The University of Wisconsin – Madison provides one of the best college town football game day experiences, confirm readers of  USA Today . Three students: one football player, one UW Marching Band member and one faithful season ticket holder explain their game day timelines and why they think the experience is one of a kind.    Connor Senger, a sophomore at the UW hoping to study accounting, is a quarterback on the football team. “Growing up and playing football in Wisconsin as a kid, it’s always a goal to play for the Badgers and just play at Camp Randall,” Senger said.    This year, Senger, originally from West Allis, Wisconsin, is the fourth out of six quarterbacks in line to play, however, he always prepares as though he will be starting the game.    On game day, the team arrives at the stadium, drops their belongings in the locker room and relaxes on the field. “Then we come back inside and there’s a schedule on the board for position groups for who’s going out to warm up when and doing different things with different positions,” Senger said.    As a quarterback, Senger’s warm up routine includes throwing the ball with the other quarterbacks, working with various position groups, practicing running routes and stretching with the strength coach. Then, the whole team runs through a few plays together.    “Then we head back inside and we kind of sit there for 10 minutes, just gather our thoughts and get ready to go. The team chaplain Father Mike comes around and he blesses each position group,” Senger said. He continued by saying the players have an opportunity to participate in a pregame prayer with Father Mike and then Coach Andersen, the head coach of the UW football team, gives his warm up speech and the team heads onto the field.    During the game, Senger is responsible for observing action on the field and communicating on his headset with the offensive staff. He also signals plays from the offensive coordinator to the quarterback on the field.    Following the game, the team sings  On, Wisconsin!  on the field with the UW Marching Band and then retreats to the locker room.    The band then kicks off the Fifth Quarter, described by the UW Badgers website as a post-game celebration where fans dance, sing and cheer with the UW Marching Band.    Shawn Laursen, a junior at the UW majoring in genetics, plays an integral part in the Fifth Quarter as a trombone player in the UW Marching Band. When applying for college, Laursen, originally from Mauston, Wisconsin, said, “If I was going to go to UW, I was going to be in the band.”    Laursen’s commitment to the program has shaped his college career, including his game day experience. “It shapes it quite a bit ‘cause it’s a huge time commitment. It’s four days a week, two hours a day for practice. And then it’s pretty much all day Saturday [for game day],” Laursen said. He continued to explain other commitments such as playing at Packer games, high school games or private gigs.    On game day, Laursen said because of the early games this season, he has to be up and at the band field by 7 a.m. to run through the pregame and halftime routines.    “Mike tries to pump us up for the day and tells us what we need to do to be great,” Laursen said of band director, Michael Leckrone, at the morning rehearsal. The band is then dismissed to go back to their respective homes and put on their uniforms.    Laursen said there is a possibility he would have to play at a tailgate or other gig before meeting up with the rest of the band for the Badger Bash. “Then you have to be to Union South at about 9:30 or 9:40 and then we go underneath to the loading dock and put on our hats and our spats [white coverings over the shoes] and gloves and put our plumes [feathers that stick out of the hats] in. And then we march out to behind Union South and play the Badger Bash, which is where we play  On, Wisconsin!  and the pregame tune and the halftime show,” Laursen said.    From there, the band marches over to Camp Randall Stadium and waits in the tunnel for the drum major to whistle them onto the field.    Led by the drums and tubas, the band runs onto the field and plays the pregame show. The band then finds their seats in the lower, middle part of the student section. “We don’t really interact with the student section very much. We are all supposed to be watching the game and waiting for Mike to call the song, if there’s a song that needs to be played. You’re supposed to be standing up, watching the game and cheering and paying attention a lot,” Laursen said.    "The band performs the halftime show, after which the members receive apples and water and continue to watch the game and Leckrone for play signals," Laursen said.    After the game, the band’s routine includes playing Fifth Quarter, marching out of the stadium and playing a few songs right outside the student section entrance of the stadium. They then march back to the Humanities Building, the band’s home base, and then Leckrone debriefs the day.    “We sing Varsity and then we’re dismissed and we have to go turn in our uniforms so they can be dry-cleaned for the next week. Then you’re pretty tired so usually you go to sleep or something for a little while,” Laursen said.    Napping seems to be a popular activity on game day, as Sam Walton included it when sharing his routine as well.    Sam Walton, a sophomore at the UW hoping to major in geological engineering, is a football season student ticket holder and his love for the University started at a young age. “I just always wanted to go here since the first time I ever thought about going to college – that was probably in about seventh or eighth grade when my dad was taking me to Badger Games,” Walton said.    Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Walton enjoys game days matching his girlfriend in red and white striped bibs (overalls). “I wake up, put my game day bibs on, and then probably go to a party on Breese Street or something, right next to Camp Randall. And then some days I’ll be there [the party] pretty close to game time and some days I’ll try to get in there [Camp Randall] pretty early and get really good seats,” Walton said.    In the stadium, Walton said his favorite parts of the game with his fellow Badgers include singing  Sweet Caroline  or  Build Me Up Buttercup , participating in Jump Around and, of course, paying close attention to the plays on the field. “I like  On, Wisconsin!  and I really like  By the Light of the Moon ,” Walton said.    Walton ends his game day experience with a nap or a workout session and then considers continuing to celebrate being a Badger later in the night.    The UW game day experience has been recognized as one of the best, confirmed by  Bleacher Report  and readers of  USA Today .  However, UW Associate Dean, Kevin Helmkamp, said the day could be improved by being more accepting of fans from opposing teams.  Madison unites by wearing red and white; however, fans wearing other colors should be welcomed to celebrate the love for their school and football team, so everyone can enjoy UW game day.
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