Going to add a lot more.
The strands of green dyed hair hangs under my Cheesehead frizz in the mid-August Wisconsin sun. 2012 was probably the hottest summer in the mid-west that was on record. The sky above me was black, and I was praying that this rain would hold off until after the Green Bay Packers vs. Cleveland Browns game. But, as I stood there waiting for the Green Bay Metro (Cheesehead route); I had a feeling that the rain was not going to hold.
I wasn’t alone for long, a couple joined me. The guy was dressed in his Browns gear and the young lady was dressed in her Packers gear. I smiled and said, “This will be great rivalry.” They smiled back, laughed and asked if this was the right stop. It was the only stop near the Ramada, but I remember a year prior I had the same nerves about being in a new town.
“Yes, this is the Cheesehead route. It’ll bring us directly to the game,” I sounded like a pro and someone who has traveled to Green Bay many times. I just read what the paper under the bus sign had written on it (the paper was hanging up in 2011 as well).
“Cool. Thank you,” they both said to me and sat down on the curb. I turn to the young lady and ask, “how long have you been a fan?”
Her story was similar to mine: the guy (I think he was either her husband or boyfriend) said, “sounds like how she got into the Packers.” I remember when I first became a fan. Dad was watching a football game on TV and the Packers were playing. I thought Clay Matthews was cute, but the way they were playing was awesome. I decided I’d watch again and I did every week until the end of the season in January 2010. I became a full-fledged fan after reading their history and watching even more games in September 2010. I just loved their history and the team just represented me. I bought stock in the Packers in December 2011 to solidify my relationship and to show my love and respect.
I said to the couple, “I feel bad. My green hair dye didn’t really work.”
He replied, “That’s okay. Your whole outfit makes up for it.” I obviously had my Cheesehead, but I was wearing my green Aaron Rodgers jersey with yellow tights that came from Halloween 2011, the year that I was Clay Matthews; I looked like an honorary Packers player in this outfit—I was ready for the tailgate and game! I also had a sign to hold up, since I forgot my MAKE THE CARDINALS EAT DIRT sign in 2011, which said GO PACK GO! MAKE THE BROWNS EAT CHEESE. Last year in the Packers Hall of Fame museum there was a sign showing a bear eating a piece of cheese that said to their rivals, The Chicago Bears, MAKE THE BEARS EAT CHEESE!
The Cheesehead bus finally pulls up around the corner and we get on. I remember getting lost in 2011 trying to find Brett Favre’s steakhouse for the tail gate; I was hoping that I remembered where I get off. For good measure, I asked the driver where it would be and he said he would point it out to me once we arrived.
When I first went to Green Bay in 2011, going to a tailgate party was a must. I remember going onto Google looking for one and coming upon Packer Fan Tours’ website that offered tailgate parties before games among everything. The website describes the event as “Our Tailgate Party is held outdoors just 2 blocks from historic Lambeau Field at Brett Favre’s Steakhouse in Green Bay. Starting 3 hours before kickoff, it includes an “all-you-can-eat” buffet of traditional Wisconsin “tailgate party” fare with a cajun twist! Chow down to your heart’s (and belly’s) content before pull out your Green Bay Packers Tickets and enter Lambeau.” In 2011, I was really cheap and at first I went with the children’s package that was $15. Of course, they called me since the red flag went up that I was alone and was changed to an adult ticket, which was $25.
Remembering drinking unlimited screwdrivers and eating several brats, running a relay race but not winning at it despite running as fast as I can without losing my Cheesehead, I had to do that again in 2012 and the ticket was the first thing I ordered after my game tickets. I wanted to relive those memories and Packers Fan Tours is definitely the company that offers it.
The bus driver lets me off closer to Brett Favre steakhouse compared to 2011, but I still had a trek. It took me about ten minutes to get there from the front entrance of Lambeau Field where the bus left off. When I get there, I ran into the guy I met earlier sitting at the bar at Big D’s with his Packers motorcycle. The motorcycle is awesome—it was custom made with a yellow body with the Packers logo painted on it along with some signatures. The back had a half football on it. The design made me smile and he lets me take a picture with his beloved bike.
The man on the bike and I chatted a bit more. It was still early and we had ten minutes before the gates would open. He mentioned that he had traveled a long way and was probably a person that traveled the most for this game. I disagreed and told him that I came a pretty long way. I learned that he came from Chicago and often he has to protect his bike from disgruntled Bears fans since they are rivals. Usually most Chicagoans aren’t too vicious and make fun of the bike in good spirit, but he did mention that sometimes people are malevolent about it. I explained that I am from Philadelphia and disgruntled Eagles fan can be the same way, but probably not on the same scale since they are not division rivals. He just laughs and I am thankful he didn’t ask why I’m not an Eagles fan like some other Wisconsinites ask me. I was never an Eagles fan and just never liked Philadelphia teams. No one in my extended family follows the Philadelphia teams (dad’s a Baltimore Ravens fan).