Since we've been back in Wisconsin we've been setting up our house, visiting family, going to a wedding, riding in our boat, and the list continues as we settle into our new, but old, state. Top on the list of things to do once we moved back was a trip to the Mecca of Wisconsin, Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
Growing up as a child one had no choice but to root for the Green Bay Packers, or if you weren't a fan, you had no choice but to endure the ones next to you rooting for the Green Bay Packers. My childhood memories are filled with Sunday afternoons of my dad and brother yelling at the TV when the Packers were on. When the Packers were losing, they'd yell. When the Packers were winning, they'd yell. The Green Bay Packers have established a long term love-hate relationship with fans and their family members on the sidelines.
When I married my husband, the Sunday afternoon drama continued. No matter how far we moved from the Green Bay Packers, or how little he was able to watch any games, he maintained the love-hate relationship with the team.
I must confess here, I didn't get it.
I lived in the middle of it, but I still didn't get it.
The energy and stress a Packers fan feels, some of the people I love and hold dear, baffled me.
Sure, I enjoy the games. Sure, I got caught up in the excitement of the 90's team and the recent Aaron Rodgers led championship team, and even made fun of the folks that only became Packers fans when they were winning. I'd say, "You have no idea what it really means to be a true Packers fan. Sure, it's easy to love them when they're winning, but you haven't really been a fan until you've endured the team, through the decades of loss, bad coaches, and the hope of 'Next year.'"
I saw the devotion of the diehard fans, lived with them, suffered through the personal sense of loss they feel when the Pack lose.
I got it, but I didn't get it.
But then, we went to Lambeau Field.
I'm not a diehard fan, even after the visit, but....
I get it now.
There's a history to the team I learned that makes sense as to why the state goes crazy from August through January, and then continues through the spring. The analyzing of the draft, the injured list, the this and the that of all things Packers. It really never ends.
Yeah, there are folks who go alittle over the top and use the Packers as an excuse to get drunk and party and have a good time. But the root of the team, the story behind how they've endured in a multimillion dollar industry and they are owned by regular people, not corporations or wealthy owners is really fascinating.
I've gained a new appreciation for the Pack. I've gained a new appreciation for the fans.
Yeah, they get crazy and loud and rude and let a game rule their emotions for a few hours or days or months, or even years, but the root of what makes the Packers and the fans special is really something special.
So here's a little piece of our tour. Hope you enjoy and Go Pack Go!
Driving down Lombardi Ave. There IT is!
One of the first things we saw when we entered the doors of the Atrium was a replica of Lambeau field made entirely of Legos.
Then we got to go up to the club level. Yeah, we'll only get to sit up here when....NEVER! (Except on a tour)!
The good seats.
After living the good life we got to go down to the bowels of Lambeau Field.
Listening to our guide tell us the story of the tunnel. Many, many, many Packers have walked this corridor. We got to walk it with the recorded sounds of cheering fans playing around us. Goosebumps, I admit it.
The Pack come out these doors from the locker room.
My husband, the kid.
And then we're there. The hallowed ground of Lambeau field!
These men were from England. This is the look they had on their faces after our tour guide let us try out the acoustics of Lambeau with a loud, "Go Pack Go!" They didn't seem to share the same thrill the rest of us had!
The day we were there Coach Mike McCarthy, in the offices at top left, was making the final cuts to the roster. Wouldn't want his job.
Packers Players parking lot. Fans sitting outside the gate waiting for players to stop as they drove through the gate and, hopefully, sign autographs. We think the guys that drove right past the fans had been cut!
Don't know who this is.
After lunch at Curly's Pub we went through the Packers Hall of Fame. Not nearly the thrill of the stadium tour but still a nice tour. Of course the Mom in me is always touched by the Moms of others, even the famous ones. How hard it must be to be a mom of a coach or a player!
And then, of course, one of four Superbowl trophies, bearing Coach Lombardi's name.
Go Pack Go!