It's been a long week of work. I'm tired, and I don't have a lot to contribute to the blog today, so instead of a full-on post, here are a few early memories of my days as a Packer fan.
The first game I remember was the 1995 NFC Championship game. The Packers lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys thanks to a solid performance by Emmitt Smith. There are two things that come back to me. First, I remember believing that Pat Summerall loved the Cowboys and was slanting his play-by-play calls toward them. Second, I remember not being able to believe that there wasn't another game. I couldn't understand that losing meant the end of the season. For that reason, I'll always hate the Cowboys a little bit. Jerry Jones, you brought me my first sports related pain!
I don't honestly remember why I chose the Packers as my favorite team. My first football related memory is playing catch with my dad in the yard behind the garden at our house on West Union Avenue. I wanted to pretend to be a famous football player, so I asked my dad who I should be. He said Dan Marino, and I thought that was the coolest name ever. It made me think of fish and aquariums, which was kind of funny because he played for the Dolphins.
I think it was probably Sunday afternoons at my grandparents' house that made me a Packer fan. When I was little, Sundays had a very specific rhythm. Get up, go to church, go to Sunday School, head home for the Packer game at noon, then swing over to Grandma and Grandpa's house for the fourth quarter or so for Sunday dinner. If it was a late game, we'd catch the whole thing at Grandma and Grandpa's. On those days, my life was scheduled just like Vince Lombardi said it should be: faith, family, and then the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers were a source of pride for me in my early days at school. They were definitely the reason for the first major disagreement I had with anybody at good old Oostburg Christian. In what would have been spring of my first grade year, Brett Favre voluntarily entered rehab to combat a painkiller addiction. I remember telling my friend outside the classroom that Brett Favre did drugs. A second grader overheard me (I think it was Vinnie Adams) and yelled back "no he doesn't! He's just addicted to them!" I didn't understand the difference, but since a second grader said it, it must have been true.
In the summer between first grade and second grade, I became fixated on Robert Brooks for some reason. I think it's because I enjoyed pretending to be a wide receiver, streaking down the field in full sprint and gathering in a pass just in time to tap two feet in the end zone. At any rate, I asked for a Robert Brooks jersey for my birthday and I got one. I was so very proud to wear number 87 (which, oddly enough, is the number I wore for football in college) and I think I probably wore it to school five times a month. However, there was a problem. After the 1996 season, the Packers made a relatively major (for them) change to their uniforms, going from FIVE stripes on their sleeves to THREE. I remember being very upset when my dad told me that my jersey was out of date.
However, this change of uniforms actually served to make me a major lover of all things uniform related, and from that day forth I fastidiously studied uniforms of all shapes and sizes. And uniforms, oddly enough, are going to play a pretty big part on this blog next week. Stay tuned for more...