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Chromodynamics at Camp Randall
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badgerwolf Offline
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Hey Guys -- The Badgers are painting the visiting locker room a light blue color to sway the outcome of the football game. I hope UCF bites and get their butts kicked all over Camp Randall. The wife and I will be there to enjoy the spectacle!

04-cheers 04-bow 04-cheers

Baggot: Does seeing blue make you a wuss?

12:24 am 8/31/04
Andy Baggot Wisconsin State Journal

Imagine, if you will, a handful of men gazing intently at paint swatches.

They are working together on an extremely large project. They have done research on color schemes and want a specific sensory effect. Their final options are taped to a wall in an expansive, newly constructed room. The choice they make could affect University of Wisconsin football fans everywhere.

If you think this is a localized script for "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," guess again.

It is the process, orchestrated by UW-Madison football coach and Athletic Director Barry Alvarez, by which the new visitors' locker room at Camp Randall Stadium came to be, um, decorated.

Scientists have found that real physiological changes take place in people when they are exposed to certain colors. Some colors can stimulate and excite. Others can depress and tranquilize. The phenomenon is known as "chromodynamics."

Blue is a passive color that represents tranquility and conservatism. Dr. Morton Walker wrote in his book "The Power of Color" that blue can "slow the pulse rate, lower body temperature, and reduce appetite." Red, yellow and orange are generally considered high-arousal colors. Blue, green and most violets are regarded as low-arousal colors.

Not that members of the Camp Randall Interior Decorating Club dug this deeply into the matter. Barry Fox, the director of facilities for the UW Athletic Department, had come across the fact that many prisons are painted in a light shade of blue, apparently because of its soothing nature.

Fox passed this on to the rest of the committee, which was composed of Alvarez, Chadima, associate athletic director for communications Steve Malchow and Jim Schumacher, the project executive for Cullen-Smith Construction. They got samples from architects on the renovation project and considered three shades of blue before opting for the one that was used in the locker room, located in the bowels of the south end zone.

"It will be interesting to see if it becomes a story or a distraction," Chadima said, innocently.

To know Chadima is to know there was an audible smirk in his voice. It was about 20 years ago, when Chadima was a student manager for the Iowa football team, that he participated in a similar psychology experiment. Alvarez, then an assistant coach with the Hawkeyes, took part as well.

At the direction of former Iowa coach Hayden Fry, Chadima was on a crew that painted the visiting locker room at Kinnick Stadium a sensuous shade of pink. The suggestion of femininity was hardly subtle.

No one got more bent out of shape by the decor than former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler, who angrily dispatched his student managers to cover the walls with butcher paper the night before the teams met.

Guess who won the game.

"I learned that it was not so much the pink color, but the distraction," Chadima said. "Hayden used that to the hilt. Bo absolutely took the bait."

In other words, if anyone from Central Florida, UNLV, Penn State, Illinois, Northwestern and Minnesota - the schools coming to Camp Randall this season - gives the blue hue of the visitors' locker room a moment's notice, the desired effect will have been achieved.

Research shows the worst thing UW-Madison officials could have done is use their school colors in the decorating process. Red has been shown to rile up the senses and jack up the blood pressure. Studies show people will gamble more and make riskier bets at a casino when seated under a red light as opposed to a blue one.

And what's the color scheme of the Badgers' home locker room? The walls are mostly white.
08-31-2004 01:40 PM
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