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B5Q Blogopean Union: Happy Holidays

A few Badgers notes and this site’s plans for the next week or so.

Outdoor Christmas Display
Night view of outdoor Christmas display (Santa Claus, reindeer, and Christmas tree with lights) in front of Conklin and Sons, 322 East Gorham Street at North Hamilton Street, Madison, Wisconsin, December 22, 1933.
Photo by Angus B. McVicar/Wisconsin Historical Society/Getty Images

Good morning! This is going to be a daily(ish) post that discusses the goings on of the rest of the Big Ten Conference, and the country as needed. Much like the European Union, the Big Ten is a loosely confederated group of entities that sometimes have the same goals (like free movement of people between countries or not winning national titles in football or basketball) and sometimes accept new members that they later regret (Estonia or Rutgers).

We hope that you will use this post to comment on things happening around the conference and also as a sort of daily open thread to discuss breaking news or argue about Spotted Cow (which we NO LONGER DO).

  • Leo Chenal received a well-deserved award for his monster performance against the Minnesota Golden Gophers last weekend.
  • I can not wait to not read about Adam Bay in our weekly Badgers in the NFL posts because he just keeps firing perfect snaps and nobody even knows he’s out there aka The Long Snapper’s Dream.
  • The volleyball team added a new face to the squad this week with Sydney Reed transferring in from North Carolina. She is a 5-foot-6 libero/defensive specialist and will join the team for the second semester.

Per a UW press release:

“We’re really happy to be able to add Sydney to the roster,” said Sheffield. ”She’s an athletic and driven player. She’s quick and has good defensive range, and has a tough and accurate serve. Although she’s not eligible to compete for us this spring, she will be able to train with us and will really help elevate the practice gym.”

Reed played in seven matches and 20 sets for the Tar Heels in the fall of 2020. She averaged 1.30 digs per set, tallying five-or-more digs in three matches, while adding 0.40 assists and 0.20 service aces per set. Reed had career highs of three assists in two matches and one service ace in four matches.

Reed’s father, Earl, played football for the Badgers so this is a homecoming of sorts!

  • As far as how things will look around here between Christmas Eve (aka today) and New Year’s Day’ll look pretty similar to what you are used to! After this post there may not be anything else on the site today unless I get to finally listening to the football press conferences from earlier this week.

For tomorrow, there will be a Michigan State fashion review, a game preview and open thread plus a game recap (if my kids are napping well) but there probably won’t be TOO much activity on the Twitter account unless I get into the eggnog early (and with an 11:30 a.m. Christmas Day tip-off...why wouldn’t I?).

After that we’ll mostly be back to normal as there will continue to be basketball happening and then a bunch of coverage of Wake Forest and the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. Hopefully we’ll be able to provide the respite you need from the usual holiday nonsense that always seems to happen.

Speaking of nonsense!

This has been an extremely difficult year for everyone. People haven’t been able to see their extended family for almost a year, friends haven’t been able to hang out after work and catch the game at the bar, yearly traditions, birthdays, anniversaries, funerals, holidays, retirement parties haven’t been able to be properly observed or celebrated.

My kids haven’t seen my parents since Thanksgiving last year. It sucks and I know that my family has it better than most. Both my wife and I are able to work from home with basically no change to our jobs and both of our extended families have remained safe and healthy. But still...this year has sucked.

One of the few bright spots has been writing about the Wisconsin Badgers and interacting with my staff and the readers of this fair site. Writing about and discussing college sports has always required a level of cognitive dissonance and this year it was taken to a whole new level, but shouting about P.J. Fleck and Ohio State and Luka Garza’s defense has been fun.

It has been fun and, quite frankly, necessary. Sports should never be “just a distraction” and athletes should never “stick to sports” but having something besides my existential dread to think about has been excellent. I like arguing about the depth chart, and play calling, and recruiting, and which Big Ten team I wish would fall into a volcano. Those things are FUN and fun was hard to come by this year.

I wish the players were paid and I still don’t think it was a good idea to play college sports this year and there are so many other things I’d love to change about college sports but the one thing I would never change is how much fun they are. If the Powers That Be in the NCAA are going to play no matter what I guess we better at least enjoy the hell out of every game we can.

Having never been a high-level (or mid-level or probably low-level) I don’t fully understand what these players have been going through this season but I do understand that for them to accept all of these changes to their lives just for the chance to play games, it’s clearly extremely important to them. I hope the players had fun, and watching the celebrations after the Minnesota game it seems like they did, and I hope it was all worth it for them because, at the end of the day, college sports shouldn’t be about you or me or whatever fucking executive is making hundreds of thousands dollars for basically doing nothing.

It’s about the kids who are playing and if they’re happy, I’m happy.

All that being said, I hope you and your family have (or have had) a happy holiday season and will have a happy New Year. Thank you for reading this site and thank you for making my days a little better.

Drew Hamm