GEORGE RANDALL, BADGER FAN – PART 2
George returned to a state gripped in the clutches of Badgermania. Madison and other cities were renaming streets after players of the University of Wisconsin’s football team. George’s town of Stoughton honored him as well, by renaming no less than twenty-three streets after George. Yes sir, George was a hero to all.
People all over Wisconsin yearned to see their Badgers stomp their menacing rivals from UCLA. Wisconsin had gone thirty-one years since their last Rose Bowl appearance. Millions of Wisconsinites had grown up without even knowing the location or meaning of the Rose Bowl. As for a Rose Bowl victory, well, there may have been one in the time of legends before writing had been invented. Certainly, no one other than George had ever thought it had been possible. Now, it was possible.
Millions of folks from Wisconsin made every effort to see their beloved Badgers play the Bruins in the Rose Bowl. Entire towns, such as Baraboo, Barneveld, Belleville and Blue Mounds, and many towns that didn’t start with “B” made travel arrangements for everyone in their town to see the game. Millions of folks bought tickets to see the game. Millions of people spent several hundred dollars on air fare and hotels. Millions of people dipped into their retirement funds and their college funds for their children to see the Badgers in Pasadena on New Year’s day.
The airlines honored their commitments to the hardy Badger fans. The hotels honored their commitments to these loyal supporters. Unfortunately, the Rose Bowl seats only a 100,000. So, alas, nearly three million Badger fans could not get in.
What had happened? Apparently, many fly-by-night travel agents promised Badger fans tickets they did not have. Eager to accept the fans’ money, the travel agents did not care that they crushed the dreams of many honest souls.
Our hero’s heart burst with sympathy toward his brethren. He had his tickets for the game within minutes of the Badgers’ clinching a trip to the Rose Bowl. He knew what it meant to be a Badger fan, scorned by the world. Early in the morning of January 1, 1994, he walked to the wailing crowd of Badger fans by the Rose Bowl. With heavy heart, he saw shattered hopes everywhere. Marriages everywhere were being tested to their limits as spouses blamed each other for the mess. As he walked along, a little girl tore away from her mother’s arms and ran crying toward George.
George shook in anguished surprise. This girl was the same age that he was when he first announced his dream of seeing the Badgers win in the Rose Bowl. He remembered his humiliation, his lack of human friends. Tear welled in his eyes when the memory of that awful Fourth of July parade flooded back to him.
“What is your name, little girl?” he asked. “Suzy,” she replied. “My name is Suzy Dock. What is your name?” she inquired. But George could not reply. He fell to the ground, tore open his shirt, and pummeled his naked chest with his fists until he covered himself with bruises. “As God is my witness,” he shouted to the heavens, “this little girl shall not endure the torments that I went through to see the Badgers have a chance at winning the Rose Bowl.” Sobbing uncontrollably, he thrust his packet of tickets toward little Suzy. “Take them and be happy. Go!” he shouted.
Little Suzy ran to her mother just as fast as her little legs could carry her. She showed the tickets to her mother, explained how she obtained them, and pointed out the wretched George. The mother gathered little Suzy to her bosom and rushed to thank George.
“God bless you, sir!” she gushed. “You sir, are my knight in shining armor. You have restored my faith in humanity. You are a true Badger.”
George stopped his crying, looked up at her, and drank in her gratitude.”Thank you,” he choked, “That is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.” Suddenly, he grabbed his chest and sank to the ground.
“You’re having a heart attack!” the mother…