The Picky Fan

March is my favorite time of the year for one reason and one reason only: March Madness. Four straight weeks of the best teams in the nation competing for the national title, what cold be better? I regret not installing cable and high-speed internet in my new apartment just because I wasn’t able to watch games on multiple screens like I usually do. The games are fun to watch no matter who is playing – but when the Badgers come on, everything pauses.

Madison is my hometown; UW has been my team since I can remember. I take my Badger pride with me to every city that I live in – Saint Paul, Sydney, Chicago and Las Vegas. No matter if I am 2,200 miles away or if I am sitting in the Kohl Center, I am loyal to my Badgers. There have been seasons of growth and development and teams that dominate the BIG10. I’ve experienced the ups and downs with thousands of Wisconsinites but nothing compares to watching the Badgers win in the NCAA Tournament. It’s an experience unlike any other – crowds lined up at bars at noon, the electric energy of State Street during the game and the celebrations after a win.

I still think about our recent Big10 Conference Tournament Championship, back-to-back Final Four appearances and our first National Final game since 1941 and I’m sure I will until we have another season like it.

On Wisconsin!
It’s not Wisconsin without cheese…

A basketball fan’s favorite team making it to the NCAA Tournament year after year to finally play in the National Championship Game is like a picky eater’s taste buds meeting the best version of our favorite food after years of thinking it couldn’t get any better.

Believe it or not, picky eaters are passionate fans of food. Picky eaters know the difference between average selections and winning plates just like basketball fans know losing teams from winning ones. We are focused on eating the best and won’t let anything come in the way of our favorite foods whether it is a hamburger, pizza, grilled cheese, or spaghetti.

As a picky eater, my favorite foods are of Italian origin. I am loyal to this cuisine and eat it more than any other food. I’ve definitely experienced my fair share of weak pastas and mediocre lasagna dishes, but I don’t let that stop me from finding the winning Italian specialties.

I still think about eating the best homemade spaghetti I’ve ever had from Maialino Restaurant in New York City, Bolognese cheese ravioli from Rose Angeles in Chicago and mint gelato from Carapinain Florence and I’m sure I will until I visit these restaurants again.

These foods are remembered because they are the highlights – the meals that stick out from the rest. Like playing the best season in school history or encountering the best authentic cooking of your favorite foods, basketball fans and picky eaters alike will think about our victories over and over until it’s sitting in front of us again.