Sunday, February 6, 2011
Show n' Tell Sunday - GO PACK GO! edition
This Super Bowl actually means something to me today- my hometown team is playing in it for the fifth time.
Growing up in Green Bay, the Packers were just another part of the landscape. I grew up about a mile from the stadium and we could hear the cheers of the games from our balcony. My dad taught me how to drive in the Lambeau Field parking lot. My best friend's grandpa played for the Pack back in 1924. These things didn't seem to be out of the ordinary.
Now they seem extraordinary. The Packers are the last of those oldest of teams, the teams that grew out of the blue-collar cities throughout the Midwest like Cleveland and St. Louis and Decatur (who changed to Baltimore/Houston (and back), Arizona and Chicago, respectively). We are the only team in the NFL to be city-owned. We are by far the smallest city to have an NFL franchise - it's downright miraculous that we're not the Milwaukee Packers.
Because I grew up so close to the action, I took it for granted. Time stopped on Sunday afternoons; it was a given that the town would be deserted on game days. I grew up in the 70s, with the memories of the first two Super Bowls becoming fainter with every bad season. But then the 90s happened, and Mike Holmgren came to town.
I'm going to forget all of the hooey that our former Beloved Quarterback has done lately; for as bizarre as he turned out to be, he was the leader of a great team in the middle of that decade. And now Aaron Rodgers has rightfully taken the spotlight.
Okay, on to this photo! I found it in a book called "Titletown", which was put out by the Green Bay Press Gazette after the Super Bowl win in 1997. It's a special book to me for a number of reasons: I worked at the P-G for four years; one of my dearest friends, Kim Estep was a reporter there and her article is the first in the book; and it's a great snapshot of the pride we all felt after the win. My first husby and I had moved to Fond du Lac about 3 months earlier but we traveled back up to Green Bay the night of the game and when they won we went downtown to celebrate with our Green Bay friends, along with the rest of the city. The mood was one of conviviality and brotherhood, and it was a perfect night. No one overturns cars and lights things on fire during celebrations in Green Bay, something that I hope continues if they win tonight.
Okay, seriously - this photo! It doesn't say what year it's from but judging by the clothes and the fact that the Packers were still at this rinky-dink stadium at East High School called Joannes Stadium, I'm going to say 1955 or '56. There is a story in the book that high schoolers would do fundraisers for the Packers by selling season tickets. With everything so corporate now, I love that story more than ever.
I sure hope the Pack wins today. Green Bay is so dear to me and the people are wonderful. I haven't lived there for 15 years but I will always be a Packer Backer. :D GO PACK GO!!!