Understanding how 'Jump Around' came to be in Madison

Posted at 4:30 PM, Jan 01, 2022

MADISON — When you hear the song Jump Around, you immediately think Wisconsin. And now it's been a Badgers staple, for nearly a quarter century.

But how did it start? Well, at the time Wisconsin faced Drew Brees and Purdue on Homecoming on October 10, 1998. And injured tight end Ryan Sondrup, a marketing intern made his mark off the field.

"He gave me a list of songs," Wisconsin Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing and Promotions Kevin Kluender says. "I remember it was on a piece of paper on a spiral notebook with a frayed edge. And it was all these songs. A list of songs, I remember Jump Around was on it. And at the time didn't think a lot of it, other than as soon as we hit the song? The students reacted. Starting jumping. You know, people in the press box were pointing at the student section. The first time and they were into it and they jumped. A lot of energy in the stadium," Kluender said.

The Badgers rocked Purdue, went 11-1, won the Rose Bowl and with that, a legend was born.

"You feel it," Kluender said. "There's a sensation of swing. If you have like a glass of water or a beverage? Like, your beverage will sway in your cup. It's a sensation. If you're not used to it? I know, especially like visiting media and visiting personnel? Like, they're kind of looking around a little bit. But yeah you feel it. It's fun."

According to Kluender, the celebration is a mix of fear and joy depending on crowd participation.

"It's terrifying and fun at the same time, it's wonderful," Kluender said. "If it's swaying, that means the fans are into it and having a good time."

But is it safe in the stadium? A 2004 study claims yes, even though UW geophysics professor Cliff Thurber says the vibrations are quite measurable.

"So what we're actually seeing is the stadium's vibrations shaking the ground, at a frequency that the stadium itself is vibrating," Thurber said.

Since it's deemed safe, it should continue for another two decades plus.

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