It wasn’t hard to spot JJ Watt on UW Madison’s campus. It didn’t really matter if you “knew” him, because anyone that went to UW during those two years “knew” him. They’d shared a class with him, spotted him on the sidewalk, heard his name fill Camp Randall (Said like Lil’ Jon: WATTTTTTT), or caught glimpses of him on a moped. Think Tommy Boy. Big man on a little moped. Hilarious.
Now…I don’t want to taint my college years and proclaim to the world that I was some kind of “jersey chaser”. Any female that says they didn’t perk up when seeing an athlete in their class is lying. We were all jersey chasers to some degree. Even the guys.
And honestly, my only defense is “I got it from my mama.”
Anyone that knows Lydia knows how much she LOVES her Badger sports. Her screams on game day can be heard all the way from Boston. She tends to shop around from season to season…but the player that has continually captured her heart is JJ.
It couldn’t have been more than 2 minutes after a post-game interview that my mom texted me. “You should date him.”
My mom was serious. A week later she sent me a “Just Cuz” care package – filled with a beautiful scarf and earrings. The note was signed, “A little something for you to wear when you run into JJ!” Subtle, no?
At the time, I was taking Portuguese classes at UW. Little known fact: but Portuguese is the class all student-athletes are assigned to if they have no foreign language background. Why? The woman that wrote the textbook is the private tutor for the athletes. No big deal.
How did I end up in this class? Well, technically I came to UW as a student athlete. I was recruited for rowing, having never rowed a day in my life. One ACL tear later, and that dream ended. But I was still enrolled in Portuguese, and the athletic department actually let me continue using the student center for after-hours Portuguese help. Not sure they appreciated me using the computers, free printing, and free snacks for a good six months after I quit rowing…but….details.
So. There I am. In Portuguese class. With 25 other student athletes. And Louis Nzegwu (also a UW Football player), starts telling a story about his roommate JJ. And that’s when my wheels started turning.
Christmas was upon us, and I wanted to give my mother something sentimental. What better gift to give my jersey chasing mother than a signed photograph of JJ Watt – her dream man. At this point in JJ’s career, it was clear he would be going places. At the very least, the picture was bound to earn my mom some cash in later years. So it was really a two-fold gift.
I asked Louis if JJ would be willing to sign a photo for my mother as a Christmas gift. He didn’t seem too alarmed by my request, so I told him I’d get something printed for him to pass along.At the time, Google Images of JJ Watt were pretty slim pickings. Aside from his UW head shot. I opted for a field candid. Side profile. Signature arm bands. Black eye paint. I mean…honestly…it was pretty sexy.
I still remember the look on the Walgreen’s cashier’s face as he asked “Are these your 8 by 10 photos of JJ Watt?”
Um..yes. Yes, those are for me…
Sometimes I am clever and witty. But only sometimes. And as I was placing the photos in an envelope to give to Louis, genius struck. I put a post-it note on the photo that said “If you ever want a signed photograph of me, here is my number. “
It is only years later that I have realized the awkward and bizarre implications behind that post-it note.
And so a week passed. And then one day Louis strolled into Portuguese with my envelope. Inside was the signed photo…with the post-it note still attached….
I wish JJ could have at least humored me and taken the post-it off….
Don’t worry JJ. No hard feelings. You can do no wrong.
I ran into Louis and JJ many months later at College Library while they were promoting a blood drive. I have no memory of what I said to JJ because I completely blacked out. Something like “I’m that girl…that…well…..”
Perhaps my brain blocked the memory on purpose. It’s too difficult to relive.
I’ve still made subtle efforts to rekindle the flame. My former roommate Leigh (UW Madison soccer star extraordinaire) has run into him a time or two in Texas. While I was recovering from face surgery, she asked for my address to send a little something. I asked if that “little something” could be JJ. She said the shipping would probably cost too much…
So needless to say…I never did date JJ Watt. I dreamed big, but I’ll admit, I didn’t work very hard.
Time to Google “What do rich people look for in a future wife…”
*all joking aside – congratulations to JJ. Any former Badger can be proud of another former Badger, whether they “knew” each other or not. Another reason why UW Madison is the greatest place on earth. We’re all family. Keep killin’ it JJ.