Monday, October 19, 2015

Wisconsin Wrap-Up and Onto Newport

I am sitting in a Newport RI hotel (more on this later), and I realize that I have left my readers collectively hanging, sometime on Saturday afternoon in Green Bay, WI.  So now, back to the story.

Dan--in his game rig--and me.
We arrived late in the afternoon Saturday at a nice Hampton Inn in Green Bay and immediately decided to rest for a bit before heading out to dinner.  We met down in the lobby after I took a bit of a nap, and gathered just in time to see the end of the Michigan, Michigan State game.  I was pulling for
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 
We got to our seats about an hour before the game started and just sorta watched all the stuff that goes on the field before a game--mostly kickers and punters practicing, and then the teams come out for some warmups which look like these huge, choreographed stage shows starring freakishly large human beings  Our seats were the best seats I've ever had as a spectator at any sporting event. Ever. In addition to watching what turned out to be a phenomenal game that came down to a great defensive play on the goal-line with two seconds on the clock, I spent much of the game just watching what it was that Aaron Rogers did to pass the time between offensive plays. Who did he talk with? Did he shuck and jive?  Was he nervy?  I felt like an anthropologist. I found it very interesting that when he comes off the field from an offensive series, he is met by a middle aged coachlike fellow who patiently waits for Rogers to doff his helmet, before exchanging it with a ball-cap and a towel to go around his neck. Every single time. I was unaware of any other player receiving such service/treatment, but I guess that's what you rate when you are Aaron Rogers.
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.
Enough for now. In Newport for a few days of Navy.  Be well.

1 comment:

NavyAustin said...

My people are from Wisconsin, on my dad's side. And my Peace Corps-serving liberal uncle, who I love dearly, is fond of bragging about Wisconsin's "very good public education system." Some will point to the Badger State's high test score average and say "we are good, look, we are better than Texas."

Nationally, whites score better than Hispanics, who score better than blacks. This is true in both Texas and Wisconsin.

Comparing the two states, white Texas students score better than white Wisconsin students, Hispanic Texas students score better than Hispanic Wisconsin students, and Black Texas students score better than black Wisconsin students.

Then you multiply by those averages by the demographic mix:
Texas: 45.3% non-Hispanic whites, 25.1% Hispanic, 11.8% black
Wisconsin: 83.3% non-Hispanic whites, 2.9% Hispanic, 6.3% black

Wisconsin, being as diverse as a Bing Crosby concert, wins the overall average by having so many more of the highest-scoring group in their pool - even though group by group, they score worse.

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