Badgers’ very own ‘Spidey’

Badgers’ very own ‘Spidey’

first_imgView Gallery (2 Photos)From the football field with 80,000-plus fans and NFL scoutslooking on, to mint-condition Spider-Man action figures and a Spider-Manblanket staring down from their positions on the wall; from watching film onthe team’s next opponent to watching the comedic classic “The Little Rascals,”senior wide receiver Paul Hubbard lives two separate lives — just like his heroSpider-Man.”I’m a football player on Saturdays and a nerd the rest ofthe time,” said Hubbard, gleaming with pride before his stacks upon stacks ofcartoons and Spider-Man memorabilia.Standing 6-foot-4 and donning sweats, the lanky Hubbardpractically gives away the fact he’s an athlete. Upon entering his apartment,the impression is all together different: He’s a kid with a ridiculous hobby.At first glance, Hubbard’s lair looks more like a museum, orpossibly a Spider-Man gift shop. He hopes to have a room devoted to all of hisSpider-Man stuff when he gets a place of his own. Everywhere you look there’ssome homage to his idol.”He’s absolutely in love with [Spider-Man]. There’s noquestion about it,” said senior tight end Andy Crooks, who roomed with Hubbardlast year.It’s no coincidence that Spider-Man is his favoritesuperhero.From the outset Hubbard was intent on climbing and bouncingoff walls. He claims that he skipped a lot of stages, transitioning fromcrawling around on the floor, to running and climbing over chairs, tables —anything that stood in his path.”What are you doing!?” Paul Hubbard Sr. remembers saying.”Calm down! You’re just so hyper!”Because of his borderline hyperactive behavior, his dad, whoidolized the web-slinger himself in his younger years, dubbed him Spider-Man.The connection stuck.In high school, Hubbard didn’t exactly have any meat on hisbones. Coupled with an almost superhuman ability in the triple jump — the elderHubbard remembers his son coming within inches of jumping clear out of thesandpit on one particular occasion — the name Spider-Man only seemed natural.It didn’t hurt that he began collecting everything andanything that had his web slinging idol on it.Beyond the physical similarities linking Hubbard with PeterParker, they both share the same value system just as they both have duties to uphold in their respective professions. “With great power comes greatresponsibility” is the catchphrase of Spider-Man’s entire existence. It’s apretty good indicator of how Hubbard views his own life.”That’s really true especially being in the spotlight asmuch as guys like us are,” Hubbard said. “You know that wherever you go, peopleare watching you. High-school students are watching what you’re doing and are probablygoing to end up doing the same thing.”It’s a very true movie quote and something that all of uscan live by.”Always smiling, always pleasant, Hubbard laughs when askedif he too has a dark side. “I’m not a perfect angel, no way, I still like go out andhave fun, but I do know when there is a limit to that,” Hubbard said.The mistakes that he has made throughout the course of hislife are his equivalent of the black suit.Whereas Batman is a multibillion dollar man and has it made,and Superman is invincible and not of this earth, Spider-Man is the mostidentifiable superhero, according to Hubbard.”No other superhero holds a candle to him,” Hubbard said.”He has bills to pay, he can’t hold onto a job and has relationship problems.”On top of that, he gets crap from his peers for beingclumsy, timid and a nerd.Listening to Hubbard retell the storyline of Spider-Man,it’s like he’s telling the tale of his own life growing up as the son of twoparents in the Army.His parents were stationed in Germany for much of Hubbard’s childhood,and since they were in the service, he moved where they were sent. Needless tosay, Hubbard didn’t have the same opportunity as some do to build lastingfriendships.Instead, he spent his time starting his collection of hisbeloved superhero and latching onto the values the comic series taught.”Watching the TV shows, watching the movies, you learn thosevalues that you can apply to your own life and make that show a reality,” Hubbardrecalls.As for the girl, Hubbard doesn’t particularly agree withPeter Parker’s taste in women, especially in the motion picture.”Peter Parker was just ‘chasing the dream’ when he wentafter the popular, image hungry Mary Jane,” Hubbard said. “I don’t know abouther. I didn’t think she was good for Peter to start, but then I guess sheworked.”Even now, as evidenced by the mountainous stack ofSpider-Man video games, T-shirts and everything else, the charismatic Hubbard’sstill a kid.”Some people would say, ‘You’re 22 years old. What are youdoing with all these cartoons? You’ve got toys hanging off your walls,'”Hubbard said.”I like to do thingsa lot of little kids like to do.”And nearly everyone, it seems, has caught on. Teammates andfriends provoke Hubbard to go out and buy new gear all the time. At the CapitalOne Bowl last year, John Stocco, then the quarterback of the Wisconsin offense,told the networks that he was trying to get the ball to “Paul aka Spider-Man.”A little bit over the top? His dad thinks so. Crooks laughs.Hubbard holds back a grin and says “nah.”If given the chance, he would still fancy running up anddown the aisles of Toys “R” Us to play with all the various gadgets and Nerfguns on display.But even kids know when it’s time to straighten up and getserious. Now is that time. “Because I am still a kid, I feel like that when it is timefor me to have kids I’m going to be a better father because it’ll be easier torelate to them,” Hubbard said.Saturday will be the last time Spidey throws on his costume(Wisconsin uniform) before the Camp Randall faithful. Paul Sr., Hubbard’sanswer to Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben, will be in attendance for the first time.”I’m just antsy to see my pops again,” Hubbard said. “Ihaven’t seen him in so long so I’m thinking there can’t be anything that’sgoing to stop me from having a good game because my dad’s out there.””Right now he’s there on Cloud 9,” the elder Hubbard said.His father’s emotions are right there with his son.”My Spidey sense is going wild,” he joked. “I can’t wait toget there and watch him play.”last_img

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