Although it is about 2.5 hours for me each way, I drove to Marshfield on Friday, November 6 to see the Tigers take on the visiting Merrill Blue Jays in the third round of the WIAA Division 2 playoffs. Like a few schools two or three hours from Marshfield like Antigo, Rhinelander and Shawano, Merrill had left the Wisconsin Valley Conference. It cost the outlandish sum of $4 to go to the game.
There were flashes of brilliance from current Marshfield quarterback Luke Accola and his big receivers on the Tigers. Ultimately, however, they could not contain the relentless running attack of Merrill and were defeated 21-3. They were fortunate to avoid being held scoreless.
Six things stood out for me. First, the Tiger band was not in uniform and did not take the field at half-time. We were never out of uniform at a game. Second, the band left after half-time on a relatively warm night but we always stayed to the bitter end no matter how lop-sided the score or how cold the night was. I was fortunate to play a reed instrument. Brass players had more embouchure trouble in the cold.
Third, if there are Marshfield cheerleaders, they also left at half-time. Merrill cheerleaders made a pyramid at half-time. Fourth, as I left as the game clock hit less than a minute, I heard the Antigo band fire up their fight song, Illinois Loyalty. I confess I sang the Marshfield lyrics, which I had forgotten until that very minute. Illinois Loyalty was the fight song for Marshfield High School for more 50 years, until Marshfield changed it to “Eye of the Tiger.” Illinois Loyalty was the fight song was at Purdy, at the current Middle School and for many years at the school on Becker. Most of us did not need music to play it.
Fifth, most students I saw stayed at least until the gun sounded so that has not changed. Sixth, I was at the back of the student section. I’m kind of a tall guy and had the advantage of being on risers. The student ahead of me must have been six foot seven or eight.
I bought two hooded sweatshirts in black and orange for the price of one Badger sweatshirt in Madison in the former El Sombrero. It was some consolation for the time and gasoline it took me to attend. However, I will stay closer to home for high school athletic contests.