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

Packer Fans In Dallas

By Jane Thibodeau Martin,



**********

On Oct. 8th my husband and I were in Dallas to watch our Packers play the Cowboys. Since we will be relocating to Wisconsin before long, we figured it was our last chance for a relatively easy visit to "Jerry's World," also known as AT&T stadium.

I was hoping, as I always do, for a fun game to watch and no serious injuries. What we got was a barn-burner, and it was an absolute privilege to be there to see it.

A few opinions and observations from me:

" It was close to 90 degrees at game time. Yes, they shut the roof so the sun wouldn't roast everyone; yes, it is "sort of" air-conditioned. It was still terribly hot in the stands and I have to believe the players, all geared up, found it grueling. Close-up views on the video screens showed everyone profusely sweating " so was I, and I wasn't working hard like the players were. How on earth did coach Mike stand it in his normal warm-up long sleeve top? I'll take Wisconsin football weather over this any time.

" "Coddled players" " There has recently been people talking about how players are "coddled" and paid ridiculous amounts to play "a game." Yes, it's a game. A brutal game, where a serious injury is nearly a certainty over a player's career. If you listen to retired professional players, a few years of football is usually followed by aches and chronic pain, at a minimum, for a lifetime. Add to that the current understanding of the impact of the frequent concussion injuries, causing permanent brain damage; and I am willing to accept the "coddling" and high pay rates. I would NOT want my son playing pro football at any price. As much as I love the Packers, some of the hits and gruesome injuries are extremely difficult for me to accept as the price for my entertainment. I feel compassion for them, and you won't hear me calling their salaries too high for the short time they are able to play at this level. The owners are willing to pay, so be it.

" "It's just a game" " No, it's a business. A huge, billions of dollars business. We spent quite a bit of time talking to the owner of a restaurant located across the street from the stadium. Game weekends are his "bread and butter," and the presence of Packer fans, or other traveling fans, are a mainstay of the financial health of his business. (He did comment the recent move of the Rams to L.A. was a disappointment to him, since almost NO Rams fans attended the Dallas home game recently.) Likewise the hotel we stayed at; transportation services; shopping venues, the employees who supervise parking, security, cleaning, and vending at the stadium; gas stations; grocery stores, and on and on; without even talking about the businesses directly connected to the teams themselves. We dressed as the Packer fans we are and felt welcomed and appreciated at every single business we patronized. Football is very good for local communities.

" "Jerry's World" " the stadium is beautiful. The video screens are amazing. There was every kind of food and drink vendor you could want " almost. I looked hard and long for a cup of coffee to no avail. I understand it was hot, but I can't be the only one who needs a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. That was really my only complaint about the stadium, but if you want to go there, be prepared to pay, and pay dearly, for parking. We stayed at a walking-distance hotel for two nights to "earn" free game day parking (not offered for one night hotel stays,) but rumor has it on-site parking is $275 per game by permit only. Local businesses offered parking in their lots, with close-by ones charging $100 plus, and lots further away more reasonable rates of $60 if you were willing to walk some blocks.

" "Second Best Moment of Game Day" " surprisingly, this was at church. We attended a local church, in Packer apparel since we were headed to the game. When we walked in one of the musicians made eye contact with me and gave me a "thumb's up." The woman in the pew next to us made several comments to me like "Go Pack Go." There was a family of four in the pew ahead of us, all in Packer apparel, and another woman there came over to our pew before services start to ask where we were from " she was a Wisconsin native and Packer fan. On the way out they all came over to talk and in the parking lot, at this church in Dallas, a "Go Pack Go!" chant broke out from the group. I didn't lead it, but I was happy to join in and we got lots of laughs from exiting parishioners.

" Speaking of "Go Pack Go" despite the fact Packer fans were outnumbered in the stadium, of course, this chant broke out quite a few times in the second half, getting loud enough that I wondered if the TV viewers could hear it. It was VERY loud just before the Packers intercepted in the third quarter, and periodically after that as well. The Dallas fans tried to drown it out, but you could still hear it. Amazing.

" The Dallas fans were nothing but courteous to us. The men right in back of us did a lot of griping in the second half but no coarse language and nothing personal and believe me, I know they were frustrated. This was the second time this year they had a very good chance to beat the Packers, and they blew it again. I love classy fans, and am always proud when I hear that Packer fans were congenial to visiting fans in Green Bay. Conversely, I am embarrassed when I hear someone chose to be a "horse's backside" to any Green Bay visitor because it's like I am a member of a family of Packer fans. When someone is rude like that, it reflects on all Packer's fans.

" "Mixed Couples." My husband and I were taking unofficial count of the number of "mixed couples" we saw. That's what we call pairs with one person wearing a Packer shirt and the other Dallas garb. We saw lots and lots, and the official results of our unofficial poll are the vast majority of the pairs were "him" in Dallas gear and "her" in Packers gear. I told my husband that is because women are smarter than men.

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


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