Elevated effort

Alumna Jen Lada wins an Emmy for reporting on the origins of the Jump Around sports phenomenon

Since the first time House of Pain’s Jump Around blared through speakers at Camp Randall Stadium in 1998, the bouncing bodies that ensured have been cemented among the best traditions in college football. For decades, the playing of the song has brought delirium to the start of the fourth quarter at Badgers home games, and created a phenomenon that’s been sampled by stadiums and fan bases around the country, including Golden Eagles fans at Fiserv Forum.

So, how did all the hoopla get started? Seeking answers, Jen Lada, Comm ’02, a features reporter for ESPN‘s College GameDay, traveled to Madison, Wisconsin, to chronicle the brainstorming that occurred at Wando‘s Bar when two then-Badgers players learned they could help update the songs played during game breaks. It‘s an origin fitting the state of Wisconsin, to be sure, and in Lada‘s hand, a story worthy of a 2023 Sports Emmy, which she received in New York City in May.

“I think that (backstory) is the element that makes it unique from other traditions you might see across college football,” Lada says. Detailing the roots of the iconic tradition in time for its 25th anniversary, she interviewed former Wisconsin tight end and athletics department marketing intern Ryan Sondrup, who with another player tending bar at Wando‘s, Erik Waisanen, recognized the potential of Jump Around — with its signature horn salute and “monkey screams” — to pump up fans and players. Her report also features House of Pain front man Everlast, making his first trip to Madison to soak in his song‘s effect on 80,000 delighted fans.

“It felt very special to be … living in Wisconsin and knowing so many of my neighbors and people in my community would appreciate this story on an even greater level,” says Lada, who co-hosts a morning radio show on ESPN Milwaukee. Her Emmy is her second individually and fifth overall. “To be recognized amongst the best storytellers in the sports world on the national level and win, it’s a pretty incredible feeling.”