Only a couple of days away from Green Bay Packers football, our staff shifts gears and takes a moment to share memories from our trips to Lambeau Field.
I have been fortunate enough to travel to Green Bay twice and watch the Packers win both games at Lambeau Field, and if one thing is certain, it lived up to the hype.
One thing that was evident immediately was the loyalty and unity that the Packers bring to the city of Green Bay. Everything stopped on Sundays because everybody had one job, to cheer for the Packers.
In addition, everybody was extremely generous and friendly; something that I am not used to being from New York.
As for the stadium itself, I was lucky enough to tour the stadium twice. Energetic people, who had a copious amount of Packers knowledge stored in their brain, led the tours.
Being able to sit on the metal bleacher seats added to the history of Lambeau. And if one thing is certain, the crowd is electrifying. Lambeau is an absolute destination for all Packers fan, but also for anyone who loves football.
My favorite Lambeau experience was easily this past summer. As a Wisconsin-born kid, I grew up going to Packers practices every August. It was one of my favorite things I did each year, and it become an annual tradition among family and friends to make the two-and-a-half hour drive from Marshfield, over to Lambeau Field and watch the players practice and ride the kids’ bikes across the parking lot back to the locker room.
However, approximately nine years ago I moved to the Northwest and now live in the Portland, Oregon, area, right in the heart of Seahawks country.
I’ve been married for seven years now, and my wife and I just made the trek from Portland to Green Bay this past August. A trip well over 3,000 miles, we made the journey so I could re-live a piece of my childhood and show the person I hold dearest in my life why Lambeau and the Packer tradition played a big role in my life.
It was a cool trip. It had been nearly 10 years since I’ve seen Lambeau and it was my wife’s first time visiting Green Bay. We attended two Packers practices, toured the stadium, and hung out in the Atrium. It was also nice to get a break from all of the lime green and blue I see everywhere in the Northwest (Ha!).
I have been to the “Frozen Tundra” twice, and it was the second trip where the nickname was most fitting. It was the 2014 NFL wildcard game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Minus-10 degrees with the wind chill, one of the coldest games in NFL history.
My two takeaways were as follows: Packers fans are among the classiest in sports. At a tailgate party at Brett Favre’s Steakhouse (which has to be part of your Lambeau trip), there were about half a dozen Niners fans. Apart from light hearted ribbing about their team, Cheeseheads treated them with nothing but respect and made it an enjoyable experience for all fans.
Second: Packers fans are crazy passionate. Any stadium can get loud, and Lambeau was no different. It was the lack of noise following the Niners game winning-field goal that shocked me. It was like a pre-game moment of silence, only it didn’t stop until we left the building. Incredible.
Having been in attendance at a number of Packers games through the years at Lambeau Field, it’s difficult to pick out one of the best experiences.
However, for the past 10 years I have had the privilege and opportunity to work Packers games as a photographer at Lambeau.
Having the chance to get a parking pass, credentials and then walk through the tunnel and onto the frozen tundra is an experience in itself.
But having the chance to stand inches from Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, watch the likes of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and hear the crunch of pads on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays has been incredible.
In a prime position to capture what Donald Driver called his “greatest play,” I stood with my shutter button depressed as Double-D evaded tacker after tackler and eventually tumbled into the end zone against the San Francisco 49ers for a touchdown that helped turn the 2010 season from disappointment to a Super Bowl championship.
I was there when Brett Favre threw interceptions and touchdowns, celebrated with fans and teammates and walked off the field in purple after his final game in the stadium.
But I’ve been there as a fan, too.
I watched Aaron Rodgers take his first snap in a regular season game and completed a pass to fullback Vonta Leach for little or no gain.
Attending a football game at Lambeau is akin to a church service.
If you have the chance to go – do it. The cost is worth it and the memories will never go away.