is the team mascot of the University of Wisconsin football
team. Minnesota played Wisconsin in the last game ever played
in Memorial stadium, the outdoor football stadium built on
Minnesota's campus in 1924 (?).
I couldn't afford to go to many football games, but
I got tickets for my dad and I to go to the old stadium's last game.
As best I remember it was middle to late November.
didn't graduate from the University of Minnesota, but he attended
for a while before he got tired of being poor. Instead of finishing
up, he passed the electricians test and became an electrician.
He told me a curious thing about freshmen at the U. Before
the war, all freshman males had to wear a beanie. After World War
II ended, lots of combat veterans enrolled at the U under the G.I. bill.
(My dad was in the Navy, but stayed stateside.) The upperclassmen had
no luck getting the combat vets to wear beanies - the vets in no certain
terms told the upperclassmen what could be done with their beanies. So
ended a tradition.
A great mistake was made tearing down the campus stadium. It was the
best way to get alumni to come back to campus and get nostalgic. I
wonder how much in donations has been lost by graduates who have no
tie to their Alma Mata. I remember the huge line of people filing down
both University Avenue and Forth Street prior to the games. One time
I saw Eddie Albert of "Green Acres" going to a game. What a blessed
life I have led ....
Before the last game it had snowed out maybe six inches. There was snow
in the bleachers. The stadium was packed. We sat at about the 30 yard
line. All during the game guys near the field were grabbing girls and
passing them up to the top of the stadium. Yup. At any one time six
or seven sets of hands would be transferring these unwilling
young lasses up the hundred rows or so to the top. For some, the
journey ended prematurely and they made their way back down to their
seats, only to get passed back up again later.
Right at midfield about 25 rows up was a Wisconsin fan sitting among the
Minnesotans who, shortly after
the game started, began from time to time to hold a stuffed badger
over his head. He did it to cheer for his team. As there was a
large amount of snow in the bleachers, it
didn't take long before Mr. Badger attracted snowballs. I mean a lot of
Things got worse and worse for the Badger fan as more and more Minnesota fans discovered
the stuffed Badger. In the third quarter, if you considered a one foot by one
foot square anywhere around the Badger, I estimate five snowballs per
second were coming through this area smacking into both the Badger
fan and the stuffed badger. It didn't help this guy that Wisconsin was
winning (and did win the game, if memory serves). I remember he'd put the badger up and
them hunch his shoulders and tuck in his head to try and protect
himself. Smack, smack, smack, smack, SMACK! Finally, sometime early
in the fourth quarter, the stuffed badger ceased to appear. It was
a victory of sorts for good 'ol Sky U Mah - that's right, Sky U Mah.
For some reason the Minnesota
fight song goes, "rah rah rah for Sky U Mah", meaning Minnesota,
and know one seems to know why. The Minnesota nickname, "The Gophers",
from "The Gopher State", refers to the hardy work ethic of the
early settlers of Minnesota, who referred to themselves as such.