Sunday, March 30, 2014

Badger Pride - Tonga Style

I'm so excited about this post I am having a hard time sitting in my chair as I type this. It could be the due to all the coffee I just consumed or the fact that the University of Wisconsin Badgers are in the Final Four... or maybe it's a bit of both.

I graduated from the University of Wisconsin back in 2007. My time at UW was so special. The people, the feeling walking through campus in the fall, the Union terrace in the summer, lakeshore path during the spring, the energy at any UW sports event... it was all just so so good. 

So I was a bit bummed yesterday because I had zero access to watch the Badgers play in the Elite Eight. Instead I followed the game via Twitter. And I am very happy that I did because it was so stressful reading everyone's comments about the game, but it was also really amazing to watch it all unfold via people's reactions to what was happening. When they won I jumped out of my chair and ran around inside my house trying not to be too loud. It was Sunday here, after all, which meant that I should have been at church, eating or sleeping... not watching sports. 

You should know another interesting fact about UW: Aside from being the best university ever (in my humble opinion), the UW also ranks consistently near the top for the number of graduates who end up becoming Peace Corps Volunteers. In 2012 we were ranked #3, in 2013 we were #3, and current rankings have us at #1! So when I woke up this morning I was bound and determined to convey this love of everything Bucky-related to my students and my counterparts. We're not only Final Four bound but we're doing our part to make the world a better place! 

I pretty much just needed to tell my co-teachers that my love of UW-Madison and basketball is like their love of Tonga and rugby. Once I told them that, they got it. 

But teaching my students about Sconnie nation and what the Final Four is? 

That was a bit trickier.

I really had to break out some major Tongan language skills this morning when I explained to the entire school what happened yesterday in America. First of all, basketball is not a sport that is played around these parts. Second, words and phrases like "tournament", "march madness" and "Frank the Tank" are not in my Tongan language skill set. What ended up happening was a lot of acting things out (good thing I have a minor in theater and drama) and cheering. Also, "On Wisconsin" (UW's fight song) may have been played... and I may have danced... and pretended to play the tuba.

Regardless, I got my point across and my students are so so excited. I hear them chattering about "Bucky" and "Bat-a-jers" (Badgers). There is one boy in particular who loves to go around saying "Frank the Taaaaaaank". It was pretty awesome to witness them all chant together during morning assembly. 
Frank the Tank is pretty awesome. (Source: Associated Press)
And even though today's English lessons might have been focused on my alma-mater and everything related to Wisconsin, my kau tama'iki ako (students) did learn something and I helped work towards fulfilling one of the Peace Corps goals: To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served. And I have to believe a little bit of knowledge about Buckingham U. Badger counts, right?
Here Bucky is again. He's a dancing machine!
Here's what the students in my little village think of UW-Madison and Bucky. (If you listen closely, there's a shot out to Bo Ryan and Frank the Tank!) And you can bet that this little village will be rooting for UW this week! U-rah rah Wi-scon-sin!

1 comment:

  1. Mandy, a colleague of mine who knows your family forwarded your blog. We are indeed proud of how far our Badgers have gone this season, they are playing with the resilience, energy, and the belief they can win it all. We are equally proud of you and your efforts to make a difference in this world, one child at a time. You are the embodiment of the Wisconsin Idea. May you find your time with the Corps to be as transformational and as fulfilling as it appears to be. On, Wisconsin!
    I. Valdez, Wisconsin School of Business, UW-Madison