The Ugly Truth – Packer Fans
I grew up in California. In fact I grew up exactly in between L.A and San Fran during the era of South Cali teams vs. North Cali teams. Me, personally I was a Joe Montana fan. Eventually, Montana requested a trade and left for Kansas City and Young took over. However, when Montana started with the 9ers in 79′, I was 4 and not even in school yet. When he retired with the Chiefs in 94′, I was 17 and getting ready to graduate high school in Green Bay. While I grew up in California, football was just something on on Sunday. The state is so large they have multiple football teams. A sports team or sports figure is someone you see on the television or wear on your clothing. Football isn’t die hard like it is in Wisconsin or at least is wasn’t back then.
My mother moved my brother and myself to Green Bay when I was in 3rd grade. I had never seen snow or witnessed any temperature below freezing. Grass to me was something brown and crunchy and never got watered unless you wanted a scathing letter about water consumption from the water company. I remember the first time we drove into Green Bay. We came up over Mason Street and went over the drawbridge (something I had never seen before). Then we took the exit to Broadway and went up Lombardi and passed Lambeau Field. What an amazing sight. It was larger and more awe inspiring then anything I had seen before. Now, I had seen Candlestick, Soldier Stadium, Anaheim Stadium, L.A Memorial Stadium, Mount Davis, Texas Stadium etc…and they all have one thing in common. They were all stuck in huge giant cities with giant parking lots and many roads leading in and out. It’s almost like driving into an amusement park. A lot of roads for a lot of traffic. When it’s not game day the stadium just looks sad and alone. Up to then I thought all stadiums looked that way.
Lambeau was and still is special. Of course it wasn’t the building it is now but even back then it was an incredible sight. There were houses and businesses surrounding Lambeau. Some businesses were just locally owned and loved (like Krolls). It looked like someone took and dropped a stadium in the middle of a neighborhood, which made it look like the stadium was always alive even on non game days. There were always people taking pictures or even parking there to walk over and just enjoy the experience. The Packer Hall of Fame was just across the street and the Packers practiced just across the street too. There was and even still is small bleachers set up for the “rail birds” to sit and watch the team practice.
My first Sundays in Green Bay were exciting. Cars lined the neighborhood street with families and friends gathering to watch the game and eat. As you walked along the sidewalk every house echoed the sound of the game. Football was as I had never experienced it before. Stores were nearly void of customers but every radio station and tv was tuned into the game. The area surrounding the stadium was one giant green and gold celebration. One of my fondest memories was being by the stadium at a park, during a game and hearing the roar of the crowd. As a young kid I knew I wanted to be a part of whatever that was, and from that moment on I delved into learning whatever I could about football and the Packers.
I explain all this to you so you can understand my rant. I am a member of several Facebook Packer fan groups. Several Facebook fan sites refuse to let you care about another team. One of these fan groups had a moderator pose the question “Joe Montana is listed as the greatest quarterback ever. What do you think?” I responded with a few things. First I questioned why were we discussing Montana in a Packer fan site and then second I divulged that I was an old school Montana fan. I am not a current 9er fan. I didnt feel admitting that as a kid I was a Montana fan was any different than Packer fans admitting that Montana is the best QB ever. FYI I don’t agree Montana is the greatest QB ever, and I made my case on the site. Myself and the moderator had an exchange and that was that. Until, some users failed to read my previous comments because they are lazy and just read the exchanges and did not bother to read what prompted them. They just assumed that I was a huge 9er fan and on the site to start trouble. I then schooled them and stated that I was in fact a huge Packer fan and probably more so than most. I also stated that I am sure that most Packer fans are also fans of other players. Some claimed that no they are not fans of any non Packers. I TOTALLY CALL BULL@$?&.
Why must we absolutely have no other players we can root for or HAVE rooted for. Can we not enjoy another team? Now I dislike the Vikings, Lions, Bears or Cowboys as much as any other Packer fan….I’m not a fan of any of those players or teams. I just can’t get myself to do it, but to call me a band wagon fan is complete and utter crap. I can quote statistics more than 90% of the fan base. I watch the combine, the draft, every game and NFL channel Packer show and record which ones are legal to and re-watch them throughout the year. I am the first one to turn on the Packer pre game on Sunday and Larry McCarren to hear his thoughts. (FYI Mr.McCarren grew up near Soldier Field and went to college in Illinois. What’s the chances one of our most loved Packers and voice of the Packers was a Bear fan as a kid? Think about that?) Now, my kids and spouse think it is funny how upset I get when the team is playing badly or when something goes wrong. My daughter is also now a fan and has taken to asking me about different rules, positions, history and such because I am the authority of such in my family.
Fans who look down on other people because they grew up in another state and was a fan of another player of another team are narrow minded and sheltered in their bubble. They are the people who precipitate hate and bigotry in the world we live in now. There are many Packer fans in not only the United States but the World. Look at the first Packer pre-game from this year in Tennessee. The stadium was near empty but the fans that were there were all wearing green and gold. At one point all you heard was “Go Pack Go!” and cheering when the Pack recovered a fumble, in a stadium in Tennessee for goodness sake. I’m sure not all those fans from Saturday all grew up with Packer fan parents but they are fans now and that’s all that matters. If they are a fair weather fan then that’s something they will have to live with. Can they answer the questions How many SB rings did Herb Adderly win and which one does he refuse to wear? Or, who was the original voice of the Packers? These are questions that only a “true die hard to the heart I live and breathe all things Packer” fan would know the answer to (and yes I do know the answers). So before you start calling out people because they were a fan of a player as a KID maybe you should consider what qualities makes a good fan? Is it their undying devotion to the team today or does it matter that 20 years ago they looked up to a player in a state they LIVED in 2000 miles away?
We are deemed as some of the friendliest fans in the NFL (FYI on 8/20/2014 Forbes Magazine named Green Bay Packer Fans the Best Fans in the NFL) so we should be open and friendly to all fans of the Pack….so before you start turning fans away remember that you are representing the Green Bay Packers, Green Bay, Wisconsin, Curly Lambeau, Vince Lombardi, and the rest of Packer fans….so go by the saying all our mothers used to say to all of us. If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.
And that my friends is the ugly truth….