According to reports over the past several weeks, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association might be moving the state high school basketball tournaments to Ashwaubenon/Green Bay because the Resch Center, the basketball arena there, can guarantee access on the desired dates, and amenities like parking are more abundant and less expensive than in Madison.
Know where else parking is cheap and plentiful? Saskatchewan.
Some have been eager to criticize Barry Alvarez and the UW athletic department for not being more accommodating of the WIAA to keep the tournaments in Madison. But it's the WIAA that has so vocally prioritized convenience over everything else in shopping for a tournament venue. And the thing about convenience is that it's usually in short supply in interesting places.
For the last five years, I've taken a two-day vacation every March to immerse myself in the boys state tournament at the Kohl Center. Between sessions, I like to wander up State Street to find dinner, often alongside high school kids whose naiveté is simultaneously comical and enviable. It's for that experience, as much as for the games themselves, that I so eagerly recommend experiencing Madison's version of March Madness in person. The scene downtown serves as a fountain of youth.
State Street is a colorful, busy and fun place to be, even without the gangs of kids in letter jackets and face paint. That's why people enjoy eating, drinking and being entertained there, which is what they're looking to do between state tournament games, I'm told. It's also why ingenuity, patience and a little grit are often useful in landing a parking space downtown.