I’m not sure why, but as an adult, I usually don’t care about sports.
My father was a Milwaukee Brewers season ticket-holder and took me to hundreds of games growing up. He taught me the positions, plays and poetry of baseball. He told me, just before the fifth inning, he was leaving my mother. I told him I was going to marry Paul Molitor someday (sorry, Linda).
My father was a firm believer that professional sports were more than a display of athletics – that they are unifying and community-building and something we could share with people with whom we have nothing else in common.
Years ago, I experienced this in my adult life, even though I had lost all interest in game watching, including baseball. I married into a family with five Packers season tickets, and although I never liked watching football, I loved going to Lambeau. The spirit of Green Bay fans – their joy, energy, unity and communal parking-lot libations – only compares, for me, to the fun and fanaticism of a Grateful Dead concert, minus the pot and patchouli.
I really saw the community-building and healing sides of sports in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005 – uprooting families, buildings, greenery and civic systems. By early 2010, New Orleans was starting to feel some relief from recovery. And then the Saints won the Super Bowl.
I traveled to New Orleans in the fall of 2010, right before my father passed away, and numerous NOLA natives told me how much they "needed" that win – one resident referred to it as "a divine intervention" – and how winning the Super Bowl restored their hope and faith that a healthy city was possible again.
I feel this way about Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. After a rough 2016 for so many, a win this weekend would serve as both a salve and a shot in the arm for this state.
For once, a Packers victory means more to me than something I wish for my friends who care so much about that team. I wish this for everyone, myself included. The chance to be a part of a connection. The chance not to feel polarized from people. The chance to cheer.
Go Pack Go.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.