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.