“In high school, I started as quarterback,” he bragged.
“Really?” I said. “What did you finish as?”
With a pained expression, he explained to this neophyte what he meant in lay terms. Fortunately, I’ve come a long way since then. Say hello to a rabid Green Bay Packer fan with the green and gold wardrobe to prove it.
I admit my fanaticism started for the wrong reasons. One fall day in 1990, I caught a few minutes of a game when then-quarterback Don Majkowski’s picture and stats filled the screen. Gee, I thought, he’s kind of cute without the helmet.
I mentioned this at the firm where I worked, and a few days later one of my bosses surprised me with a T-shirt featuring Majik himself. The furthest thing from feminine, I nevertheless wore it faithfully till the day Majkowski left for the Colts.
Since then, I’ve gathered plenty of Packer paraphernalia, including a wide variety of shirts and a pair of round earrings big enough to hang on a Christmas tree. I even own NFL licensed headgear, though I find it odd wearing a baseball cap with a football logo on it.
The Packer theme continues in our kitchen with team mugs, jugs, and platters, which I fill on game day with green snacks. This is not hard to do, given my tendency to forget food in the fridge.
One of my favorite acquisitions is the Packer frustration doll, a mean looking soft-bodied guy whose head and appendages are held on with Velcro.
Fans can yank them off in the heat of the moment and toss them at the telly toa vent their disappointment.
I understand that soldiers find football a welcome diversion. “You don’t want to think about your family [before battle] and get emotional,” said Sgt. James Norris, “so you think about sports to get your mind off it.”
When I grew up, our battles were over football. The males in my clan glued themselves to the tube each Sunday while we womenfolk tried to steer them toward family outings. But if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, so join ‘em we did.
And these days I start as armchair quarterback.