Somewhere around fifth or sixth grade, my family made a pilgrimage to Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Growing up in Memphis, there wasn’t a local NFL team to be loyal to, so we were big Packers fans because of Dad’s connection to The Minister of Defense, #92, Reggie White.)
Though a huge supporter of #92, really I was in love with #4, Brett Favre (“What about Brett Fav-reh?” Name that movie.) I don’t know what that means about me, given his recent notoriety, but whatever it is, it more so applies to my brother John, who passionately loves Brett Favre til this day. In any given college football game, John pulls for the outcome that will most benefit the SEC as a conference; in the NFL, he hopes for whatever will personally benefit Brett Favre.
So, our trip to Green Bay was a magical quest; we arrived in the snowy world of Bart Starr and Vince Lombardi, where men with exotic accents [yankees] drove cars painted with bright green and gold checks; the cheeseheads we obtained upon arrival were the talismans that led us to Mecca. . . Lambeau Field.
With Dad’s connections, he and my two older brothers had passes to watch the game on the field. The frozen tundra itself.
Whereas Ben, Mom, and I were extremely high up in the stands. Maybe Dad’s connections weren’t so great after all, now that I think back. . . (Dad, don’t read too much into that. The experience was still magical.) Not to be deterred, I proudly held high my neon green poster. . . I guess I brought it from home in the plane?. . . which read “I [heart] #4.” I knew, surely because I cleverly chose neon poster board, that I would either be on TV, or Brett would see it and certainly return my love.
Back to my brothers and dad on the field. I don’t know if it was planned or a spontaneous urge they got as they stood on that hallowed ground, but one of the three of them, or perhaps it was a team effort, began [subtly] kicking at the grass where they stood. After awhile, a small patch of turf was successfully disconnected from the ground.
This is when, I can only imagine, my brother squatted down, eyes on the field of course, as if so focused on the game he needed to rest his legs from standing for a few moments and get down for a better angle on the action. The other two likely positioned themselves casually in such a way that other spectators couldn’t see my brother harvesting a bit of Lambeau Field into his huge winter ski jacket for safe keeping.
That, my friends, is how the Frozen Tundra came to our house on Audubon Drive. Mom sent an email on Super Bowl Sunday asking who we were rooting for, with a not-so-subtle reminder that it had to be the Pack:
Remember the cheeseheads that decorated the bedrooms of your youth. The backyard at Audubon did have a little scrap of transplanted turf from the frozen tundra. And last, but not least, Will’s high school football team defeated Chad Clifton’s (Tackle, Green Bay) high school football team in Chad’s home town back in the day.
She followed up today, letting us know that my brother Will called her out for the email, acknowledging the points she made, but asserting that she forgot some things in the Steelers’ favor. Namely, her future daughter-in-law is from Pittsburg, and something else about other former Ole Miss players who play for the Steelers. Mom says she accepted those points (and she likes Steeler Antwaan Randle El), and she needs Will to give her his fiancee’s email address to be included in these email debates.
Mom’s final point, which Will acknowledged, is that the Steelers quarterback is “a dirtbag.” Unlike Brett Favre.
Will, how could you abandon your first love??