The Voice: Plans changed, but the celebration didn't

The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgLast Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium, the script played out pretty well. The Badgers won big, and in the process earned piece of the Big Ten championship. Yep, that plan worked to perfection.

Another plan did not work out quite so well, but hey, stuff happens, and I believe everyone survived the blow.

Very quietly, UW officials had planned a postgame on-field ceremony to honor the team.  A Big Ten Conference representative was on hand preparing to present the team with the championship trophy. Tournament of Roses President Jeff Throop was going to deliver a message on behalf of the good folks in Pasadena. Chancellor Biddy Martin, athletics director Barry Alvarez, head coach Bret Bielema and a couple of players were going to have a chance to say a few words to the joyous crowd.

I was going to be the talking head who introduced everyone. When the clock hit zero, event staffers held the press box elevator for me to get downstairs, where another staffer driving a golf cart would take me to the field. It was then when we learned that stadium officials had a slight problem. Too many folks on the field. Way too many folks on the field, making it rather difficult to set up a stage for the ceremony.

By the time we jumped out of the cart and got down on the field, I felt like a running back (in my case, a very bad running back) following a pulling guard (my driver who did a very nice job leading me to midfield). By the time we reached the 30-yard line or so, we heard they called off the public presentation. Oh well, at least I had the chance to run into a few thousand people, including some old friends I had not seen in awhile. Trust me, it wasn't just students rushing the field.

Easiest emcee job I have ever had. And you know what?  It turned out just fine. The team had its presentation in the locker room, and the fans were able to do their thing. Sometimes spontaneity works out too. Sure, it would have been nice for everyone to hear from all the scheduled speakers, but hey, sometimes plans just blow up. As I made my way off the field and back to the press box, I did not notice anyone who seemed to be in anything but a great mood.

I would guess those who planned the event were disappointed, but in the grand scheme of things, I would hope they can look back and at least have a little laugh. Laugh and learn. As coaches say, it is better to learn after a win than after a loss.

For Badger fans everywhere, Saturday was a great day. Dare I say it was just rosy?  Postgame ceremony or not, it was quite a day to be a Badger.
ON WISCONSIN