I’m torn. My oldest son sent a text last night and said he is planning to drive up from Houston this weekend to watch the big game on Sunday. While I’m really looking forward to spending time with him, I’m not looking forward to the Ice Bowl playoff rematch between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers.
Let me explain.
I married into a Packers family.
Unknowingly at the time, I might add. That wasn’t revealed until after we were married.
I vividly remember that as the day I realized the honeymoon was officially over.
We had driven to Florida to visit her grandmother, arriving in the middle of the night. Tired from the long drive, we immediately retired to the guest room and went to sleep. The next morning I awoke to see this large trophy and an old football on the shelf in the bedroom. Being the nosy reporter that I am, I picked up the ball, noticed it was filled with autographs and read it was signed by the World Champion Green Bay Packers from the very first Super Bowl.
“Hey, how did your grandma get this football?” I asked. I thought it was a legitimate question because her grandma never struck me as a football fan.
I need to interject here that I grew up in the Carolinas. When I was growing up, the only football that mattered was college football. I thought the only people following the NFL were the folks who didn’t have anything else to do on Sunday.
“My cousin gave it to her,” she said.
“Your cousin? How did he get it?” I asked.
She took the ball out of my hand, spun it around and pointed to his signature.
“My cousin, Ray Nitschke,” she said, still pointing.
“Ray who?” I asked.
That was the last time she ever called me “honey,” or “darling” or any of those other sweet pet names newlyweds call each other. They have long since been replaced with “hey you,” and as the kids grew older, “please inform your father” messages delivered through our children.
About a year later, admittedly as an attempt to get back in her good graces, we moved to Wisconsin so she could be close to her family. (I really think it was because she could watch every Packers game without having to buy cable). But I digress.
Most know that Wisconsin is renown for its cheese. What they don’t tell you when you cross the state line from Illinois is there are two things that are sacred in the state of Wisconsin: the Green Bay Packers and deer hunting. And you shant speak ill of either one. Not unless you want to risk having the snow plow guy park at the end of your street and wait for you to finish shoveling your driveway so he can plow the street and dump two tons of snow into your freshly shoveled driveway — the one you’d been shoveling since 3 a.m. so you could have it all nice and clear before you had to leave for work.
I speak from experience.
In addition to shoveling a lot of snow, I spent my years in Wisconsin being indoctrinated into the fabled lore of Title Town. In Texas, we teach our kids about the Alamo. In Wisconsin, from first grade kids can recite every play of the Ice Bowl, especially the lunge from Bart Starr in the final seconds that sealed the Packers victory over Dallas in the 1967 NFL Championship game.
It’s actually quite moving. Everyone is standing around, holding candles and taking turns retelling the plays — complete with color commentary on what Vince Lombardi was doing on the sidelines. A huge cheer erupts as the final play is recalled, “Bart Starr keeps the ball and sneaks in. Touchdown. Your Green Bay Packers have won another championship on the frozen tundra of Lambeau!” After singing the Green Bay fight song, everyone blows out the candles and goes deer hunting.
It’s the only time of the year you can go to Walmart and be the only one in the store.
That said, for some strange reason, our oldest son Zakk — who spent his formative years growing up in the heart of Green Bay Packers country — became a Dallas Cowboys fan.
No one knows why, but somewhere around first grade the Cowboys became his team.
As you can expect, he wasn’t very popular on the playground.
When I was offered the job in 1997 to come to Waxahachie, Zakk was absolutely ecstatic. On the move down from Wisconsin, he insisted we take the long way through Dallas so we could drive by Texas Stadium in Irving. Taking a look in the rearview mirror, I think I saw tears on his face as he pointed out the hole in the stadium roof, as Zakk stated so eloquently while pointing out the window, “just so God can watch his team.”
Needless to say, we have had several “interesting” Sunday moments in the White house.
Of course, it didn’t help that during my years in Wisconsin I became a Brett Farve fan. That was OK when he played for the Packers, but when he signed with the Minnesota Vikings, just the mention of his name is considered treasonous. “How dare you speak his name!” It’s like being at Hogwarts and saying “Voldemort” instead of referring to “he who shant be named.” (I have to admit, at this point I bring up Farve’s name every chance I get. On purpose. After 29 years, what’s one more “hey you,” right? You should have seen the reaction when Aaron Rodgers was hurt and I said they should bring Farve out of retirement. And don’t tell me I was the only one thinking that.)
Actually, I thought saying Brett’s name was more like Beetlejuice than Harry Potter. If you say his name three times he comes out of retirement. Again.
Brett Farve, Brett Farve ... better not risk it. Jerry Jones is just crazy enough to sign him. Then I’d really be in trouble.
While everyone in North Texas is gearing up for next Sunday’s Ice Bowl II rematch when the Cowboys return to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in Green Bay, I’m more concerned about the battle for the White house.
While I would love for my son to experience what it would be like for his team to advance to the NFC Championship game, I’m more concerned about the big chill that will encompass the White house should the Packers lose. Zakk will go back to Houston after the game. I still have to live here.
Oh well, if the Cowboys win, at least I’ve become accustomed to responding to “hey you.”
And, I don’t have to worry about the snowplow guy. By the way, I still have nightmares about that. And yes, I do suffer from CHSD (Cheese Head Stress Disorder). I’ve been informed there is no known cure. However, the recommended therapy is to go deer hunting.
I also wonder how many times I’ll mention Brett Farve during Sunday’s game. I really do miss watching him play. I heard he was coaching high school football in Mississippi. Hey, I wonder if he would be interested in applying for the open Waxahachie coaching job? Then I would have a reason to talk about Brett Farve every day.
If that happened, though, I’d probably have to find another place to live. Although, it would be nice to have a fellow CHSD patient to go deer hunting with.