5 things I hate to love about the PackersPublished 7:55am Sunday, January 8, 2012
Column: Pass the Hot Dish, by Alexandra Kloster
Several months ago, as my husband, Graham, was walking into the gym, a man walking out stopped him and asked, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Aaron Rodgers?”
“No,” Graham replied.
“Yeah,” said the man continuing on his way, “I hate that guy.”
The first thing we found strange about this encounter is that Graham bears no resemblance to Aaron Rodgers. The professor on “Gilligan’s Island” maybe, but Aaron Rodgers? No. Even stranger is the casual hostility the guy was carrying around for Rodgers. Somehow he knew what the rest of us wouldn’t know until recently, that this year the Green Bay Packers would turn into the most annoying football team in the National Football League.
My feelings for the Packers largely were ambivalent until this year. Every Sunday, Graham and I will the Packers to lose. Then we stop and admit that we don’t know why we want them to lose, we just do. Why does the newly minted America’s Team bug me so much? Well, let me tell you.
1. Lambeau Field.
Only Disneyland rivals Lambeau as the happiest place on earth. My dad took me there in the early ’80s to watch the Pack play the Rams. It was a perfect fall day and everybody was grinning at each other like it was a family reunion of 50,000 long lost cousins.
Sure it was a beautiful day, but those people would be happy in an icy November rain or a blizzard in December because they’re at Lambeau Field. If the Pack is losing, the fans keep cheering. They don’t boo and throw the dregs of $10 beers at the players. No, they continue to cheer. They’d hold hands and sing “Kumbaya” to back the Pack if they thought it would help.
2. Vince Lombardi.
When God made the mold of football coach, it looked like Knute Rockne. Eventually, God became a Packers fan. He took that mold, put a gap in its teeth, stuck a hat on its head, put some horn-rimmed glasses on it, gave it a nice warm coat and named it Vince Lombardi. Then He broke the mold and immortalized Lombardi as the classic NFL coach, the one by which all others are measured and fall short.
“It’s not whether you got knocked down; it’s whether you get back up,” are the words that pretty much guide my life, and Lombardi said them.
3. Aaron Rodgers.
How dare he sit humbly and wait like a class act while Brett Favre basked in the last rays of a fading spotlight? How dare he soldier on game after game, pass after pass, putting in the time and the work so he could be mentioned in the same sentence as Brady and Brees? How dare he make that commercial for State Farm and not totally stink?
Is all that winning really necessary? I guess here is where I should apologize to the Packer nation. That loss to the hapless Kansas City Chiefs was my fault. On Sunday morning I said, “The Packers would be far less annoying if they’d lose just once.” How did I know that would put the hex on them? It was Kansas City! Anyway, sorry, I guess.
It’s the perfect food and the Packers have it. There is never a bad time or place for a hunk of cheese. My teams, college and pro combined, consist of a viking, a Spartan, a patriot in a three-pointed hat, and a leprechaun.
How is that motley crew going to fill the hole in my stomach after they lose? Those guys couldn’t come up with a burger between them. The Packers fans know better. They wear their comfort food on their heads, though they rarely need it.
I tried, but I guess I don’t have anything nice to say about the Packers, their great players, storied history or loyal fans. A friend of mine recently suggested that maybe my problem with the Packers is simply jealousy.
“Are you kidding?” I yelled, “Of course I’m jealous!”
This is football, a game made for simultaneously loving and hating your opponent. We can respect who they are but curse every time they win. Coach Lombardi said it best, “If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?”
Woodbury resident Alexandra Kloster appears each Sunday. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and her blog is Radishes at Dawn at alexandrakloster.com.