Packer Pride defines a new nation

Our Favre, who art in Lambeau, Hallowed be thy arm. Thy bowl will come, it will be won, in New Orleans as it is in Lambeau. Give us this Sunday, our weekly win, and throw many touchdown passes. Prevent those from passing against us, lead us not into temptations, but deliver us to Bourbon Street. For thine is the MVP, the best of the NFC, and glory to cheeseheads everywhere.” — Favre’s Prayer, created days before the Superbowl in 1997.
I happened to be milling around Dinkytown when the Packers won the Superbowl in 1997. I didn’t watch the game, but I knew the second at which the game ended, and who won, due to the collective, ghost-like cheer emanating from several bars, surrounding apartments, liquor stores and cars passing by me. About a minute later, a pickup drove by, dragging a whoo-hooing, cheeseheaded man behind it on the icy streets. I found myself instantly annoyed. I had heard too much about this “Packer Pride” nonsense, and it was getting old. “These people are exhibitionist hams, and nothing more!” I confidently thought to myself. Once again, I was wrong. Packer pride is by no means just skin deep.
Political scientists say that every nation bases its entire system upon the religion of its culture. Here in America, our Constitution, humanitarian philosophies, legal system and entire society is implicitly and explicitly driven by the engine of Christianity. Green Bay is no different. Only on the planet of Green Bay, we all know the primary religion isn’t Christianity. It’s Packerdom. Annoyed by the clichÇ? So was I. Then I learned it was all true.
Green Bay natives living on campus should truly be thought of as foreign exchange students. Every aspect of the society from which they come seems to be so affected by this football team that this little town resembles more an island country unto itself than a city within our nation. In order to take a more anthropological gander at this strange people, I’ll break down the idiosyncratic anecdotes into cultural categories.
Green Bayites do celebrate the same basic holidays that Americans do. The difference, however, is the order in which Bayonets list the priorities of holiday and football. For instance, in 1985, Halloween so-happened to fall on a Sunday. For some odd reason, Bayonets reserve the hours between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. for trick or treating. This particular year, however, the Packers played the Lions at 4 o’clock.
Something had to give. Despite the fact that the Packers were having a pathetic year, it had to be Halloween. Yes, they did celebrate Halloween in Green Bay that year. They just did it on the 30th instead. Next year, look for the same shift.
Geography and education
During that Halloween, and every other Halloween, shoulder-padded, helmeted, and cleat-wearing wannabe quarterbacks and wide receivers knocked on the doors of houses which resided on streets like “Favre Pass,” “Holmgren Way,” “Lombardi Avenue” and “Packerland Drive.” The next school day, these same Green Bay Packlets educated themselves at schools such as “Vincent T. Lombardi Middle School.”
Like Americans, these Bayite students are eventually forced to work for a living. But Packer fans evidently recognize one religious holiday that Americans do not: a game in which the Vikings and the Packers vie for first place. On Oct. 5, the Vikings raped and pillaged the small country of Green Bay, an overwhelming number of GM workers played hooky from the plant in Janesville, Wis. The plant closed down, and GM lost between four and five million dollars. The next such holiday occurs this weekend. Beware, GM!
Law and order
Employment isn’t the only domain in which unruly Packer zealots get let off the hook. Violence is another, so long as the violence is being committed in support of a higher cause. For instance, Nathan Garot, a student at the University, said that after the Packer-Vikings game on Oct. 5, he witnessed a Vikings fan committing a blasphemous act: kicking and punching Lambeau Field in celebration of the Vikings’ victory. Garot then saw that a perplexed fan in a Reggie White jersey soon put a stop to the lewdness by knocking a tooth or two down the American’s throat. Within seconds, a cop broke up the scuffle. Grabbing the Vikings fan by the shirt and the trousers, the cop tossed the man in the general direction of the street, advising him never to come back to his country.
Social welfare
But these Packer people aren’t all bad. As a matter of fact, they’re rather crafty when it comes to capitalism-induced charity endeavors. Lambeau Field was the battlefield on which the 49ers fell prey to the Packers during the 1997 NFC second-round play-off game. It was a rainy, sleety day, thereby causing the players to look more like mud-wrestlers than football players by the game’s end. Needless to say, the field was torn to shreds. The Packers won, which meant that they would host the Carolina Panthers in the next round. That meant the turf had to be replaced.
The franchise decided to sell the mangled turf back to the people who put it there in the first place. Slicing the field into countless 1-foot by 6-inch chunks like one would a Paul Bunyan-sized birthday cake, they sold each piece for 10 bucks. (Pieces with chalk or paint on them went for $15.) Some arrived as early as 6 a.m. By 7 a.m., people were lined up all the way onto the highway. The cake was finished before noon, and Green Bay beat Carolina on fresh new grass the next week. Because the first turf sale was such a hit, the franchise sold the turf after this game as well. They obviously made a mint, and every penny went to charity.
Nate Garot’s family also purchased a slice of the sacred land. They planted the grass in a flowerpot and left it in the back yard.
“The grass is dead, but it’ll never leave the flowerpot,” he added.
This is all just the iceberg’s tip of the madness. It literally seems endless. Newborns, for instance, are swaddled in Packer-colored blankets just minutes after entering the world. Green for boys, gold for girls.
As in “Brave New World,” the brainwashing can never start too early. A cheesehead hat once saved a Packer fan’s life on an airplane when he used the hat as a sort of nerf helmet to cushion the blows wrought by turbulence. At least 35 businesses in Green Bay used the word “Packer” in their name.
Yes, this place is for real. These people aren’t exhibitionists, they’re foreigners. It won’t be long before they attempt to secede. Until then, the next time I see a ya-hooing, cheeseheaded packer fan being willingly dragged across town behind a truck by a rope tied to his ankle, I’ll be more tolerant of the culture from which he came.
Go Vikings.
Rob Kuznia’s column appears every Monday. Send comments to [email protected]