposing team scored a goal, students cheering for
the scored-on team had to take a shot of whiskey. Minnesota lost something
like 3-1. Too bad. Our Wisconsin hosts were of course obnoxious in victory,
but not in a confrontational or unfriendly way. Their earlier defeat at
"Minnesota Against the World" kept them humble and respectful. (Yeah right).
As the Wisconsin fans were counting down the last seconds of the
game, one fellow who lived in the house carried his bedroom dresser into
the living room. After the game ended, he carried it into the street, broke
it apart, and lit it on fire. I guess he was excited to win the Title.
Other combustible objects were added to the blaze. Soon a fire truck
arrived. I remember the herd of students attending this impromptu bonfire
running en mass into the back yard of the house. When it was noted that
no police accompanied the fireman, we all returned to watch them put out
the pile of burning trash.
Now the hue and cry was "State Street". So Loke and Hari and Jeff and
I began the walk up to State Street. We stopped a bar to buy some beer.
Everyone thought I was crazy because I kept asking the bartender if he
sold beer "off sale". I knew the term to mean that they would sell beer
to us and we could leave the premises with it, instead of having to
consume it inside the bar. Anyway, we got our case of beer. We each
carried an open can to drink along with four or so cans shoved up inside
our shirts. We arrived at State street only to find a guy hanging
from a street light. Seriously - he was hanging by his arms about
2 1/2 stories in the air. He was a gymnast from the school gym team,
someone in the crowd said. At the base of the streetlight stood an
officer of the law. His ticket book was open, he was just waiting for
the human fly to descend so he could cite him. We started to head
down State Street toward the campus building. On the next block, the
crowd was rocking a car and trying to turn it over. We four mingled
in the crowd, drinking our "off sale" beer and taking it all in.
We walked up a hill to a University building where a huge crowd had
gathered. (Jeff told us that students took cafeteria trays and used them
to slide down the hill - just something I remember). Somehow, a few
students had managed to climb up on the roof. The whole crowd was
swaying back and forth, one arm extended, singing, "Varsity, Varsity ....".
After a while, we left this group and went to sit on the steps of
a library. Some guy attempted to ride his motorcycle up the steps,
but didn't make it all the way before wiping out. I was pretty drunk
by then. I remember trying to talk to some coeds, but my friends told
me later I wasn't making much sense.
We made our way to Mifflin (sic) street, which was just around
the corner from the house where we watched the game. Mifflin street
has a huge party every Spring. We walked in and out of lots of
houses where celebration parties were going strong.
Very late, we left campus and went to a bar. It was
very near closing time. There was a large
crowd milling about in the parking lot. I spotted a huge guy, a
classmate of mine from Minnesota who hailed from the Northern Minnesota
Iron Range, commonly referred to as 'The Range'. He was arguing with
had the notion that this Ranger had their car keys.
I felt like I should intervene. I stepped between the parties. I
asked one of the two dudes what the problem was. "He's got our car
keys". I turned to the Ranger, "So do you?". "No, I don't know what
they are talking about!". With my back to the Ranger, I turned back to
the two guys. "I really don't think he's got your keys". Just then,
over my shoulder, this six foot four Ranger's fist came over my shoulder
and punched the guy I was talking to in the face. His back hit the ground
and he rolled over in a somersault. I kid you not. I ducked out of the
way as he hit the second guy, likewise knocking him for a loop. I quickly
walked over to my friends and we ended up leaving. Whatever possessed me
to intervene I can't say. What a whacky night in Madtown.