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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From My Window

Issue Date: January 3, 2019

Not Fair Weather Fans



By Jane Thibodeau Martin,



**********

My husband and I are both "born to it" Packer fans. It would be unthinkable to not be; we are Wisconsonites and fall Sundays have been structured around games the entire time we've known each other. We have hundreds of memories of afternoons at home cheering, the first time each of our kids said "touchdown!" and fun outings with friends on game day. Every single one of the family dogs we've loved over the years gets into the act, barking wildly and frisking when we are clapping and hooting, celebrating a pick or score. And we've been fortunate enough to go to some games, all documented in treasured photos.



So it was a letdown when it became obvious that this year's iteration is not up to the high standards we've been accustomed to (and spoiled by) the last few years. But it doesn't change the fact that we still love the team, not only as a group of athletes but as a cultural institution in our beloved state. The economy of Wisconsin is heavily impacted by our professional football team, from grocery stores and bars to retail outlets, motels, and restaurants; even tourism. I am always amazed at people we meet (even in far-distant states) who have been to Green Bay JUST to tour historic Lambeau field. Football is good for Wisconsin business and we should not take this asset to our state for granted, even if you personally don't care at all about football.



In recent years it has gotten harder and harder for me to watch the injuries as data around brain damage has become more damming. I shudder when someone is slow to get up; when legs or shoulders are fractured or someone is pulled out for a concussion assessment. This is a brutal sport; extremely dangerous and no player who walks onto the field is guaranteed they will walk back off. Football players, at least some of them, are well paid. Personally, I don't begrudge them the money. Salaries are not my tax money; the team owners make billions and players should get adequate compensation for their short, risky football careers.



All that said, with the team struggling, some of the fun has gone out of Sundays for the rest of the regular season. We'll still watch " and still hope to see continued improvement of some of the younger players with an eye to next year. We'll watch playoff games, and I always pick the underdog to cheer for when the Packers aren't in it. And besides, there is always next year to look forward to. Hope springs eternal in Packerland.



One of my high school classmates, "Ron," communicated in an "on-line" platform after the loss to the Bears that he'd be cheering on the Bears now, since a lot of his friends are Bear fans. This led to some very funny commentary from people who know him, like "what self-respecting Packer fan has friends who are BEARS fans?" Truth be told there are a lot of "mixed marriages" and friendships " which all adds to the fun. And I reflected on his comment as that of a true good sport " rather than ranting and raving about mistakes that were made by players or complaining about coaches or referees.



When the Packers let Coach Mike McCarthy go in the middle of the season, national sportscasters were shocked. "Green Bay is a classy organization," was the theme. "Surprised they'd let him go in the middle of the season, instead of finishing out."



There is something to be said for the team you support having "class." Some of the other teams do not have that quality; class may not always contribute to results on the field but it always results in getting respect and admiration. And the coach demonstrated that quality, in spades, with his comments after his firing and his full-page ads thanking Packer fans. Kudos to you, coach, for modeling grownup behavior. You acted like a leader.



Post-season won't include Packers in the playoffs, but speculation is already rife about who the new coach will be. My hope is that the organization continues to value keeping it classy.



Packers are respected for more than good football; they are respected for quality throughout their long history. They look for players who have good character, who can fit in while living in tiny Green Bay, and who are strong role models for kids (and adults!) And all those things need to be led and consistently demonstrated by the coaching staff as well.



So good luck to the Bears and other teams who will be in the playoffs. I wish all of you a safe post-season. And not one "the Bears still suck" will cross my lips".until fall.



One of my "favorite" brothers-in-law comments that "having a song stuck in your head" is called having an "earworm." Although very descriptive, it is so extremely gross I can't use that term. This week the song stuck in my head is a responsorial from church " not a bad thing at all to have top of mind as I start a new year. Interestingly enough, it is a bilingual responsorial, with half of the verses in Spanish. I had two years of Spanish in college; it is fun to find my way through some pronunciations again.



You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: JanieTMartin@gmail.com.


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