September 4, 2004

First sign that it's a football Saturday.

I don't go to football games, and I don't keep track of the Badgers' schedule, but I do live about five blocks from the stadium. I'm sitting at my dining room table, next to open windows that look out on my quiet street in University Heights. Rarely does a car even drive down my street, because it's a very slow route: there are stop signs at each end of the block, and it's a two-way street that is so narrow one car has to pull over to let another car pass. So I hear the footsteps and the quiet conversation of anyone who walks by. And they all look in at me. They aren't nosy. People just can't help it. The window is close to the sidewalk, because the front yards are very small in this old neighborhood, in the style that was considered suburban in the early part of the twentieth century. I hear the shuffling footsteps of a slightly large group of pedestrians--maybe six. I look over. I see red and white clothing. Okay, it's a football day. Over the course of the next few hours, the pedestrian traffic will increase, the people will be wearing a lot of red and white, and every parking space on my street will be taken. If I wanted to make fifty dollars, I could repark my car on the street, and let people park up my long driveway. My kids used to do that years ago. Good luck to the Badgers and to all Badger fans. If I hear a cheer drifting over from the stadium, I will feel a mild half-second of pleasure.

UPDATE: This surprised me:
Today, the entire season is already sold out and the Badgers will draw over 81,000 for their 2004 opener against the University of Central Florida. This will mark the 70th consecutive crowd of at least 70,000.

I really had no idea that many people were converging on my neighborhood.

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