Sunday, February 6, 2011

Not Like Any Other Town

Green Bay is different than other sports towns. Most people know that the team is publicly owned, the only nonprofit organization in professional sports. It's more than that. The team is an integral part of the community. If it's not the biggest employer in town, it's up there. The money the team brings in is crucial to the local economy. That's why Brown County voted for a tax increase to renovate the stadium years ago.

I finally got to see the renovations last year when I went back to see the Packers play the Cowboys, and let me ya, they did a helluva job. The glass atrium facing Lombardi Avenue is a thing of beauty. If you're a sports fan, you need to see a game at Lambeau Field. Even if you're not a sports fan, you should check it out. I went to Wrigley Field with my brother-in-law a few years ago, and even though I'm not a baseball fan, certainly not a Cubs fan, I remember the experience vividly. Wrigley is one of those places, and Lambeau is too.

When I lived in Green Bay, the population was probably 85-90,000. In a town that size, you can't help running into players. I used to see players out and about all the time. I remember seeing James Lofton shopping at Kohl's. I worked at Hardee's during high school, and I remember Larry McCarren routinely coming through the drive-thru. When I would come home during college, I used to see players all the time at the few clubs we had in GB. In Green Bay, you get to interact with the players and coaches in a way you just don't see anywhere else, and it makes the bond between team and town unusually tight.

My favorite Packer story involves one of the coaches. My buddies lived next to Dick Mojoleski, the defensive line coach at the time. We were playing Trivial Pursuit one night, and for one of our sports questions, the answer was Dick Mojoleski. I don't remember the question, but I do remember our excitement. We ran next door and showed Mr. Mojoleski that he was the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question. He laughed and thanked us for showing him. We told him to keep the card, and I could tell he was touched.

Everyone who has ever lived in Green Bay for any length of time has these kinds of stories. Just this morning I came across a great article written by Paul Gigot, an editor for the Wall Street Journal. He lived in GB in a different era, but his experiences are the same. Check him out, he does he a much better job of explaining the unique nature of Green Bay and its team than I do.

11 comments:

  1. cool - when does this thing kick off?

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  2. Watching the game and rooting for Green Bay in honor of your Dad. David finally found the channel and is doing the same ;)

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  3. You gotta love the Packer tradition. Things are looking good for them right now.

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  4. So happy they won. Good start to your year Tim.

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  5. Thanks everybody. I've been on the phone since the game ended with friends, celebrating. Just did a shot of Jagermeister for my dad-somwewhere he's smiling tonight.

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  6. sometime after the super bowl win 96, I was at Copps to buy some soup. This guy was in front of the soups...right in front of what I wanted..and he was taking forever..reading all the labels and stuff. Finally I said, "excuse me!?!"...and he turned and said sorry. Then he backed away from the soups. I grabbed mine and walked away. I hoped Coach Holmgren wasn't too upset with me.

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  7. That's an awesome story Mike! Maybe you'll see McCarthy around town soon-if you do, tell him Packers fans everywhere are proud of him and the team.

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  8. Wow. Thanks for sharing Green Bay in such a special way. What a unique town that must be.

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  9. Great reading Tim. Yes Green Bay is unique. Love all your blogs...... MOM

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