Green Bay Packers fans are a special breed. We are loyal, ferocious in our appetite for everything related to the team, and generally have a pretty high football IQ.
Being a Packers fan is not a passive endeavor, it is a year-round commitment. Packers fans are known nationally for the Cheesehead, beer and of course brats, cold weather and commitment. The question I have been grappling with lately is how does this come about, this becoming and remaining a Packers fan?
Whether we realize it or not, and most likely we do, there is an esteem that comes with being a Packers fan. After all, the Green Bay Packers are America’s Team. Sorry Dallas, but there is a difference between simply proclaiming to be America’s Team and earning the title. And the Packers did so in a landslide.
It could be the team’s history. Established in 1919 the Packers have been around for 94 years. The fact that an NFL team exists in a town of 105,000 people is a good story, as is it being a community-owned team. Furthermore, if the team were ever sold after all expenses were paid the proceeds would go to the Sullivan Post of the American Legion to build a “proper soldiers memorial.” I mean how much more “down home” can it get?
To top it all off, the Green Bay Packers are a winning organization. Thirteen championships – more than any other NFL team. This “Titletown” thing is no joke. Having amassed four Super Bowl victories and nine championships before the Super Bowl era began in 1967.
The Packers have guys who are legendary, players and coaches who are household names around the country. When you hear names like Don Hutson, Curly Lambeau, Vince Lombardi, Bart Starr, Paul Horning, Jerry Kramer, Ray Nitchske, Brett Favre, Reggie White, and Leroy Butler you think of the Green and Gld. Despite the gap between the Lombardi era and the Brett Favre teams you also think of winning, and dedicated fans leading the way.
I grew up in Wisconsin in Plymouth, a small town about an hour south of Green Bay. I don’t recall the moment I pledged to become a Packers fan. It seems like that’s just the way it is, kind of like the fact that I am Irish. But I do recall traditions. Things like cheese and crackers, Sunday afternoons and games begin at noon, my parents pouring themselves a cold one, throwing the football at halftime, and since I was reared as a Packers fan in the 1980s a lot of cussing and swearing.
Currently I reside in Portland, Ore., a city of 500,000 people in a metro area of 2.2 million. In an area that is by no means a metropolis, there are three bars in which every Sunday during the NFL season become Packers bars. I frequent a bar called Saraveza, a place modeled after a classic Wisconsin tavern. Games start here on the west coast at 10 a.m. By 9:30 a. m. there is a line down the street. For the three hours spent there I am transported back to Wisconsin. It is a dedicated collection of fans and the traditions do not miss a beat. It feels like home.
I am curious, Packers nation – why and how did you become a Packers fan. What are your traditions? And how did we become so rabid for the Green Bay Packers. Please, share your comments. Post to the Lombardiave.com Facebook page, tweet me @phughespdx, if it’s a long story, I’ll give you my email address when you tweet. Let me know, I want to hear your stories about your relationship to America’s Team.
With that said, Go Pack Go!
In addition to blogging about the Green Bay Packers for Lombardiave.com, Patrick Hughes blogs about gardening at wheelandbarrowlandscape.com, running and the Portland Trailblazers at Oregon Sports News, and artisans and the connection economy at phughespdx.com.