The First Annual IDYFT Cup! For me? I'm so humbled...and really wishing I had been a bit mouthier earlier in the season so I could justify some obtuse pro-Packer, anti-the-sucky-teams-of-my-co-contributors gloating. I'll just go with this: it was incredibly easy to beat up on you and your teams who practice losing ways.
With the rest of my acceptance post I'd like to regale you with two of my favorite Green Bay Packer tales.
Tale number one dates back to September 12, 1999 and the GBP season opener at Lambeau Field. Fellow contributors Garwood B. Jones, Jerious Norwood and I piled into a rented car around four a.m. central standard time and made the epic voyage from Madison, WI to lovely Green Bay. Along the way we talked together, grew together, made a slam book and challenged each other to drink an odd concoction of warm strawberry flavored milk, Boston Baked Beans and rotten sauerkraut.
The Packer/Raider rivalry and the potential for some late summer Midwest weather fueled our drive. Lambeau did not disappoint. We splurged for third row end zone seats and stood thirty feet from Donald Driver's last second touchdown catch that delivered a 28-24 Packer victory. We soaked in Lambeau and lots of Miller Lite, but that's not what made this tale worth telling.
During our drive, while drinking the strawbeankraut shake, we hatched a tirelessly common idea to try for some television face time. The time tested plan to get drunk, loud and overly supportive of the home side soon followed.
Upon arrival we found cheese head vendors unusually difficult to find and were lost for a purveyor of green and gold face/body paint. After a poor effort at ostentatious costumery beyond the colloquial cheese head, we propositioned a local and settled on twenty dollars for all the lipstick in her bag. Instead of green and gold body/face paint, I was a maroon "G," Mr. Norwood was a maroon "B," and Mr. Jones was a fire engine red "P."
Despite some obvious shortcomings with our costumes, a healthy dose of drunk and loud helped us achieve our goal. Friends and family in Wisconsin reported that we were featured in nearly every quarter. Due to the national broadcast we heard from friends on both coasts of our new found stardom. My mother reported that we were shirtless.
The coup, however, came when the Madison Fox affiliate regularly wove images of the three of us into their weekly promotional montage. Even better, an emphatic first down signal from Garwood was one of five images shown during the three second promotional montage that aired all the freaking time from September to January of 1999 during the syndicated Simpsons hour.
I would agree that we each achieved our fifteen minutes that day.
Tale number two brings us to the recent past and the Packers victory over the Carolina Panthers on November 18, 2007. I was in New York City visiting my younger sister and watched the game at a homey little West Village hangout called Kettle of Fish. "The Kettle" is known as a meeting place for Green Bay Packer fans and gay tourists (check the first Google hit). It is also the second best place to watch a game.
The place is wall-to-wall with green and gold and the patrons make proud Wisconsin's status as the binge drinking leader. Bartenders understand that Bloody Marys come with a beer back and Miller Lite is a Manhattan low two dollars-ish (I was drunk early). The crowd is raucous and dispenses high-fives liberally. The collective knowledge of Packer history makes for great anecdotes and spirited jousting over GBP highs and lows. In short, a good place to watch football for the common fan no matter what color your stripes.
The Kettle's owner is a Wisconsin native with the good sense to pass out free cheese and sausage at kickoff and a steady influx of sausages throughout the game. The decor is straight from a northern Wisconsin tavern, and nearly every patron is within two degrees in the relationship sort of way.
I was embarrassed to not know all the words as I joined animated patrons singing along to "I Love My Green Bay Packers" after every touchdown. Once the game was comfortably in hand the crowd fought off a boring fourth quarter with choruses of "The Bears Still Suck" and "The Minnesota Vikings Are Just a Pile of Junk" (I again suffered as one of the few present to not know all the words).
That Sunday we exchanged high-fives and remarked with astonishment that we were 9-1. We were also pretty confident that the Cowboys would be toast (our over confidence can easily be blamed on my sister who insisted that we start shooting liquor while it was still light outside).
Being a Packer fan is a rich tapestry of booze, tubed meat and yelling.
And your teams are purely evil (Raiders), historically inept (Vikings), stupidly racist (Redskins) and just plain stupid (Lions).
I really, really dislike all of your favorite teams.