Can I tell you why I love the Green Bay Packers?
It’s because their stadium is a neighborhood where regular families live. It’s in a town of 102,000 where the people own the team – the last publicly owned franchise in professional sports.
It’s because Stephan and Mary, our tour guides, were not chosen for the position because they are fashionable or marketable. Rather they, and everyone else I encountered at Lambeau Field, are employed by the Packers because they are tried and true Packers fans (and earned their purple hearts (and toes) of fandom by attending the Ice Bowl). Kitty, an employee at the Hall of Fame, said that she loves working for the Packers because everyone genuinely loves the team. Where else can you find that in professional sports?
I love the Packers because of the history of the team.
Curly Lambeau decided that playing football was more important than making a living. He chose to live out of passion instead of convention. He quit his job and got a bunch of guys together to start a football team. In so doing, he began one of the most beloved (or the most beloved, if you’re a Packer Backer) franchises in the history of sports.
It’s because I love the legacy of Vince Lombardi.
And the pride that comes with the trophy that bears his name.
I love the Packers because of the players. These are athletes who take the beatings of the frozen tundra and call it home field. These are larger than life professionals who aren’t too big to play in a small town. I love the founding fathers…
I love the legends…
I love the heroes of today…
It’s because I love the fact that Lambeau Field is a real field. Real grass that gets mowed day in and day out, that gets scrupulously checked for weeds on hands and knees.
I love the Packers because when I called and asked how much it costs to park at Lambeau Field, the woman who answered my call didn’t know what I was talking about. “Pay to park? You’re coming to visit us, there’s no fee for parking!”
It’s because I love the traditions.
The Lambeau Leap…
and how the players ride into training camp on local kids’ bikes.
And, not to be forgotten, the tradition of excellence.
I love the Packers because of all of these reasons and infinitely more. The best part of loving the Packers, though? It’s being part of a family of great Packers fans like these:
That’s probably why coming to this place so far from where I’m from
felt like coming home.