Welcome to Madtown

I’d never been here before. Which is kind of strange, because I went to college not that far from Madison, Wis., and Northwestern and Wisconsin played each other every year in the Big Ten. But the Mildcats were so bad in those days that very few of us felt compelled to make the nearly three-hour drive up here to see our boys in purple get more purple with bruises and be on the wrong side of some ridiculous score. Even the 18 drinking age in Wisconsin wasn’t that much of a draw, as it was much easier to do the 50 miles straight north to Kenosha, or not much further up I-94 to Milwaukee, the big city with the brewery tours. Or just use our fake IDs in Evanston or Chicago (don’t try that at home kids).

Upon arrival Wednesday afternoon I drove from the airport to Camp Randall Stadium — a pretty easy trip since University Ave. here runs the entire length of the city and even beyond, so just get on it heading west and you can’t get lost. (Same for the hotels the team, Stephen Tsai, and I are staying at, in Middleton which is west of Madison.)

People here, like in most places in the Midwest, are almost all very friendly and unpretentious. They have aloha spirit, they just don’t label it anything. Haven’t had a brat or a beer yet, but I did see the Mustard Museum and will check it out closer soon.

At lunch at the Howard Avenue Diner, I tried a little bit of the macaroni and cheese since it was recommended by the front-desk person at the hotel. Since I’m in Wisconsin I figure I’d better eat some cheese. It was OK, nothing spectacular. Then again, although I love cheese, I’m not big on mac-and-cheese — which is probably good, or I would literally be VERY BIG on mac-and-cheese.

Sitting at the counter at lunch, I met Cindy Hatcher. She’s a huge football fan, and we had plenty to talk about. But not Wisconsin football. We talked about the SEC, especially since Tennessee is playing at Florida on Saturday. She’s such a big UT fan she remembered Mike Edwards. Cindy is from Knoxville (originally from Alabama), so a lady from Huntsville and a guy from Honolulu sat at a counter in Madison, Wis., two days before a Badgers home game, comparing notes on Steve Spurrier, Lane Kiffen, Pat Summitt, Philip Fulmer and Marcus Mariota. Go figure.

I got to interview former UH coaches Dave Aranda and Daronte’ Jones after the Badgers practice Wednesday. You can see pictures of them on my Facebook page. I’m writing about them and Inoke Breckterfield in Friday’s column.

And, if you have a subscription, you can read today’s column on Micah Kapoi here. This one made me feel old; I did a feature on his dad, Dean, when he played for Waianae back in the 1980s, and I’d also interviewed his mom, Patti, when she played softball at Kailua.

Madtown isn’t very mad right now, but that’s how it is in a lot of the small cities and towns that host big-time college football. They’re mellow and calm places except for seven or eight weekends each fall, and it’s only Thursday right now. Here’s a great description of what goes on here for home games, written by a UW student.

More later.


  1. Haleakala September 24, 2015 9:59 am

    Go Rainbow Warriors! Imua!

  2. Haleakala September 24, 2015 10:02 am

    I wonder why they call their stadium Camp Randall.

  3. Haleakala September 24, 2015 10:07 am

    I found out why. It was a major military camp during the Civil War. The stadium is owned by the school Too bad UH doesn’t have their own stadium.

  4. Haleakala September 24, 2015 10:45 am

    24.5 point spread. Hawaii will be the spread again if not outright beat the Badgers! There is always hope.

  5. Haleakala September 24, 2015 10:47 am

    That video of the HS kicker making the extra point off the referees head is quite funny. What a lucky bounce.

  6. H-Man September 24, 2015 11:53 am

    Not only did it bounce off the referee’s head, but it then hit the crossbar before going over. And yeah, it was funny. And that was a nice article about Micah Kapoi. Glad he is getting to start as a sophomore. Hoping it will be a good game.

  7. Aaron September 24, 2015 2:27 pm

    Thanks for posting this, as I really enjoy these kinds of blogs – stuff that describe the experience of being to a place that i’ve never been to.

  8. seewhy September 25, 2015 9:57 am

    Nice write up, Dave!

  9. seewhy September 25, 2015 9:58 am

    RE: Haleakala #5

    That video is too funny! Talk about luck.

  10. Manoa Mist September 25, 2015 1:41 pm

    Sounds like you having fun up there Dave. My brother in law is from Wisconsin he actually attended Wisconsin. You gotta try the brats my man!

  11. Dave Reardon October 4, 2015 6:35 am

    Manoa … Yup, I had all kinds of good grinez in the midwest … food from that part of the country is underrated.

Comments are closed.