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Not Too Busy to Say “Go Pack”

It’s been over a year since I last wrote something. It was a busy year. But that’s what everyone says. When I was single I was busy, then I got married and wondered what I did with all the free time I had. Then I got three kids and wondered how I ever thought I was busy. I’m going to go right out on a limb on my first writing in over a year and make a bold statement. If you are not dressing at least one person smaller than you each day you are not busy. Sorry, pet loving friends. Sorry, busy important attorney. Sorry, two job working person.  I give you my word, as soon as that damn little person in my house can put on her own attire I will fall back to the ranks of the unbusy. I will never lament how busy I am. I promise. Please, please let her be able to put on her own pants.

Believe it or not, people talking about how busy they are isn’t what prompted me to write again. Last Saturday the Green Bay Packers advanced in the playoffs. Yes, I am a Packer fan. It’s the perfect thing for me to be a fan of. I don’t have to pay attention for weeks on end and still can jump in at any time with pure Packer fan powered enthusiasm. It’s sort of like being Catholic.

I’m not a fan of any other sports. Occasionally I will watch the last part of a basketball game. Baseball bores me to death. Soccer makes me tired just watching. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the athleticism and all that. I just couldn’t care less about following sports. Every year it just all starts over again. I should also say that I don’t mind going to watch an occasional game. I’ll even go to a baseball game if it’s a nice day and someone will promise me a hotdog. But, I watch the Packers every chance I get during the season. Why is this?

I was talking to my next door neighbor who is a music teacher. She’s a huge Vikings fan. Everyone has their own cross to bear. She actually road tripped to the Packer-Viking wild card game that the Packers won. How sad for her.  She was telling me that none of her friends get why she is crazy about her team. Other musicians don’t get why she’s “into” sports. Before musicians around the world start clambering on about how they love sports too, let me just say, I know musicians also love sports. But let’s be real for a couple moments and just point out that the arts do not foster the sports. I know that because I have one foot in that world. And it’s ok – you sports hating art freaks. So why did I latch onto this one sport? Probably for the same reason my neighbor did. It brings back good memories.

In the 1970’s, during my formative football years, the Green Bay Packers were pure unadulterated crap. But, still we watched them every weekend. At half time my brother and I would go out and throw around the football because the action on the TV had activated something in our boy heads that wouldn’t allow us to wait until the end of the game. I would play Lynn Dickey, the quarterback, and if rushed too aggressively, I would do what Lynn Dickey did. I would intentionally ground the ball. We could only laugh about the years of frustration.

For Christmas I got a football on a long bunge cord that was endorsed by Fran Tarkenton. Lynn Dickey wasn’t endorsing anything that I knew of. Four times we watched the Purple People Eaters go to the big game. Maybe they shouldn’t have been eating people, because apparently it was causing them to choke. And choke is what I did the first time I launched my bunge corded football to an imaginary receiver. I guess I don’t know what I expected. The bunge was held to the garage wall with an eye screw. I watched as my impressive spiral mystically flew away from me like a restful dream appearing as an NFL highlight. Then a moment later it came careening back in my face. I threw up my hands, but the slippery rubber football slid by my hands and wrapped around my neck and continuing past me to break a garage window. There I stood, with a cord around my neck and my perfectly feathered-in-the-middle-1976-hair all a muss.

The following year, when I was thirteen and still working on perfecting the feathered look, my dad got tickets to a Packers game. My brothers and I went with my dad, my uncle, my cousin and grandfather. Now this was living. If I could achieve perfectly feathered hair and see the Packers win in Lambeau Field anything could be possible. Maybe the cute blond haired girl that sat in front of me in English class would talk to me – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

It was winter in Wisconsin and there was snow at the game. We got there early to do some tailgating, then went into the stadium. I still remember the view of walking into the stands and looking over Lambeau Field. It was three notches above first looking at high definition television – and 3D to boot. Since we got deals on the tickets they weren’t all together. We were split into twos. I ended up going with my grandfather – probably the funniest person I have ever known, outside of professional comedians who I don’t know. My grandfather was not one hundred percent in tune with age appropriate things. For example, once I was visiting my grandparents farm and he got his pickup truck stuck in mud. I was ten. He said he was going to get the tractor and pull it out. He asked if I could drive. I said sure. It was exciting and nerve racking. This was the perfect gentleman to watch a packer game with.

As we started to watch the game, the snow continued to fall. This was late November in Wisconsin. As the snow continued to fall, my grandfather pulled out a small bottle of something green. Upon closer analysis I saw that it was lime vodka. Once again, this was late November in Wisconsin. He took a swig of the lime vodka, pulled it away from his face and grimaced. He told me it was terrible. Then, in my grandfather’s true form, looking to me as his equal – possibly because I steered his truck out of the mud three years prior – and asked politely if I wanted it.

I was thirteen with my feathered hair safely protected from the elements by my winter packer hat. I looked like every other fan with snow piled on their heads and coats zipped up to their chins. I never had the alcohol before and what a way to start – with one of my favorite people their by my side. I was drunk with the idea of being a little drunk. I had no idea what it would do, but it seemed like some kind of golden opportunity. Then it hit me. Wait a second, he thinks it tastes like crap so he wants to give it to me. I know what the taste of lime is. I assumed that vodka taste like crap by itself and I wasn’t a big fan of lime. All of a sudden this seemed like a lose-lose situation for my taste buds. My grandfather was still holding it as all this zipped through my frozen feathered head. I said, “No, thanks. I’m ok.” I think the guy behind him overheard the exchange and it was gone faster than you can say “Drunken Packer Fan”.

Maybe this is one of the reasons I like the Packers and no other sporting events. All I can say is I’m glad my dad never took us to a baseball game, because I don’t think I could fathom being a baseball fan. There’s not enough lime vodka in the world to make that sport interesting to me.

Maybe I can write something next week, even though I’m very, very busy putting pants on tiny people and yelling, “Go Pack.”

1 comment

  1. jspaff says:

    Thanks Big Top, if that is in fact your name. A new post will be up tomorrow and I think you will thoroughly enjoy it – that is, if you have the opportunity to read it.

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