Packer fans are a great study in human psychology. I have been around this country, experienced sports fans in their home markets, and I’ve found no other group like Packer fans.
Most other sports markets have a large percentage of fair-weather fans, or worse yet, when-the-sun-shines-up-my-butt fans. However, I remember in the 1988 season when the Packers had another losing season in a row. They went 4-12. I had just moved to St. Paul for college, and I had no better time that year than watching the Pack beat the Vikings both times they met. That year, their only other winning games were against Cardinals and the Patriots.
The thing is, 1988 was the Pack’s 9th season in a row of .500 or well worse, yet, Packer fans stuck by them 100%. They’re just happy to be there. Aww, the Pack will do better next year. True, some people get upset over certain plays or player mistakes, but they always, always back the team.
Many people have tried to explain this phenomenon. I like Garrison Keillor’s explanation. Just like in Lake Wobegon, life is not always perfect…in fact it often isn’t, but you still don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Packer fans have the cold, blue skies, serious rain storms, mobile obstacles on the roadways, awesome lakes, clean forests, frost heaves and pot holes, good breweries, large vanilla breweries, cheese, and beer-cheese soup often garnished with popcorn. Packer fans have learned to simply roll with it…whatever it is, and find something good in their day.
Every year, Packer fans think it’s their year, and for every year it’s not, they think next year will be. I think all this is the reason Green Bay is title town. The team really wants to play for fans like that. It’s also why players like Randy Moss never made it to Wisconsin – we won’t stand for stuck-up players that don’t return our appreciation for them.
Lambeau Field is the only venue sold out since, I think, 1962. It’s the home of the Lambeau Leap – the move elated athletes make to share elation with elated fans. Packer players really feel the love in Green Bay and all of Wisconsin. When they’re not playing well, they don’t get the Lambeau Leaps and the shared elation which they play for, but they don’t get crapped on either which tends to get players pissed-off at their fans, and I think this hurts their chances of doing better.
I’m soooo looking forward to tomorrow’s game, and, once again, I’m looking forward to watching the fans and being part of it all. Go Packers!!!