After some ticket... ahem, issues... I landed top-notch tickets in Section Q in rows 6, 8 and 19 in the knick of time. Solid right? I truly believed I'd overcome the biggest hurdle in our march to Madison.
I could not have been more wrong. The obstacles lying in wait put the ticket debacle to shame and tested the resolve of each of our groups’ members.
My flight with my wife was from West Palm Beach, connecting to Milwaukee in Atlanta. The antics of Brian Howard and the ensuing airport anarchy caused us to miss our connecting flight in Atlanta. Our only option: take the last two seats to Minneapolis and drive to down to Madison. The flight to Minneapolis landed just shy of midnight, leaving us with a 4.5 hour trek to Madison and an arrival time of 4:30am (5:30am EST).
It gets better. Our friends Jenni and Matt were supposed to fly from New York City to Milwaukee. Like many travelers they found themselves playing city roulette, attempting to get as close as possible to Madison. Jenni and Matt ended up flying to St. Louis and pounding the pavement 369-miles to Madison. Arrival time: 4:00am (5:00am EST).
Hang on, I’m not done. Next we have Andrew and Apple who were supposed to fly directly from Tampa to Madison. They ended up in Detroit; joining three other stranded USF travelers and made the 7 hour journey arriving in Madison just before 2:00am (3:00am EST).
Others like Bobby and Emma did not experience any issues as they drove up from Indianapolis. Likewise, Jayson casually made the drive up from downtown Chicago with his puppy Copenhagen as co-pilot. Tom and Keri, our very own Wisconsinites, anxiously awaited everyone’s arrival in Bucky land as most of the group attempted to circumnavigate the chaos in Chicago.
Finally, the proverbial icing on the cake. Josh, a fellow USF Alumni and SigEp, had every intention to cruise directly from Ft. Lauderdale to Milwaukee via an Atlanta connection. But, like most Midwest travelers his connecting flight was cancelled leaving him stranded. Josh’s only option was to fly to Detroit, sleep solo in the airport and pray for a seat to either Milwaukee or Madison in the morning. Josh arrived much later than Andrew and Apple to Detroit, which is why he did not ride along.
Not only did Josh manage to snag a seat on the 9:00am flight to Milwaukee, he managed to befriend a few USF Alumni in the Milwaukee airport and landed a lift to Camp Randall. Josh arrived in Madison at the end of the first quarter. "So you’re telling me there’s a chance!"
Our thirteen member ‘wolfpack’ managed just a single travel casualty. Endured like true road rangers and soaked up the glorious atmosphere of the friendly 78k crowd. The Midwestern folks were more than hospitable, stopping our group as we moseyed through the student union to thank us for making the trip and letting us know how impressive they found our Bulls performance on the gridiron. The wolfpack soaked up the majestic mayhem in Madison.
Here’s the video I put together of our #MajesticMadisonMayhem. I would do it again in a heartbeat. In fact, my group has already made plans for next year’s #MagnificentMarylandMelee.