How I became interested in football.
It began in high school when the most pressing concern of mine was "What shall I wear when I make the obligatory pass by the bleachers walk during half time?" Which is still an important concern. But that focus changed one day in the journalism room where as a sophomore I was feature editor of the school paper. None of the sports writers were available to write up the junior varsity game. Only two of us were available. Me and a boy who was new on the paper and had no more knowledge or interest in football than I. The difference between us was that I wanted to try my hand at writing a sports story.
So I volunteered. The teacher/adviser said fine. The sports editor had a fit and wanted the less experienced boy to write the story simply because he was a BOY. This is around 1973 mind you. I think why this memory is still so clear is that I had a crush on the sports editor and I went through the gamut of emotions from "How could he be so mean to me?" to "What did I ever see in someone who is so closed minded he can't see that I'm the more experienced writer and I should get the assignment?"
That was the end of the crush. I got a crash course in how football works, which made it actually interesting to me once I understood it. I took the stats, I got the locker room interview (and they were all very gentlemanly about it BTW) and I wrote up a decent story. I mean really, it was a JV game, who even read it? I don't even remember if we won.
So I was interested in football after that. I lived in San Francisco during the 49er Superbowl and Joe Montana years. I had a boss that let us out of work early to go to the welcome home parade and I actually went to the parade.
Becoming a Packer fan
When I got married, I'm pretty sure "Your team will be my team" was in the vows and so I became a Packer fan. There are no fans like Packer fans. They are crazy people. They like to sit in below freezing blizzard conditions to watch their team. The Packers are actually owned by the fans. If you are a pastor in Green Bay, you get a free season pass to home games. People are on the list for season tickets like for 50 years. My husband and I were Packer fans before it was cool to be a Packer fan. When they were known for their ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
And then there was Mike Holmgren...who worked with Joe Montana and Steve Young during their winning years on the 49ers. And then there was Brett Favre and the Packers were no longer a joke and a heartbreak to their fans.
And then Favre got kind of old and injury prone and retired and he was like a god to his fans. And then he said he was coming back. Or not. Yes he was. No, maybe not. But maybe he would. Nah not really. but maybe. Just save my spot for me and I'll let you know when I feel better. Because you know, he's a god and Aaron Rodgers should just be willing to hang around in case he was needed, but step aside when Favre was ready to ascend the throne again. But the Packers management said, "Um no, we're gonna go with Rodgers" And Favre was confronted with the nasty truth that NOBODY is indispensable.
And Packer fans argued about whether or not he was indispensable, and some thought Rodgers should move aside and others said, no, but although the image was beginning to tarnish, the Packers for the most part still loved their Favre and wished him well when he went to play with the Jets.
And then Favre decided to retire again. Maybe. Or not. And then he did the unforgivable. After pulling the same "Maybe I'll play, maybe not, I dunno, give me some more time" crap with them, he signed with the Minnisota Vikings.
There are two arch rivals of the Packers. One is the Chicago Bears. They are a worthy rival. Packer fans respect the Bears. The other rival is the hated, detested, Minnisota Vikings. And it felt like a slap in the face to all Packer fans that he chose to play for them. Like a kick in the gut.
So naturally last week's game between the Vikings and Packers was quite a hypped up one. And you have to admire the old man Favre, he came through. And broke Packer Fan hearts again.
And then in an interview the next day he said that God had listened to his prayers. I guess I'm going to have to stop telling my confirmation kids when everyone takes a turn praying outloud at the end of class, that they are not allowed to pray that we win the football game because God does not take sides in football. Apparently God has made an exception for Brett Favre. Perhaps now that he has God's ear, he could work on world hunger. I would have suggested world peace but apparently our recent Nobel Peace prize winner has that under control.