One of the first things people will tell you about me is that I’m a huge Packers fan. And by the gods, they would be so right. I won’t sugar coat it or humbly chuckle that I watch from time to time. I’m in it for the long haul.
Some people don’t understand how such a base passion can take root in another person. Why not spend time worrying about things that are within my control? Because I do that so much that I’m ready to put some stock into something completely out of my hands. Sure, you could argue that the butterfly effect is involved so nothing is every completely out of my control, but you get it.
If the Packers are having a bad game, I get into a mindset unlike any other. Normally I’m decently rational when it comes to bad things happening (unless we’re talking about Heroes of the Storm, then my wife complains that I get far too invested). Yet when the Packers go down 0-7 to start a game suddenly the world is ending.
Something about the way things usually go during the course of a football game just has me throwing up my hands and going “Ugh, we’re already in a bad spot.” Even with CLEAR examples of the Packers coming back from awful deficits, I feel like there’s no way to get out.
A Clear Example
Yet I love it.
Those brisk Sunday afternoons in fall when the air is just cold enough to toss a ball outside and not break a sweat. When I can throw on my jeans, long sleeved shirt, and jersey and not sweat like a crazy person. It’s possibly my favorite time of year almost entirely due to the combination of the fall air and football.
I dive in. If I first meet you the first thing I’ll probably recall is when you tell me where you’re from. Most of the time I’ll say something like, “Oh, you’re from Chicago? How is life as a Bears fan?” Most of the time people aren’t that big into football or only follow local teams.
But why am I such an avid fan?
Well to me football is a melding point for a lot of things. My family, my passion, and my friends.
My family on both sides have roots that go back generations in Wisconsin. Most of them have been Packers fans since they were able to understand what football was. I’ve heard stories about the Ice Bowl or Superbowl 1 from my uncles and grandparents. They’ve told me all about watching Bart Starr. They’ve relayed the passion they had for the sport to me and I feel like I’m carrying that passion forward.
My friends love that I’m so into it. They sit down with me on Sunday, Monday, or Thursday (whenever the Packers play) and pick my mind. Why did we call this play? Where is this player? How has this player been doing this year? How do we match up here? Being able to give light to some questions people have gives me lots of joy.
Then there’s my passion. Just ask my wife how passionate I get about things I love. Ew, not like that. At least not that I’ll tell you. I’m talking about the fact that I’ll be making references about the show she just showed me for weeks on end until we get into something else.
That’s how I’ve been with football since 2007.
I can tell you the exact moment I started caring about the Packers. Not a lot of people remember the exact moment, most of the time it’s “I was into it because my family was.” While my family has been into the Packers (and one brother into the Patriots) I have never been big on it.
Until my best friend Juan decided to shit talk the Packers. It was the birth of a monster.
Late November 2007, after Thanksgiving, the two teams were coming in with only one loss each. Packers buzz was all over the school and as someone who didn’t really know anything beyond “Favre is god” I was sort of in the dark.
Well Juan comes strutting up like he owns the place and declares, “There’s no way the Packers win against the Cowboys this week.”
That was all it took. One small sentiment changed it all.
I wish I could say that things went my way that week / year, but alas:
My First Packers Game – Still Hurts!
Unfortunately, the Cowboys came out on top that day. I remember being in love with the way things were presented, the flow of the game, the chess match.
I also noted that a young guy came out and proved that he had something to say. This was one of the earliest looks at Aaron Rodgers in a competitive game ever. He had come in a few times but in blowout situations. I noticed how calm he was on every play and it really spoke to the future without Favre.
Since then, I’ve become such an avid fan that I learn more about each team and the sport every year. The drama between teams, the players who have grudges, and the number of years someone has done or not done something. It’s all so interesting.
I’ll find myself doodling charts of Packer games and my thoughts on them. For the most part, if we’re going into a week against a team, I can tell you exactly why I hate that team this week.
“They beat us last time by a small margin.”
“The last time we met, this guy burned us big.”
“This guy looked at the camera funny, now I want their team to lose every game ever.”
I’ve always been such a petty fan when it comes to why I cheer against teams. Why here, take a look at my list!
- Bears: They’re our “rivals” but are so bad it would give them nothing but joy to beat us. Don’t want to have that.
- Lions: Have given us a few scares lately and always are in contention against the Pack. Don’t like the attitude their fans have.
- Vikings: Biggest shit talkers in the league. They’ll pound their chest all day and have nothing to prove for it.
- Seahawks: So many reasons to hate them. Fail Mary game and NFC Championship 2014. Bad memories and arrogant players.
- Cowboys: Juan’s team. I don’t like losing to these guys especially when Juan is around to brag about it. Just good old fashioned rivalry.
- Falcons: Dirty god damn Falcons. They made a comment back in 2010 when we owned them and it’s stuck with me. That and they just kicked our “Run the Table” asses out of the playoffs bad. Super happy they lost the big one.
- 49ers: When they were at their peak a few years ago, we just couldn’t beat them. Now they’re just a wisp of what once was.
- Patriots: My brother is a Partiots fan so there’s a bit of shit talking. But I can’t hate the team that stopped the Seahawks and Falcons from winning the Super Bowl.
- Giants: Used to hate them since they beat Favre my first year watching football and Rodgers when he was at his mega-peak. Now it’s meh.
Either way, I can tell you ANY team’s beef with us (even if only in my own mind.)
I could go on and on about my favorite moments, the Super Bowl run of 2010, the heartbreaks ever since, or players who have come and gone. The topic is one of my favorites and it SUCKS that I have to wait until September to get some real football back.
Go Pack Go.