They say long distance relationships will never work. I would like to disagree with that notion. I live almost 1,200 kilometers from the one I love and we have never actually ever met. I’m starting to feel like a future first round pick from Notre Dame, so I feel the need to explain here. You see, I live near Toronto but am in love with the Green Bay Packers.
Yes there is a special place in my heart for the Toronto Blue Jays (I was 10 and 11 when they won their two World Series titles). After years of despair, my anticipation for the 2013 Blue Jays season is growing each day. There is a legitimate reason to be excited to be a Blue Jays fan again. The Toronto Maple Leafs has become the laughing stock of hockey ever since Doug Gilmour led the team only to lose to the Kings. Living in Toronto, I root for these two teams, but have had little to root for over the past 20 years of my life.
My heart belongs to the Green Bay Packers. They have been around since 1919! That’s a long time for a team that lives in a city with a population of just over 100,000 people. I grew up living in Barrie, Ontario and it has the same population as Green Bay, for me that stood out as something special. I felt like my city could be Green Bay, like I was living in the same city.
Whenever started watching football, I got hooked on one player and playing style. That was Doug Flutie. He was 5’10 and 180. So was I. Loved to watch him scramble and find an open receiver when the play looked dead. As I grew to understand football and fall in love with the NFL, there was another hard working quarterback who caught my eye of the same elk. Brett Favre.
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1992 was a big year for me as a sports fan, and seeing Favre step to replace the injured quarterback, and then to win in the weeks to come was so cool. He would win games with his sheer will sometimes. He never missed a start for over 15 years. I loved watching him play hurt, and being the leader who would never give up. He put his team first and was the definition of a leader.
Then when Reggie White came in to play and dominate at his position, I had something to watch now. He would bury a player into the ground, then walk over to help them up. I wish he was still around today. They ended up losing to Dallas Cowboys multiple times and that’s why now looking back I think I hate the Cowboys so much. Then to see the Packers win in 1997 and watch Desmond Howard return a TD in the Super Bowl was a play that I will never forget.
They have had some great players, but never really the stars that other teams have had. They have won almost in spite of not having stars. I loved watching Al Harris and Charles Woodson in the backfield, Donald Driver and now Clay Matthews. Now they have the best quarterback in the NFL (and I’ll argue with anyone who thinks otherwise), in Aaron Rodgers. He sat back and learned from the best.
I recently bought a pair of headphones. They have the Packers logo on the sides. They are nothing special and cost me $11. But seeing that package come in the mail was like a kid opening a new bike for Christmas. My music sounds better now I am sure of it.
Even though I have never been to a game at Lambeau Field, that stadium is revered grounds for me. There would be no other stadium that I could go to that would make my heart rush, my brain struggle to take every sight and sound in all at once. To see a game there when it is 20 below would be an honor. To be where Vince Lombardi once stood and watch Aaron Rodgers march up and down the field carving apart the Cowboys defense would be amazing.
I love the Green Bay Packers and I am not afraid to admit it. This Valentine’s day, I don’t know what you will be doing, but I will be looking up Vince Lombardi quotes, and I might, if I am lucky catch some Green Bay Packer Super Bowl highlights on the NFL network. That would make for a great day as a Packers fan.