Loaded and Proud


Loaded and Proud

Loaded and Proud of It

By Ned Wicker

I enjoy listening to Steve “The Homer:” True, the host of the “World’s Greatest Sports Talk Show” on ESPN Milwaukee. Homer is the voice of the Marquette basketball team, and has been on the air in this town for a lot of years.

I am sure his followers are loyal because of his crazy antics and the great guests he has on the show every weekday. However, a few days ago while listening to the show on my way home from work. I was a little put off by the topic of conversation.

Loaded and Proud of It

Understand that Homer is a funny guy, so take this with a grain of salt. He and producer Mitch were talking about getting drunk before sporting events. Recalling their days of being young and foolish, the two talked about getting drunk before football games, missing most of the first half, but being just sober enough to enjoy the second half. Mitch said the first half didn’t count anyway. But what was ringing in my ears was the truth of it all. That’s Wisconsin.

A walk around the neighborhood surrounding Camp Randall Stadium will give you every piece of evidence you need to come to a solid determination that drunks rule the streets. They clutter in tents, hang over apartment building terraces, stand shoulder-to-shoulder in smoke-filled bars, and of course they tailgate in any spot large enough to park a car.

Homer and Mitch discussed the merits of an 11:00 kickoff, especially since that time slot (mandated by television) necessitates early morning drinking in order to have the time needed to get thoroughly marinated by the time the game rolls around, not that it matters. No alcohol is allowed in the stadium, so people have to get their drinking duties done before they walk in, assuming of course that they can walk.

Now if the kick off is at 1:00, serious drinking doesn’t have to start until later in the morning. Either the early or the later start is acceptable, because one can take a nap and regroup for blowing their brains out that evening.

If there is a late start, say 3:00 or sometimes even 5:00, now that requires planning. Being drunk is mandatory, so you can’t really start until after lunch, but you run the risk of starting too early and drinking so much that you miss the game entirely. By the time the game is over, the serious drinking football fanatic may be able to walk, but only long enough to find a restroom, public or otherwise.

Post-game in Madison is a drinker’s fantasy, as there is beer everywhere and the party goes until the last one falls down. Some fans do a double dip on fall weekends, taking in a game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, also a drinker’s paradise because beer is highly encouraged by vendors all over the park.

You can go into Curly’s Pub for a few shots as well. You have to plan that trip, because many of the Packer fans come from southeastern Wisconsin, some 120 miles away. After the game, the drunks take to the highways.

Homer and Mitch had some fun with this topic, and Homer can make this subject funny and entertaining. But there is an element of truth. Even when they were describing how people’s drinking habits on game day are thrown off, even as they got more and more outrageous, there was truth to what they were saying. People in Wisconsin can’t do anything without drinking.

Their lives have no purpose, no meaning unless they have a drink in their hands. OK, that’s hyperbole, but it seems to me that in order to be funny and worth talking about, there has to be enough common truth to it. I was laughing at their antics, but I soon stopped because it was too close to the truth. At that point, it wasn’t funny anymore. It was just sad.

Ned Wicker is addictions chaplain at Waukesha Memorial Hospital Lawrence Center

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