Most of you are aware that I'm a BIG Packer fan. I didn't used to be. I remember, in the murky dawn of my life (college years), when I didn't care about football at all and Sunday afternoons were meant to be slept through so that I could spend the rest of the week not sleeping anywhere but in class.
Then I got married to a Packers fan and discovered that if I wanted to have a peaceful relationship with the husband, I had to tolerate football. That was nineteen years ago. Now, I'm the one who watched "Sports Center" and listens to the coaches post game interviews on Mondays. (Not the most stimulating speakers, those coaches....)
As a Packers fan, I eat, sleep, and breath Green and Gold during the icy months of the fall and winter. We're either watching a game, getting ready to watch a game, or just watched a game. We watch a lot of other teams play now, because in a 16 week season, every game is precious, and every team's performance affects the beloved Packers.
For the past many years, the hero in the Bradley house was Brett Favre. I'm not alone in saying that he wasn't just a football player here in Packer nation. No, he was a member of our family. He was our brother, our son, our friend. His success was ours, his agony was ours. When his father passed, we wept. When his beautiful wife, Deanna, battled cancer, we prayed. We grumbled about his interceptions, but his touchdowns, his 4th quarter comebacks, his undying iron man spirit made it all worthwhile.
Then he retired and unretired and went to the Jets. We bought his NEW green jersey and cheered for that strange beast, an AFC team in New York. He was still ours...sort of.
Now, tonight, he plays for the most hated team in all of football. He plays for the Minnesota Vikings. How he got there played out in high drama. Why he's there is a matter for bloody debate in houses across Packer Nation. (Case in point: Boy child and I believe Ted Thompson pushed him out. Hubby believes he wanted out.)
Much of Packer Nation still loves Number 4. But tonight, we are confused. Do we cheer for the hero, the one who brought us so much glory for so many years? Do we cheer for the jersey, the Green and Gold, the mark of a very special team that's been something unique and special for generations?
"Fan" is short for "Fanatic." Many of the fanatics in Packer Nation are confused today. Some of us even bought purple #4 jerseys. (I have not. I believe to wear a Vikings jersey would burn my skin.) Tonight we will watch...we will watch our hero try to defeat our team. In today's sports arena, it's a common site.
That doesn't make it any less confusing or any more right.