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Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself...My Name Is

Jed Wilkinson, Social Studies Teacher and Purdue Alumni...sorry, not nearly as exciting as Jay Z.

Hello Boilermaker faithful and fellow SB Nation guests! As one of the newest members of the Hammer and Rails family, I wanted to take a few moments to introduce myself and my journey here to SB Nation’s Hammer and Rails community.

I grew up in West Lafayette and attended Harrison High School where I would eventually enroll at Purdue University in the fall of 2002. As the youngest of four siblings, I was the fourth to attend Purdue where I would eventually (best six years of my life…no I didn’t change my major) get my bachelors degree as a social studies educator (I’ll always remember it as LAEB).

During my time at Purdue I was a four year member of the Purdue All American Marching Band where I was privileged enough to be named one of the drum majors during the 2004-2005 season (yes, I was literally leading the band during ‘the fumble’). I was also able to parlay that understanding of the gameday atmosphere at Purdue to being the first live DJ during a college football game in 2012. Being on the field for the Notre Dame game that year was amazing as that was probably the only time from 2012-2016 (I refuse to say what era that was) the stadium was sold out.

Yes, that is me DJ’ing at Ross Ade Stadium. Yes, my DJ name was RetroPunk. I was just there trying to help Boilers through an awful 1-11 season.
Michael Takeda, The Exponent

Currently, I teach at Harrison High School while also raising two sons with my wife. We recently were married in the summer of 2022 and I have enjoyed taking them all to Purdue sporting events so they can experience the love and passion that we all share as Boilermaker fans. Having the chance to raise kids in the shadow of Purdue University has been better than I could have ever imagined. From fountain runs (why did they have to put the sheath on the engineering fountain?) to trips to the Union Building to go bowling and get food, Purdue University is a special place for all of us who got the privilege to attend one of the great academic institutions in the country.

I have so many wonderful memories of Purdue sporting events. From rushing the field twice during the magical Rose Bowl year under Joe Tiller and Drew Brees (I sat on the 50 yard line about 5 rows up during the Michigan game when the student section was giving Drew Henson the business), watching Seth Morales that same year making one of the most magical plays in college football history, marching in my first bowl game in El Paso, TX at the Sun Bowl in 2002, to pretty much any B1G game inside Mackey Arena (it really is a special place for all of us Boilermakers). However, one certain event stands out more than most to me personally.

Although this may sound odd because it was eventually a game Purdue would lose 42-14 to the eventual #2 Ohio State Buckeyes at home, it was one of the first times I really remembered going to a sporting event with my dad where I really understood why he wanted to be there. My father played college football for two seasons at Illinois State in the 60’s and he played linebacker and center. So when OSU was coming to Purdue and he told me he had tickets his response to my indifference was, ‘I’m not going to watch Purdue. I am going to watch Orlando Pace. You should watch him because he might be the best college offensive lineman you’ll ever see.’ For the first time, my dad pointed out the intricacies involved with playing offensive line and I watched an absolute clinic by Pace all day long. Getting to remember the stories my dad told about his playing time in high school and eventually for a few seasons at Illinois State is something I’ll always cherish, especially since 2023 will mark twenty years since he passed away.

I look forward to sharing my perspectives and opinions on Boilermaker sports with you all here at Hammer and Rails. I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes from an all time Boilermaker. ‘Until I’m actually dead, I’m still living.’ Tyler Trent. Boiler Up! Hammer Down! Hail Purdue! (Hey, What Time Is It…..?)