Give Me A Couple Days. This Takes Some Time To Comprehend

I’m still in Dallas and still smiling.

By my math, the Packers have been Super Bowl XLV Champs for nearly 24 hours.  It’s going to take some time to full wrap my head around what I witnessed yesterday at Cowboys Stadium.  It does not seem real. 

I will provide a full recap beginning tomorrow, hopefully, when I’m flying and waiting in the airport between flights.  Until then, I’m going to continue smiling.

Day One…in the books

Dallas…nice to meet you.

I finally arrived in Dallas…after a terrible day of travel.  My flight to Atlanta wasn’t too bad, but my layover was even longer than I thought in Atlanta because of the balmy weather in Dallas.

My layover wasn’t too bad actually.  I grabbed a bite to eat, talked some smack to a Steelers fan, and eventually made my way to my gate.  After walking what seemed like 3 miles through the terminal, I realized there was a minor situation arising by my gate.  Nothing major, but it definitely caught my attention.  I got a little closer and saw numerous Delta employees taking pictures with some dude.  This guy was wearing the most hideous pink, purple, and white leather coat you’ve ever seen.  The number of sequins on this coat would make any beauty queen jealous.  This jacket read “Super Bowl XLII” across the front and I knew there was no way any self-respecting man would ever purchase this jacket.  When I got a little closer I realized it was actually someone “famous”…Wylef Jean.  My thought…”Holy crap…it’s Wyclef.  How cool is that?”  I was pretty fired up by seeing an actual “celebrity”.  Now I’m from Green Bay.  We don’t ever come across celebrities in Green Bay.  So even the sight of someone like Wyclef was fairly cool.

That excitement of seeing Wyclef was easily squashed when I saw the next guy sitting by my gate.  As I meandered around the terminal I saw some dude just hanging out and waiting for the next Delta announcement.  I had to do a double take and make sure it was him.  And sure enough, it was.  Andre “Bad Moon” Rison was sitting at my gate waiting to board the flight to Dallas.  Being the outgoing douche bag that I am, I had to chat him up.  After I said “hi” and introduced myself I think he was sort of surprised that someone recognized him.  I thanked him for his servicee to the Packers and specifically his Super Bowl XXXI touchdown.  I basically got the feeling that no one has brought that up to him in some time.   While I was talking to him I immediately thought of something.  I’m not sure if I weirded him out or not, but I had to ask him.  Urban legend in Green Bay has it that Rison threw his Super Bowl XXXI ring into the Fox River in Green Bay after Ron Wolf & Coach Holmgren didn’t re-sign him for the 1997 season.  He had a good laugh at that and said “it’s in a safe place back home”.  He did mention that he and Coach Holmgren didn’t see eye-to-eye, and that in my opinion that could have been the root of that whole situation.  But that that point, I could do nothing but believe him.

After I talked to Andre I walked around a bit more, checked in on Wyclef (who loved all the attention by the way), and then took a walk.  After roaming around for a bit I made my way back to Gate E09.  I walked past Soujourners Cafe and saw someone else I recognized.  Today was my lucky day.  Not only did I see Andre Rison, but I saw one of his teammates from the 1996 Packers.  Tyrone freaking Williams.  Right as I saw Tyrone he was embracing Andre.  I’ll be honest, it was pretty awesome to see the reunion of 2 former Packers that won rings together.  Y0u could tell these guys haven’t seen each other in a number of years.  Tyrone was also on his way to Dallas and was looking forward to the Super Bowl.   T-Will and Andre ducked into the cafe and enjoyed a couple of beverages before they had to board the flight.

When we arrived in Dallas it was kind of a mess.  Our flight was delayed about an hour and our luggage took forever to get to the baggage claim.  I was surprised when Tyrone approached me to talk about the game.  He asked if I had a ticket and what I thought about the game.  Of course, being the homer I am, I said the Pack would win by at least 14.  He agreed and said “The Pack needs this one”.  We talked for quite some time and he informed me he hasn’t been to Lambeau since 2006, the 10-year anniversary of the Super Bowl XXXI team.  I said he didn’t need to worry because he’d be up in September.  He gave me a baffled look, and I came back with, “Of course..it’ll be the 15 year anniversary of you guys winning your rings, and these guys will be getting their rings”.

He had a huge smile after that.  And so did I.

As a side note: Tyrone Williams is living in Pensacola, FL and is “living the good life” and is part owner of a restaurant chain.  He spends his free time golfing, working out, and hanging out with his family.

“The Journey is the Reward”

For those that don’t know, I’m borrowing that line from the Brian Laviolette Scholarship Foundation.   (Check them out.  Unbelievable cause)

As I write this, I’m literally flying from Milwaukee to Atlanta.  The 1st leg of my journey is literally underway.  Last night I could barely sleep.  I fell asleep fairly easy, but after a short while I was tossing and turning.  Thankfully 6:00am (when my lovely girlfriend woke up for work) came soon enough and I was able to get up and finish throwing everything together.

Shortly before 9:00am I picked up my buddy Chris and we made our way down to Milwaukee so I could catch my flight.  Chris is my business partner’s son and a fellow diehard Packer fan and  we spent the entire hour and forty-five minute drive talking Packers.  Chris isn’t going to Dallas unfortunately, but he was willing to ride with me to MKE and then drive my car back to GEEBZ.  Chris, if you read th1.is, thanks again.  I owe you a couple of cold ones.

Last night it was finally starting to sink in that I’m going to Dallas.  For the past 8 days it was a surreal feeling and it didn’t really feel possibly.  Like I’ve said before, going to the Super Bowl was always on my “bucket list”.  But the fact that I’ll be at Cowboys Stadium will definitely be a highly emotional even for me.  If you know me at all, and my brother can attest, I take Packer football pretty damn serious.  More than once I’ve been in the stands at Lambeau with tears in my eyes.  Whether it be for the National Anthem & following flyover or when 70,000 were chanting “ONE MORE YEAR!!!” as Brett Favre walked off the field after the games against the Seahawaks (2005) or the Vikings (2006). 

I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be able to attend Sunday’s game.  If I sound redundant or like I’m bragging, I apologize.  Never was that my intention.  I really truly am grateful for such an unbelievable opportunity.  

My only wish…that I could have my brother and dad sitting beside me on Sunday. 

Go Pack Go!

My Top 5 Packer Memories

I was thinking about this the other night as I contemplated ideas of what to write about.  People have asked me “what’s your favorite game that you’ve been to?” time and time again.  I don’t know if I can answer that one.  Not yet.  Instead I started thinking about some of the great times I’ve had that are Packers-related outside of Lambeau Field.

I racked my brain pretty hard and this is what I’ve come up with…

5.  “The Snowball Fight” – January 12, 2008

Now this evening could be categorized in the “Top 5 Games at Lambeau” if I could ever put that together, but the game itself isn’t what was so fun.  You see, this was the night of the famed “Snow Bowl II” at Lambeau Field, aka the 2007 Divisional Playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.  As awesome as the game was, I would argue that the ensuing snowball fight and party were even better.  There was nothing like walking out of the Oneida St. gate at Lambeau Field to only start being pelted by snowballs.

For at least an hour our whole tailgate party took part in what seemed like the world’s largest snowball fight.  There were thousands of people whipping the freshly packed snow at each other.  No one cared if they got pelted in the face or head.  Everyone was laughing, drinking, and chucking snow balls.  The beers were flowing, the high fives were flying, and everyone was partying.  The debauchery continued as me moved the party down Armed Forces Dr. to Anduzzi’s and everyone partied until the wee hours of the morning.

4.  Meeting my hero – September 18, 1992

I can remember back in April 1992 when the Packers selected Terrell Buckley, Cornerback out of Florida St., and being thrilled.  I immediately developed a man crush (or maybe a pre-adolescent crush being that I was 12) on T-Buck.  I didn’t even care that he held out that year.  He couldn’t do any wrong in my eyes.  I was buying all of the hype.  Maybe it was just his hype, but it didn’t matter to me.  As the season began and the “next Jim Thorpe” still wasn’t on the field I was getting a little worried.  But then it happened.

On Friday September 18, 1992, Buckley ended his holdout and signed his contract with the Packers.  That evening my lovely mother took my little brother and me to Port Plaza Mall to get some shopping done.   We milled around the mall for some time and I grew quite anxious as went from store to store.  Then all of a sudden, as my mom was shopping at Lane Bryant and my brother and I were annoying the hell out of everyone, I saw Terrell Buckley.  I remember it to this day like it was last Friday.  You see, earlier in the evening we stopped at Fan Fair so I could pick up a new hat to wear to that Sunday’s Packer-Bengals game.  The light went off in my head to have T-Buck sign it.  I ran to find my mom and demanded she find me a pen.  I grabbed my brother and we proceeded to stalk him and his family.  We followed him around for quite some time before I mustered up the courage to ask him to sign my hat.  After he signed the hat I was on cloud 9 and could barely sleep that night.

I only wore that hat only 1 time…that Sunday at Lambeau as Buckley returned a punt for a TD and Brett Favre connected with Kittrick Taylor for a game-winning TD as time was running out to beat the Bengals.  The rest, as they say, is history.

3.  A Welcomed Guest – December 1, 2008 to December 2, 2008

December 1, 2008 started off to be a pretty boring closing shift at The Abbey Bar in De Pere, WI.  It was slower than usual and by 9pm we were done with the dinner rush and the bar was pretty dead.  I was working that night by myself and by 9:30pm I was wondering how late I was going to be there.  I walked back into the bar from the kitchen area to find 4 new customers sitting at the bar.  One guys orders for the group and orders “four Crown & Cokes”.  I make the drinks and serve them to the guests only to realize that it was Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and 3 of his friends.  As I soon found out, it was about to be Aaron’s birthday at the stroke of Midnight and they were out to celebrate.  Right then and there I knew my night was going to be exciting.

As it turned out  Aaron had a few buddies from back home come to town for a few days to go to a game (which they lost to Carolina the day before) and to hang out for his birthday.  Before long I had about 20 customers in the bar and most of them were members of the Packers team.  Aaron was joined by Chad Clifton, Mark Tauscher, Ruvell Martin, John Kuhn, Korey Hall, Tony Moll, Jason Spitz, Matt Flynn, Brian Brohm, Spencer Havner, and a handful of other guys.  By the end of the night everyone was have a great time and Aaron was playing DJ on the bar’s stereo system which was set up behind the bar.

Unfortunately the night had to end at 2am and I had to go home.  The party lasted right up until bar close, and most everyone was sufficiently drunk.  I don’t know if I’ve ever poured, or drank, that many Southern Comfort & lime juice shots as I did that night.  From what I gathered, that was Aaron’s libation of choice.  The night ended with a ton of great memories, a full tip jar, and a pretty decent buzz.

2. Hall of Fame – Summer of 2000

I spent my 2nd summer after college working for PMI at the Packer Hall of Fame.  It was a pretty cool job because I got paid to hang out with Packer fans all day.  My duties ranged from selling admissions, inventory, and working in the gift shop.  One of the coolest parts of my job was being able to spend some time in the basement archives.  I was able to rummage through various pictures, jerseys, helmets, and trophies, and other memorabilia that was kept from previous displays or for future displays.  I spent many afternoons in complete awe.

On three different occasions that summer I was in awe by whom I met, not what I found covered in dust in the basement.  I was fortunate enough to meet and spend some time with Bart Starr, Jerry Kramer, and Paul Hornung.  All three Packer greats were in town for various reasons that summer and they all stopped by the Hall of Fame.  Being the diehard I am, I was nearly speechless when I met Mr. & Mrs. Starr.  I finally was able to ask him for a picture (which I have since lost unfortunately…damn disposable camera) and a signature.  He obliged and was one of the nicest men I’ve ever met.  It was truly an honor shake his hand.  Mr. Kramer was very engaging and he invoked the conversation, thankfully.  Mr. Hornung wasn’t the friendliest of folks, but he was with a larger crowd of people.  I didn’t get to spend much time with him, but a handshake and a brief conversation was good enough for me.

1. To Be Determined – Dallas, TX February 5th -7th

No matter the outcome, I know this coming weekend is going to be the time of my life.  I’ll give updates as the weekend progresses and fill everyone in on all the details.

A Little Bit More “About” Me – Part II

When I started high school in the fall of 1994, the Packers were on the up-swing.  Bob Harlan, Ron Wolf, and Mike Holmgren were in the process of leading the Packers back to the glory.  Brett Favre, Reggie White, and Leroy Butler were implanting their names amongst the Packer legends.

My sophomore year the Packers lost a heart-breaking NFC Championship game to the Dallas Cowboys.  As tough as it was to stomach that game, Packers fans knew their team would be back and even better the next season.  That season was filed with many highlights, including Brett Favre winning his 1st NFL MVP award and Reggie White having another All Pro season.

The 1996 season was absolutely magical.  As we all know, the Packers went on to beat the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XXXI.  I’m not here to rehash that game and tell you what happened or give you an old play-by-play.  What I will tell you is that night, January 26, 1997, was the best night of my life…to date.  I watched the game at my parent’s house and cheered on the Packers to victory with a number of their friends.  Almost immediately after the Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation was over, the house phone was ringing and I was piling into a friends’ car and we were on our way to Lambeau Field.  I will take memories of that night with me to my grave.  I don’t know if I have ever had as much fun as I did that night.  That night, along with the next days’ “Return to Titletown” celebration at Lambeau, are near and dear to my heart.  The fact that the Green Bay School District shut down school the next day for the parade and celebration at Lambeau Field tells you what that game meant to our fair city.

(For the record I refuse to talk about the 1997 season and subsequent Super Bowl XXXII loss to the Broncos because I hate John Elway.  And along withthat it always seems like ESPN plays that “Greatest Games” episode on that game whenever I am in a bad mood.)

As I got a little older, and started making some money, I started going to Packer games a lot more often.  When I was growing up I only got to 1 or 2 games a year if I was lucky.  Our family does not have season tickets, so I had to rely on my dad taking me or one of my friends inviting me along.  Whenever my dad was able to get tickets he always rotated who he took, me or my brother.  It wasn’t until the year 2000 or 2001 that I decided I didn’t want to miss a home game at Lambeau Field any more.  I have been very fortunate since then to almost always find someone will to sell me a ticket or give me a ticket.  Some of the people whom I’ve met on Twitter have asked me what my favorite games have been.  That is a post idea for a later date.  Without really thinking about it and going through old ticket stubs I’d hate like hell to leave one out.

This pretty much leads me up to today.  I have so many great memories from times I’ve spent at Lambeau Field that it would be nearly impossible to put them all on paper…or on a computer screen for that matter.  Writing this post has given me a couple of ideas for future posts, so keep checking back throughout the week for more ramblings from me.

And once again…find me on Twitter at @KCousineau09 or look me up on Facebook.

Kyle Cousineau

An Argument on Behalf of Green Bay

I sort of have a routine when I get into work.  First thing I do is check out the Green Bay Press Gazette, Packers.com, and ESPN.  It’s been a habit of mine for the past 6 or 7 years.  For whatever reason I feel like I can’t “start” my day at work until I’m up on local news, Packers news, and sports news in general.

This morning I went about my normal routine, and found an interesting little blurb on the front page of ESPN.com entitled ‘My Country, ‘Tis of Thee’.  The premise: which city has the right to be called “America’s Team”?  Dallas, Pittsburgh, or Green Bay?  Now I’m not one for fancy monikers, and personally I think “Titletown USA” is good enough for me, but GeneWojciechowski knocks this one out of the park on Green Bay’s behalf.

Follow Gene on Twitter at @GenoESPN.

A Minor Hiccup…perhaps

So yesterday I received some unfortunate news.  When I booked my flight to Dallas this week I made my reservation to arrive into DFW on Friday evening.  I did so because I knew Saturday was going to be a hectic day with having to venture into downtown Dallas to meet up with Jason LaCanfora.  My friend Scott, who lives in the border city of McAllen, TX, planned on driving up on Friday and meeting me when I arrive.  The original plan was to get situated at the hotel and check out the town.  But that changed.  Scott received word yesterday morning from him supervisor that he no longer has Friday off because they’re short-staffed.  Sucks for him, but at least he’s off on Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the big game.

As of now, I’m flying solo on Friday night…so it appears.  I’m going to be on the prowl for Packer fans to have a few beverages with.  I’ve been in contact with the fine folks of CheeseheadTV (Corey & Brian) and The Packers Lounge (Alex & Jayme) and there are tentative plans to get together at a local saloon (lame Texas reference…I know).

So if you know of any fun bars in the area around the Cowboys Stadium please let me know.  I would greatly appreciate any help.

Find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter to get ahold of me.

Go Pack!!

UPDATE:  I received a text message from my buddy Scott last night and it looks like I won’t be flying solo on Friday night.  His boss approved a “switch” on the schedule so we’re good to go…not that anyone cares or was even worried.