Monday, September 11, 2006

Turning it on and Packing it in

It was a day I had looked towards with some casual interest since the moving truck pulled into our Milwaukee area driveway and dropped off our belongings seven months ago:

Our first Packers Sunday as Wisconsin residents.

Mind you, I’m not claiming to be a life-long Packer Backer, nor am I at the point where I’m jumping on the Green Bay bandwagon (though, given the past couple of seasons, no one could accuse me of being a fair weather fan). In fact, I’m not even a huge football fan – it tends to fall below baseball and hockey in the pantheon of Sports That Keep Me Up At Night. I’m a New England Patriots fan, but I don’t own any Patriots clothing. (Well, maybe a hat. Or, two hats. Okay, two hats and a t-shirt.)

But after living in Arizona for seven years, where I once was able to buy football tickets half an hour before kickoff – at the stadium box office­ – I was kind of curious to see what the impact of Packer football would be on the rest of day-to-day life on a Sunday in Wisconsin.

My first indication – I went out to get bagels just before 9:00. Cruising up Bluemound Road on the western edge of town. In a charitable, Sunday-morning-and-there-are-no-cars-behind-me-sort of way, I stopped at a crosswalk to let people cross the street to get to church. Naturally, they’re all dressed nicely, but I couldn’t help but notice there’s an awful lot of green-and-gold in the average wardrobe. And perhaps more polo shirts with Green Bay “G”s than you’d see in other parts of the country.

But things were pretty subdued aside from that – a few Packers references on business signs with slide-out letters, plenty of flags flying from cars.

I had hoped to cruise the supermarkets while the game was on – you can tell how sports-mad a city is by how empty the potato chip aisles are in the grocery stores during game time. [When we lived in Arizona, my wife and I once had a going-away dinner for a friend that had the audacity to take place the night of the 7th game of the World Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the New York Yankees. (If you can imagine.) The dinner ended mid-evening, but being pre-Tivo, we didn't want to go home and turn the TV on in the middle of the game. So we went to Target to shop for toothpaste. Not only were we just about the only ones in the store, all the TVs in the electronics section were tuned to the game, so we spent the time trying to talk to each other loudly enough to drown out the sound from the other end of the store. But I digress.]

Anyway, my wife and I got involved in an exciting afternoon of Crawl Space Insulation Repair and then it was just about time to kick off. So I grabbed my foam cheesehead – a going away present from my Arizona colleagues – and plopped myself down in front of the TV, for the first time as a proud resident of Packer Nation.

And then I watched the game. And then I dusted off my Patriots hat.

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