|Dan--in his game rig--and me.|
Michigan--and felt really bad for that punter after the game.
We headed a few blocks away to the Republic Chophouse, where I had an awesome 14oz. Ribeye and far too many dinner rolls. I have long labored under the perhaps misconception that midwestern women are somewhat larger than their sisters elsewhere. Judging from the staff and the clientele at this place though, there is little evidence to backup my longstanding prejudice. Our waitress was a fetching lass of about 23 or so, who it turns out, has the same last name as me.
After dinner, we headed over to Kroll's, a famous spot across the street from Lambeau, where Dan and his dad Tim mad friends with the Ohio State folks across the bar. We didn't stay too late and instead headed to the hotel for a good night's sleep.
Sunday dawned bright and crisp, but the forecast was for a relatively balmy 54 degrees F at game time 3:30 local. We rallied at 0800 and headed off to a local diner for a wonderful breakfast, and then to a gigantic storehouse of Packer paraphernalia. Tim bought me a hat and gave it to me upon arrival at his house on Friday, and so I figured that was enough Packers gear for me. I did wear my University of California sweatshirt, as it is Aaron Roger's alma mater.
|The Packer Shrine at the house where we parked. Year round shrine.|
A quick trip back to the hotel was followed then by our drive to the stadium at about 1100. We
parked across the street from the stadium in the driveway of a friend of Tim's from the dental supply industry. Lambeau sits right next to extensive residential neighborhoods, and the people there charge people to park in their driveways and on their lawns, but in a twist that reinforces the elemental goodness of Wisconsinites, this generally entitles the parkers to use of the residence's bathroom. Since we were parking at a friend's, we stayed and had a few pregame libations and passed some time, before heading back to Kroll's where there was a band playing and Packer fans were getting their pre-game on.
It was here that I experienced two foods--first was a Kroll's cheeseburger--recommended highly by my oldest brother--and while it was good, it was still just a cheeseburger. Then I tried a Wisconsin delicacy--Cheese Curds--which are sorta like mozzarella sticks/balls, except they don't taste as good. I know Big Fred won't be happy to hear it, but Cheese Curds are dramatically over-rated.
|Best seats I've had at any event. Ever|
|Dan, Me, and Tim at the game|
After the game, we headed back to where our car was parked--where I downed a Brat and a Burger
and some potato salad while we relived the great Packer moments on the field that day. After an appropriate amount of time for the traffic to die--we headed back to the hotel to await our 0230 Monday morning wakeups to get General Dan and I on our way. We had to drive 2 hours or so to Milwaukee, fly to Baltimore, and then he had to fly onto Huntsville, AL and me to Newport RI.
Some closing thoughts?
- There is a huge culture of people who follow their NFL teams around the country--I saw evidence of this both from the number of Charger fans in Green Bay and the number of Patriot fans I saw making their way back to New England this morning.
- I may have watched my last pro game in person. I far prefer to watch the pro game on TV, and I cannot see myself going to another pro game in person unless I had to be there for work or something of the sort. Unless of course, General Dan suggests we go to another warm weather Packers game.
- There is something worth understanding going on in the State of Wisconsin. Hear me out. The Governor has made his bones as a reformer who went after public sector unions. He also presided over a state with a growing economy. He also is Governor of a state with a great deal of private sector unionization. And he is also the Governor of a state with a TON of manufacturing, if the scores of businesses I saw along one stretch of highway was to be believed. My point is, capital and labor appear to be living in a relatively symbiotic arrangement there--and Illinois businesses are heading north every day. Additionally, the state has a very good public school system, and its state universities are superb institutions. Yes. There is something good happening in Wisconsin.