What's the old cliche...31 teams are disappointed at the end of every season?
This doesn't have anything to do with masonry, but we are a Wisconsin company, full of longtime Green Bay Packers fans ('Packer' fans, that is, if you're from around here). And in spite of my anguish in their failing to get past the Niners this afternoon, I'm thankful for another exciting year, some of the most heart stopping football I've ever seen.
This goes back more than 40 years for me, a skinny little squirt glued nervously to a black and white TV. Dad watches the first half, maybe into mid-third quarter, to the point where our beloved green and gold - or grey and light grey - is three scores down. While I'm mentally conjuring 'touchdown, interception, touchdown, onside kick, field goal', here comes the death blow: "Same team always wins," as Dad exits the room. Sure, in the end, they usually did lose those games, at least when down like that. But not always. And By Great Caesar's Ghost I was gonna watch it until the bitter end, continually recalibrating hypothetical winning scenarios like an early GPS unit recovering from a series of bad turns.
This is a team that somehow has always kept my interest, unlike others - shoot, entire sports...I'm looking at you, NBA - that lost me decades ago. I can't be sure why they've endured while everyone else evaporated. Having the best owner in the NFL, maybe all of sports, doesn't hurt; compare Green Bay's arrangement to instead having a team run by that fella in Texas (who coincidentally was on the short end of one of the true highlights of this season). Is it the team's history? Sure, maybe some. Though as a kid, I'd just missed the end of the party, so their legacy didn't mean much to me. If anything, I hated hearing about it; I just loved the team, just as they were. I'd accepted that the Packers were never going to really compete post-season, and certainly weren't gonna get to a Super Bowl in my lifetime, and NO WAY could they win it all. But I still watched every game. And then one Reggie White came along.
I could go on, and on, and on. That same little kid meeting Erik Torkelson, as he made an appearance in our tiny town's tiny drugstore. Into adulthood, Packer Central, as our bachelor house was known, with mighty celebration or breaking of glass, depending on the outcome. Narrowly escaping serious injury at Soldier Field. Failing to avoid same at County Stadium. On and on.
I guess for now I'm just gonna be happy to have had that gasping-for-air-down-the-stretch feeling one more time. Couple of drops this afternoon? Sure. Couple of inches from blocking that kick...whatever. All good. I'll even spare you my short list of now-hated opposing quarterbacks (hint: two members rhyme with Shmaepernick and Farkenton). After all these years I'm forced to admit I still love when this team wins, and I suffer when they lose. But there is no shame in today. This was a valiant effort, by a great team with key injuries that still almost pulled it off, and a superb staff, and a fantastic stadium full of fans that I can only hope are all saying the same thing: NEXT year. ~ by Karl Zarling
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