I know of at least four people I love who will cringe when they see this post due to their belief that football and its fans are a feces smear on the marble floor of civilization’s bathroom. Oh sure, they have inklings that I attend Superbowl parties just to “socialize”. But the time has come for me to jump out of that fan closet, wearing my cheesehead and a glittering green and gold #4 painted on my chest. I am a Packer fan. I have been engrossed, enraged and impassioned with football for way more than one season. And I cheered like an obnoxious construction worker because I loved this man.
I wasn’t always a Packer fan. My father was an artist and not your typical Pabst drinkin’, football watchin’ WI fellow. Our idea of Sunday sports was hiking and bicycling. Quiet sports. And in September of ’92, I was too busy figuring out where the hell I was going in life to give a rat’s ass about the new kid who signed on with the Packers.
It wasn’t until 1996 that I was submerged into the revelry of fanatic behavior. The place was San Diego. A good friend invited me over for Sunday morning Bloody Marys and some football. I settled in on their tattered bachelor pad couch. Hello, what’s this!?! I don’t remember Packers EVER being ruggedly handsome. From what I recall, Lynn Dickey looked a little like Dudley Moore…
Almost every Sunday for the next three seasons found this token Wisconsinite on that couch or a barstool watching football by 10:00 a.m. (Packer games air early on the west coast), adult beverage of choice in one hand, Pipe’s breakfast burrito in the other. Those were carefree Sundays. No cramming for exams, no parental guilt. We were a mixed bunch of 20- somethings, some natives of the land of “Dude, high five!”, some misplaced cynics wondering how we ended up there. We were Packers, Patriots, Cowboys, Niners, and Redskins fans. And one seriously creepy Steelers fan who somehow just kept silently appearing on the tattered couch. And seeing my kinfolk in Lambeau Field gave me a goofy sense of connection to home. I was ever so proud of my cheeseheadedness.
After Superbowl XXXII, mistakes and wake-up calls caused both Favre and I to reassess our futures. Although he admitted it way earlier than I did, Favre and I shared a penchant for abusing alcohol. It was time to grow.
And that we did, Favre and I. We ceased some questionable behavior before it pushed loved ones too far away, or killed us. We got smarter and worked harder. But we both entered adulthood without letting go of the little kid inside. It’s the childlike spirit that has made us wiser, happier adults.
And that’s why Brett Favre was a pleasure to watch, interceptions and all. He’s the reason why I became a fan. I won’t ignorantly spout off stats or argue if Favre was the best quarterback in NFL history. No, mine is a personal, estrogen-influenced tribute. And after watching this charismatic, hottie quarterback jump around on the field like a big kid for 17 seasons, I am sad to see him go.
And a young, curly haired woman with a sunburnt nose, Bloody Mary in one hand, Pipe’s breakfast burrito in the other, follows him out the door….