Like more than 111 million people I watched Super Bowl XLV, attired in my yellow shirt and green sweater. I even donned a cheese head for a picture commemorating our eleventh charity party to support the Orange County Performing Arts Center, now called the Segerstrom Center.
Unlike my wife, and most of Wisconsin, I was able to leave the game after it was finished.
Most of the above-mentioned celebrated non-stop, and are still in the midst of that activity. Unlike celebrants in Los Angeles and New Orleans, there was no looting, little alcoholic revelry, and zero civil unrest. In fact, the major local activity was clearing the snow from Lambeau Field for the celebration when the team returned from Arlington, Texas. There was serious snow. A call went out that the team would pay $8 an hour to shovelers, but I doubt if any money changed hands. My relatives were coming from as far as Milwaukee to do their bit to contribute to the celebration. My wife would have come from California except she no longer has warm enough clothes to face the weather.
What is the appeal of this team? Part of it comes from the fact that it is hard to have an attitude when you live in Wisconsin. I’ve yet to see a picture of a Packer player in a mink coat. Aaron Rogers leads the team in prayer, as did Reggie White before him. As a matter of fact the team participated in a unifying activity, not a hardy party, but piano lessons, culminating in a recital that was perhaps not ready for Idol Prime Time, but did result in knowing that weaknesses can be supported by one’s teammates. I have relatives who have chatted with Donald Driver at a MacDonald’s.
One tends to forget that the name, “The Packers” came from a time when the team left the field to rest for their real job in a meat packing plant. This is a team that, when other football teams in Racine and Detroit were going broke during the depression, survived by selling stock to the people of Green Bay. While that stock is no longer of value, subsequent offerings have made Lambeau Field a money maker 363 days a year and have retained the original front seats of the stadium so a Lambeau Leap is really only about seven-feet, and the view remains unobstructed.
One also tends to forget that in a sport where loyalty is an ephemeral spirit, two Quarterbacks played for a total of 30 years: Bart Starr and Brett Favre. I find it pleasing that the biggest display of individuality seems to be Clay Matthew's hair, rather than a celebratory dance step.
The only downside in the day’s activity came from my sister-in-law, who on her way to watch the game with her Chicago-residenced son, found that there “were no cheese curds left in the state of Wisconsin”. Curdless, she nevertheless enjoyed the game. As, I hope, did you.