Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ten years?

It may not be exact to the date, but 10 years ago this weekend I graduated from the University of Wisconsin. Really, 10 years? Has it been that long? Was my stay in Madison that brief?

I remember it being an emotional weekend. Friday night our gang went to the Oak Crest Tavern, where as usual we commandeered the CD player and played darts. A handful of us stayed on the guys' front porch at Bowen Court until the wee hours of the morning.

My parents, along with my roommates', showed up the next morning a couple hours later and we headed off to the Kohl Center; ours was the first graduating class to hold commencement in the new building.

Sitting down in my seat, the young woman next to me said "You're Scott Tappa? You're not Scott Tappa!" Turns out, one night that winter I had forgotten to take my press pass off after a Badger hockey game, and took it off at our table at State Street Brats. My buddy Butch had put it on and preceded to hit on as many girls as he could -- using my identity. Apparently he hadn't made a good impression on my seat neighbor. She forgave me for all the things I had not actually said.

That afternoon my folks and I had a nice time at the Terrace, and that night we had a low-key party. The next day we went to Milwaukee to have a party at an Irish pub with Hill and Kate's families. The last days of true freedom.

Monday, real life kicked in. Job interviews led to my first gig in Ohio, which led to a tearful goodbye to Madison. Reality kicked in further my first Friday in Ohio, when at night, instead of hanging out with my buddies, I headed to the office to type in Little League scores. I was surrounded by really good people in Fremont, but was lonely nonetheless. The fact that so many of my friends had remained behind, and my brother and his friends had just arrived in Madison, made it even more difficult.

A couple years after graduation, I wondered when my longing for Madison would subside. Thankfully, it did. Jana is a big reason for that, as are Will, and now Charlie. Life has turned out pretty good, and while I still enjoy visiting and reading about Madison, my roots are planted two hours north.

Maybe 20 or so years from now Jana and I will be in the Kohl Center for Will's or Charlie's commencement (featured speaker: Erin Andrews). If their experience is anything like mine, it will be four awesome years -- but not the best of their lives. Those should come later.


Corby said...

Wow, 10 years already? Hard to imagine. I guess I kind of forgot that because I came back a year later for grad school. My graduation day was not quite as exciting as it was for you Scott, because I had one more class to finish in the summer session. Some sort of beginner film class that I could not stay awake for because I would be up really late and then get to this 8:50 class and they would immediately turn the lights way down so we could watch a movie. GOODNIGHT! I would agree that those were not the "best" times of our lives, but what I would not give for one more week, knowing what I know now.

Edward said...

10 years for me too! Hard to believe. I always got to tell people I graduated with the Dalai Lama since he getting his honorary degree that weekend!

Scott Tappa said...

Huh, I didn't know about the Dalai Lama, that's interesting. All I remember was that Greta Van Susteren was our guest speaker.