SGG #59: A week in Pasadena
The SGG podcast's special series, "Football in Wisconsin," examines the game from multiple angles. We learn about important historical foundations of the UW program -- not the wins and losses, but the ways programs were built and lives are affected. We hear from coaches, competitors, and others who have played key roles in football in Wisconsin. The SGG special series uses an embedded approach with particular emphasis on leadership. The series aims to advance the "growing good" that leaders can promote in and through sports.
The first episode describes the University of Wisconsin football team's last days of preparation for the 2020 Rose Bowl. While not a typical week, the team's relationships, rituals, and daily routines in Pasadena lend insights into the meaning of being part of the Badger team throughout the year.
The UW team's headquarters in the "LA Live" area of downtown Los Angeles were directly across the street from Staples Center, home of the Lakers. Badgers coaches encouraged players to enjoy their time in the festive area, while emphasizing the need to focus on preparing for the game vs. Oregon.
A contingent of officers from the California Highway Patrol escorted the UW team buses throughout the Los Angeles area all week.
The UW team escaped to St. John Bosco High School for their last practice of the season. Coach Chryst wandered among the players during stretching time, just as he'd done at each practice throughout the season. The team carried out several "last practice rituals" that conveyed the deep meaning of their relationships.
Coach Joe Rudolph led his offensive linemen through pre-game warm-ups in the Rose Bowl endzone. Players and coaches moved through these same drills hundreds of times in the preceding months -- usually in the privacy and quiet of their own facilities.
Coach John Settle's running backs received camera time all season. The foundations of their learning that season were found in dark video sessions, countless meetings, and hundreds of on-field practices.
After the team's final locker room huddle of the season, Coach Settle and Coach Gilmore waited on the bus, which was parked just outside the Rose Bowl Stadium.