This weekend was weird, and not just because I was stuck inside battling the symptoms of strep throat and a sinus infection. It was the first weekend in almost 6 months where there was NO FOOTBALL!
As always, I’ve been cheering the Green and Gold on every week this week. Even though I’m now thousands of miles from Cheesehead Nation, there are tons of Packer faithful down here. Early on in the season, my friend Kayla brought me to the epicenter of Arizona’s Green and Yellow fans: The Stadium Club. The Packer fans there are some of the craziest I’ve met. Seriously, they would give local Wisconsinites a run for their money. Since heading to the bar the 1st time, I’ve basically made it a weekly routine. Every time I meet a bunch of awesome people, many of whom have roots in Wisconsin. Meeting others who have moved on from their home state is really refreshing, especially since people who grew up out here just can’t relate with a lot of it. It’s like a little slice of home!
The Packer’s campaign was no different than others I have watched… great victories, disappointing defeats, and ending in major heartache. For the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl I still shivered when I thought about the way we blew that lead against Seattle. I wanted to pack up my jersey, pajamas, and cheesehead and completely forget about football until next September. Only problem was, football wouldn’t let me. It was like a greedy stepchild who needed all on eyes on him… it was in my face. Not only was the Pro Bowl here (instead of Hawaii like it has been for the last 34 of 35 years), the freakin’ Super Bowl was here a week later as well!!! There was no avoiding it! I had previously bought tickets to the Pro Bowl with some buddies of mine so that was the easy part. Matt, Karlton, Tom, and I headed out to Westgate around 1PM.We drank some beers at the bars, enjoying each others company and the company of all the various fans from across the country. The bars were expensive, as expected, but the vibes were positive and the gear some fans were wearing was awesome. From Westgate it was just a short stroll over to the stadium. The atmosphere was incredible compared to the preseason game I had attended back in August. The place was packed and people were excited. While the game stayed interesting, you can always tell the players don’t quite try their hardest. I also don’t like this new format where the teams are chosen by captains. It’s hard to figure out who to root for when guys from Green Bay are on each team. Oh well, I guess.It was still a damn good time.
The same can’t be said for all the Super Bowl events… at least not for me. The Friday before the Super Bowl, my parents arrived in town. We were all amped up to go see the NFL Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center. As soon as we stepped foot in the building though, it really hit me. All the neon green of the Seattle fans and replays of our last defeat were too much. I’ll be the first to admit, it pissed me off! How cool would it have been if the Packers would have held on and the place would have been all Green and Yellow instead?! It would have been a total different experience. Beers would’ve been shared, camaraderie would have been shared, and moments that I would remember for the rest of my life would’ve been made. That’s what’s so great about sports. While the defeats are tough, the winning is worth it all. The rest of the week went better; we watched the game at a garage party down in Gilbert. The Patriots won and, better yet, gave Seattle a real taste of heartache. It was a good time with my everyone, but man, it could’ve been so much better.
Maybe next year!!!