My two loves in life: Newspapers, Green Bay Packers

Jan. 26, 2013 @ 06:00 AM

There was a bit of sadness in my heart a couple of Saturday nights ago.

The defense of my beloved team fell apart against the San Francisco 49ers. Thus, my preparations for Super Bowl Sunday will be rather dismal.

Yes, I’ll admit, I’m a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan. 

They are the only football team I will ever support — in good and troubling times.

I do have a few loves in my life. The first is newspapers, the other — the Green Bay Packers.

Yes, I have been to several games inside Lambeau Field. Some before the remodel and others were after the remodel.

Yes, I own Green Bay Packer stock. 

Yes, I have a Green Bay Packers’ Christmas tree. I even have a Green Bay Packers’ Christmas Village.

Yes, I own a Cheesehead plus a cheese and sausage formation necklace.

I used to have a huge inflatable Green Bay Packers player that stood outside my house, when I lived in Hibbing, Minn. The inflatable only lasted a couple of seasons until a disgruntled Vikings fan decided to rip the inflatable to shreds. 

My infatuation with the Packers’ began at an early age when our parish priest, Father O’Brien, used to recite favor one-liners from the famous “St. Vincent” (AKA Vince Lombardi). 

After religion class on Sunday mornings, Father O’Brien invited whoever wanted to watch the game over to the Rectory and to enjoy for his mother’s famous sticky popcorn. 

His mother was his housekeeper and she knew how to keep a crew of 26 kids in line. She nicknamed us the Green and Gold Brigade. And when the game was done, she’d call our parents to come an get us. 

My mother said Mrs. O’Brien truly was a saint for putting up with us. She was 70-plus years old when we knew her. When she died, there the church was packed with all those children who once adorned her living room and stuffed our faces with her specialty — sticky popcorn. As a tribute to the Packers (a team she also loved) we wore green and gold.

When my rural school merged with a neighboring school, Packers’ fans outnumbered the Chicago Bears’ fans, thus our school colors became green and gold. When the football team started to design its new uniforms, the athletic director knew someone inside the Green Bay Packers organization. The Packers’ staff member sent us an official uniform for us to help with proper color selection. To this day, my high school’s football team uniforms resemble the Green Bay Packers.

Love or hate the Packers, they are part the last of the small-town teams. They are the only non-profit, community-owned major league professional sports team in the U.S. It’s part of the Packer mystique. Plus in late summer, all stockholders are invited to a community meeting at Lambeau Field to learn about Packer operations.

Of course, one can’t forget to mention the Packers have long-standing, bitter rivalries with their NFC North opponents: the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions. The Bears-Packers rivalry is one of the oldest rivalries in NFL history.

When someone at the office suggested that I would have to change my allegiance to the Carolina Panthers, I scoffed at the idea. 

My heart bleeds green and gold. Whether they win or lose, I am a Green Bay Packers fan.