I grew up in central Wisconsin. I love Wisconsin. The autumns are breathtaking, perhaps the most beautiful that this world has to offer, and the summers are mild and sunny, filled with lazy days at the many beaches and smores around campfires in the evenings. When the sun is out, people can’t bare to stay inside. We soak it in, bask in it, not willing to take a single moment of it for granted. Like bears after a hibernation, you just can’t stand to go back into that cave when the sun is shining. Skiing, fishing, hiking– anything so long as it’s outside.
Until a child is about ten, it’s a paradise. The subartic temps don’t seem to faze a child intent on sledding down those frozen hills or making the greatest snow fortress or showing off their genius strategy skills in a neighborhood battle of war. But, sometime around ten years old, the cold starts feeling, well, cold.
What is a person to do in the frigid temps in a rural area with nothing but one little movie theater and an AppleBees?
Football was created for just such a reason! And no where will you see fans more loyal or more dedicated than in the heart of Wisconsin. Why? Because the Pack gives us something to break the monotony. It gives us something to distract us from the bone chilling, mind numbing temps outside our door.
So, it is no wonder that some of my earliest memories include watching the Packers play. I can easily recall my dad howling at some bad call or the groans from a shanked punt and the grumpings during the many dismal years before Brett Favre made his appearance. We didn’t miss a game. Mom planned lunch so that it fell perfectly over half time. Or, if it was a late game, we always had a big cheese tray to snack on over the course of the game. I remember clearly the years with Don Majkowsky, and a nameless punter who would punt for a meager 20 yards. I remember Sterling Sharp’s flips in the end zone (the most exciting part for me, a young girl not really interested in the game). And I remember, how it all began to change when Brett Favre showed up. In the years of famine and in the years of plenty, we were cheeseheads. I was a cheesehead.
But then I met a boy. A boy from Dallas. He was a Cowboy fan. But I liked him . . . . But I hated the Cowboys–especially after the ’95 Championship game. . . But I liked the boy . . .
So I married the boy, and continued to hate the Cowboys.
And we argued about the ’95 Championship game. After all, I had watched that game, and those guys were cocky, they played dirty, and Jerry Jones had to have paid off the refs for them to make (or not make) some of those calls!
For years we’ve argued about that game and I hated the Cowboys . . . until one day I didn’t.
My hatred for the Cowboys faded as Sanders and Irving made way for Tony Romo and Jason Witten. And, since I love the boy, and we both love football, well . . . I didn’t have it in me to root against his favorite team . . . so gradually, over time, I found myself rooting for the Cowboys–so long as it didn’t affect the Packers.
But we still argued about that game. There was no resolving that!
Most years, being a Packer fan and a Cowboy fan doesn’t cause too many problems.
A few years back, in 2007, we had a bit of an issue. That was the year that the Pack and the Cowboys both came raring out of the gates. Everybody thought that they would end up playing each other in the Championship that year (though only Green Bay played–and lost–as it turned out). Ironically enough, though the two teams rarely meet in the regular season, that year they did. Even more ironically, they were meeting in Dallas (to which my husband had dragged me just a year before), and even more ironically still, one of my students gave me an early Christmas present–two tickets to the most anticipated game of the year, which just so happened to be my first time watching the Packers play in person–and most ironically at all for this Wisconsin girl, that first time was going to be at Dallas Stadium, not Lambeau Field.
I still count that my best Christmas present ever. (Thank you Aysia! ;))
I wore my green and gold; Aaron wore his blue and silver. We sat side by side. I groaned when he cheered; he cheered when I groaned. Half the stadium was in green and gold even though we were at Dallas. It was electric!
Ironically, I have only been to that one game, yet I have seen both Favre and Rodgers play.
Favre got injured early, and things were falling apart. Typical Favre, he tried to play through the injury, but it just wasn’t happening. Things were going south quickly.
But then Rodgers came in, and we came roaring back. It was almost, almost, Rodgers’ first come back of his career, but not quite. The Cowboys took it when it was all said and done. But we had fun, watching it side by side, even though my team lost.
This Sunday, is going to be a little bit different. This isn’t a regular season game. This is the Playoffs, and I think either team has a chance for the Super Bowl. Emotions are bound to get high.
My husband’s family thinks that we shouldn’t watch it together, that things could get ugly.
Obviously they don’t understand us.
My second favorite team is the Cowboys. Aaron’s is the Packers.
I want the Packers to win, but, if they’re going to lose, there is no one I would rather see make it all the way than the Cowboys.
Aaron would say the same thing, except for the Pack.
That doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to trash talk. Of course, we’re going to trash talk!
Ironically, a couple of days ago, Aaron came up to me and asked me when I had taped the Championship game.
I had no idea what he was talking about.
“The ’95 Championship. When did you tape it?”
“The ’95 Championship? I didn’t tape it.”
“Well, I didn’t . . . but it’s on our DVR . . . should we watch it? I would love to be vindicated! This could be fun!”
So we did just that.
We watched Sanders doing his high step before even getting to the end zone (which caused him not to get to the end zone btw!), and we watched Irving prancing around like a little show pony. We listened to Madden call out the Cowboys for their aggressive and somewhat dirty plays (really, they were pretty typical of an emotionally charged game), and we listened to him make a big deal about all the calls and non-calls (always seeming to go in the Cowboys favor).
It was pretty easy to see why I walked away from that game feeling the way I did.
But it was also pretty clear that the Cowboys had outplayed us.
We both got our vindication.
And Aaron got his victory glow.
The only victory glow he’s going to be getting this week.