For those of you who follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter who aren’t Green Bay Packer fans, or worse yet, if you’re the sort of person who deplores the whole idea of grown men dressing up in helmets and leggings and royally beating each other to a pulp week after week, thank you for your patience.
I know this time of year, complete with all the requisite “Go Team!” posts, is the stuff your bad dreams are made of, so I can’t thank you enough for staying the course and not “unfriending” me. Ditto for anyone who happens to love the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, all teams I’m happy to take potshots at whenever it’s appropriate.
In case you’ve ever wondered why I love football, the NFL variety in particular, I thought I’d take a minute to explain. First of all, let me say that my football fandom could be much worse. I’ve lived in Texas for the past four years now, and I still don’t know if I should be rooting for the Aggies or Baylor or SMU or TCU. I’ve also never watched a single episode of “Friday Night Lights,” which I heard was a practically a prerequisite for crossing the state line.
Now that I’ve returned from my regularly scheduled tangent, lemme explain why this girl, the same girly girl who loves purses and pumpkin spice lattes and anything sparkly, is a devoted Cheesehead for life. My reasoning is simple. It’s because I’ve loved this team, really good, really, really bad and otherwise, ever since I was a kid.
Not only do I have such wonderful memories of watching with my dad, mom, brother and sister (and I’m sure we were about the loudest, most enthusiastic fans on our block), but a Packer game was always something fun to look forward to in the dead of winter. And for anyone who’s been to—or lived in—Wisconsin, you immediately understand how important that is because the subzero temperatures and snow stay around for what feels like years. Basically, if there wasn’t football, we might all freeze into a giant blob and never surface again.
When you grow up in Wisconsin like I did, being a Packer fan is practically a given; but when you’ve watched them as long as I have, you can’t help appreciating—and adoring—how they’re different from any other team in the league.
I meet diehard Packer fans everywhere I’ve lived and everywhere I travel, and it’s not just because we’ve got a phenomenal quarterback who moonlights as the Discount Double Check guy. It’s because we’re a small market team with a pretty legendary history, fiercely loyal fans (cue those iconic foam hats in the shape of cheddar) and lots of heart. Plus, any team with fans who are willing to go shirtless when it’s -20, well, that’s another level of dedication, right?
Speaking of dedication, I love how the Packers make it work with whomever they’ve got on the roster. We’ve never had the hotshot wide receiver (although Jordy Nelson should be considered one) or the running back on the level of Barry Sanders or Adrian Peterson, but we’re always scrappy. We never have the coolest guys in the league either (see: Colin Kaepernick or Brandon Marshall or DeSean Jackson or Tom Brady), but you can bet we’ve got players with beer bellies and mullets and at least one guy who looks like an actual viking—not the kind that Minnesota claims as its own, mind you. Truth be told, the Packers are always this motley crew of misfits with last names the masses can’t pronounce, and yet you can never quite count them out.
To wit, who would’ve thought they’d win that Super Bowl back in 2010?
The Packers are the team that never looks right on paper but finds a way to dominate our division year after year anyway. And no respect to Victor Cruz, but our touchdown celebrations, namely those Lambeau Leaps, are far superior to whatever salsa moves you’re attempting.
In my eyes, not to be confused with the Peter Gabriel song, the Packers (sorry, Dallas) will always be America’s Team. And whether I’m 8 or 108, I can’t help looking forward to watching them every week—preferably with a big bowl of homemade chili topped with, what else? Lots and lots of cheddar cheese. :)