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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

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Readers Blog

It's Bigger Than The Super Bowl

The Packers are going to the Super Bowl! I can only look at this event from the frame of reference which is having had grown up in the small town of Manitowoc, thirty minutes outside of Green Bay. With that perspective this is an epic, unexpected turn of events that make Super Bowl Sunday a night to celebrate-being from Wisconsin and being a Packer fan.

Now there are Packer fans everywhere on the planet, so in no way does not being from Wisconsin diminish the intensity of their loyalty and love of the Packers. They are as happy about this as Wisconsinites. There is an acknowledgement of kinship with all Packer fans, but if you're from Wisconsin, you're closer to the bloodline in this football family. If you are a Packer fan, no matter where you're from, this is the time to celebrate as a family and a time to come together and enjoy the accomplishment that has been achieved with all their hard work. Like going to your kid's graduation commencement from College, the long road has taken them to a place where they can look at you with pride and say look at what I did, thanks for sticking with me when I was going through that awkward rebellious phase.

As a Packer fan you learn to take the good with the bad and appreciate the times when beautiful plays happen, and look at the bad games as lessons that will bring the team closer to a win the next time. When I watched my Dad yelling at the TV in the 70's on Sunday afternoon I began to understand that it was not just a game, it was an emotional attachment to the team's performance. The 70's were difficult for Wisconsin, and real Packer fans continued to get together on Sundays to watch and wait and learn to accept disappointment for many years.

It wasn't until the early 90's that some ray of hope came in and stayed shining on the Packers with the Favre era that seemed to turn a team that was looking hopeless into a Super Bowl hopeful. The win for the Packers in 1997 at Super Bowl XXXI instilled the belief that what Lombardi created did not die with him. His spirit continued and is still strong in the hearts of the team and the fans today. "If you'll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives" Vincent Lomardi.

Since that majestic win in 1997 the Packer fan has experienced more ups and downs. The perfectly matched pair of Driver/Favre was a glorious sight to behold. To see athletes that in synch with one another could only create the kind of magic on the field that lead to wins and records that have stood and will stand the test of time. On the other hand, there was drama that turned the Packers fans stomach when Favre left and went to other teams which are still fresh in our collective memory. Hopefully the former will be more of the legacy he'll leave rather than the latter.

Super Bowl Sunday brings people together in American as no other event can. Not even voting for the President can bring such a sense of community throughout American as two NFL football teams will. It's not just a game, especially on Super Bowl Sunday we are a part of something much larger. We get together to watch the game and the whole world can watch the game and form only three opinions; wanting team A to win, wanting team B to win, or not caring who wins. That is quantumly amazing.

In families there are occasions that bring everyone together like weddings and funerals. When my Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago, my whole family was awakened with a fear of losing the most important person in the universe. The surgery was impending and we were all on edge and unprepared for the dire possibilities to come. My son's football team, the Jr. Blue Dukes, had a home game that weekend, and I asked my mom if she'd like to come. From there, the word travelled that she would be coming to the game and everyone in my family intended to be with her too. It was not a wedding or a funeral, but it brought all of us together at I time when we needed it. My Mom, Step-Dad, older brother and his wife, younger brother and his wife and two children, my two sisters and even my ex-husband came to the game. We all sat together as a family and watched the Jr. Blue Dukes play. During the game, it was easier to think about the plays being made, than the hardship our mother would be facing and the potential that it could be the last game she sees her Grandson play. I cannot remember the score of the day, I'm sure the Jr. Blue Dukes won. The other memories of the game I will never forget; all of us together as a family, supporting each other when we needed it. That day, football was much bigger than 7th grade boys coming together to play a game. It was the most significant and important football game I will ever attend, and I realized that Football is much more than a game, it brings people together in a very special way. The unity that Football creates in the fans is unseen in any other venue in America and shouldn't be dispelled as something simple or unimportant. It's a sport that brings us together even when we're not wanting the same team to win. We can not only agree to disagree, we agree that we are all different, but appreciate an all American sport that signifies hard work and teamwork can bring glory. Fight hard and winning can be the outcome- thankfully it was for my Mom too.

The 2010 season for the Packers was not travelled in a way that one would expect it to come to this destination. All the more reason to make this Super Bowl Sunday a night to pay homage to this franchise that can overcome obstacles, make dreams come true, and affirm that with hard work and the dream of glory, good things won't happen... Great things will happen!

As a fan you follow this road that the team takes you on and it can be bumpy at times and as a passenger, you just keep on travelling to see where it's going. Thank you Packers, for taking us to this place where we can appreciate vicariously, figuratively and literally, how life can be a hard fought battle and know that it can bring rewards that make a hard fought battle worthwhile.
GO PACK

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