Bucky Badger
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.

My dad 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 snowballs. 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.


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