This afternoon, I'm heading up to Green Bay for tonight's Packers game. I'm going as a fan, not as a working journalist, because my friend Eron won a raffle for two tickets and a bus ride to and from Lambeau Field.
I realize now that it's been about 10 years since my last Packers game at The Frozen Tundra. It was a Lions game in 2002, I think, and the stadium was in the middle of renovation.
It's not by design that it's been this long since my last visit. It just sort of happened. I used to go to games fairly frequently.
I've lost count, but I probably went to about 10 games from the mid-'90s until that final trip. They were big games, too. I was at the playoff game in '94 when the Packers held Barry Sanders to -1 rushing yard. I was at the Christmas Eve game in 1995 when Yancey Thigpen dropped a catch in the end zone to propel the Packers to the NFC Central title. I was at Bears game in the Super Bowl season of '96, and I was at the game when Antonio Freeman made "The Catch" against the Vikings in 2000 (see the clip below, and reminisce about that ridiculous season with Dennis Miller on "Monday Night Football).
Of course, I've been to a few less meaningful games, too, but this I remember: the Packers are undefeated in every game I've attended. I hope that streak continues tonight against the Bears.
So why has it been so long since I've been to a Packers game? A few reasons, I think.
First, while my Brewers fandom has continued to soar to new heights, my Packers loyalty has ebbed. I still love 'em, but the idea of spending huge money to drive up to Lambeau and sit in the freezing stands doesn't hold the same appeal as it used to (although there's definitely still some charm in that; don't get me wrong).
Also, I just love watching the Packers from my couch, or on occasion, at Palomino. Seeing a game from the stands is interesting, because you can watch a play develop like you can't on TV.
But you have to wear pants.
Either way, today is pretty much my dream scenario. A free game, letting someone else do the driving. All I have to do is show up and root for the Pack. I'm looking forward to seeing how Lambeau has evolved from when it was a big, sheet metal oval, too.
And, even if I'm not officially working, I'll be tweeting from the stands. No, I haven't grown a Packers mustache like I did that time in 1997. No, I'm not wearing my Mark Chmura jersey. But I'm still plenty excited. Go, Pack, go!
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