Last Saturday I spent the day obsessed with Packers Family Night. SB and his parents were trying to mount a 95 pound TV on the wall; I was running around trying to reconnect our internet. I was NOT going to miss this. Living so far from the action, Family Night is met with much anticipation by me. The first time for me to really see the boys in action. And first time to welcome back the CheeseheadTV Live Blog.
My internet connection came back about 5 minutes before “kick off” (can you call the JUGS machine working as a kick off??). I was frantic. Barely kissed SB goodbye as he went out to take his parents to dinner for all their help, I was focused on figuring out how I would possibly be able to watch the game and help moderate the blog on ONE computer screen. Let’s just say, I did not have things together. Watering the yard, ordering dinner, getting wine, watching the Packers, chatting it up on line…my head was spinning. By the time I had settled down, the practice was over. During the first commercial break I went outside to move my sprinkler into its final spot for the night, and when I came back the stadium was empty.
As the chat, and our Packer night came to a screeching halt, some other semi-Packers related news began to come across my twitter feed. At the same time as the sky turned black about Lambeau, the 2011 Hall of Fame class was being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. My twitter feed almost in an instant went from tweets of disappointed or wet Packers fans, to people in awe of Shannon Sharpe. Unable to switch to the NFL network, as while the TV was on the wall, it was hooked up to nothing, I immediately scheduled my day on Sunday to find that speech and watch it.
I’m a rather “young” Packers fan. While as I’m in the last year of my 20’s I don’t feel that young, in Packers years, I’m a pup. When I was very young, the house was always full on Sundays, but by the end of the day most people were upset or throwing things at the TV. Before I was old enough to understand the ins and outs of football, I was able to pick up on the dramatic change in the moods of my relatives on fall Sundays. It’s sometimes hard to pinpoint when exactly I fell in love with the Packers. But I think this moment comes close.
Anyone who lived in the Greater Milwaukee Metro Area, and perhaps the state of Wisconsin, in 1992 will probably remember the “How many catches will Sterling have?” commercials. The number would float across the screen, perhaps attached to a balloon or bubble, where would he end up? 100? 102? 104? And every week that number went up. Now I was 10, I had no idea how freaking amazing it is for one receiver to have that many catches in a season, nor did I fully comprehend the magnitude of breaking a record that hadn’t been touched for 8 years. I just liked the balloons. And I liked them even more the next year, when Sterling broke his own record and caught 112. I didn’t understand technique or routes or why he always had a towel on his head, I just knew I liked those commercials, I liked that it made my family happy, and I liked winning.
So when Sterling got hurt, my main concern was whether he’d look like Frankenstein with the bolts in his neck. Realizing that this person who had pretty much reached mythological status in my head would not be returning to my team, I started to actually learn about football, and – and probably not by coincidence ;) – the team started playing better. But always in the back of my mind was Sharpe, this person who should have been. So I embraced his brother. I didn’t even hate Shannon when he unfairly beat the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII. Because somewhere I knew that Sterling was happy.
So Sunday, I finally sat down and watched the brother, and my first Packer player love, share the stage at Cannon. If you haven’t seen the speech, I highly recommend it. But even if you don’t have time to watch the whole speech – as it is rather long – watch Sterling’s intro and the subsequent hug between the two brothers. While Shannon asked the HOF committee to take Sterling’s career into account the next time they sit down to vote, I doubt Sterling will ever get in, “fate dealt him a different hand.” I believe that this day was almost just as sweet for Sterling as it was for Shannon. And the little girl in me, who sat and watched those balloons, or bubbles, float across the screen almost 20 years ago, came out and once again was all smiles.