I haven’t lived in Wisconsin since the summer of 2006. Brett Favre was still our quarterback and Charles Woodson had yet to play a down. Feels like a lifetime ago. Since then, I’ve been on the move. Drove across country to spend a year in the other city by the bay, and then drove back and found myself somehow landed in Cincinnati.
As a die-hard Packers fan, living outside of the Wisconsin boarders is a challenge. In San Francisco, I woke up every Sunday at 9 am to drive down to Palo Alto to watch the games while my AmeriCorps friends, most from all over the country, fans of other teams stayed in their beds and slept. It was the only place I found where someone understood me. The manager of the bar was a Packers fan and understood my passion and didn’t judge me for drinking Amstel lights before noon and occasionally yelling and scaring the other patrons.
San Francisco, compared to Cincinnati, was easy. The 49ers are San Francisco’s team, but not a lot of people have a strong passion for them. It was not complicated to slink out of the house early mornings to my little sanctuary bar. I did not have many deep relationships with people there, so few were around to witness or comment on my extreme fandom.
Cincinnati on the other hand is…complicated. I’ve been here for four years now. (upon writing this I realized that number has changed from 3 to 4 as I arrived the first week of August in 2007). I have a house, friends, fiancé and his extended family here. It’s impossible to hide. It was made very apparent to me early on in the 2007 season that my fan experience was different from those of the football fans around me. People made plans on Sundays that didn’t revolve around the game. And I could actually get tickets to a game. Since moving here I’ve been to Paul Brown Stadium four times. I’ve debated for a little while, was it Cincinnati and the Bengals or was it simply not living in Wisconsin? Clearly my obsessive behavior was normal and everyone else was the odd ones, and I wanted to know why.
Half the time I think its Cincinnati. I live in a city where the football team’s coach found out they re-signed their running back from a reporter on twitter. I, possibly drunk from laying out by the pool all day, proclaimed two weekends ago, that the Bengals are just not like any other football team.
The other half of the time I’m sure it’s just because the Packers are special; they’re the ones that are different from all other teams. Then my fiance tried to prove me wrong. SB is better at getting to know our neighbors than I am. One night shortly after moving in, he told me that our neighbor is a Packers fan. I immediately asked him, “Did you tell her that I’m having Jerry Kramer on my radio show?” In my head that is the FIRST thing he should have said. He looked at me, cocked his head a little, “No. I don’t think she’s obsessed like you.”
Are there really Packers fans out there that can be less obsessed than me? I don’t think I could always pick Jerry Kramer out of a line up, but from the age of five on, I feel confident that I knew the name. I consider that because I was raised right. Not because I am over the top. I have no idea yet whether the neighbor is a die hard like me or a casual fan; I hope to someday solve this mystery.
So that brings us back to today. Monday was my future in-law’s anniversary. We decided to take them out to dinner this weekend. Then there was this conversation.
Me: Can we take your parents to dinner on Friday?
SB: Yes. Sounds good.
Me: Because Packers Family Night is Saturday and I don’t want to miss it.
If that’s obsessed, then I don’t want to be normal.
Filed Under: Jayme Joers