Once a Cheesehead Always a Cheesehead
The Frozen tundra is where history comes to life, legends evolve, and temperatures have the tendency to drop to -31 degrees Fahrenheit. History is defined as an account of natural phenomena and that is exactly what the Green Bay Packers are.
Lambeau field, located in Green Bay, Wisconsin has always been a Mecca for me. For the past 14 years I guess you can say I’ve been obsessed with the Green Bay Packers.
When Earl “Curly” Lambeau founded the Acme Packers in 1919, picking up interested factory workers who sought to play football, I’m sure he never knew the fate of the now Green Bay Packers.
Winning their first Super bowl, in fact the first Super bowl ever played the legend of the Green Bay Packers and the Frozen Tundra began.
Being an only child, my dad’s sole goal in life was to make his daughter as interested in sports as he was. I have always been a person who goes through fads or obsessions if you will of certain things.
For example, once for six months all I ate was salad. Not because I was on a diet; just because I became addicted. Once it was chicken tenders. Sometimes it's purses, jackets, and shoes (not eating them so much as buying them), but I vividly remember the day my obsession started with the Green Bay Packers.
My dad told me to pick a football team that we would root for together. Because at this time, I was engrossed with the color green, I immediately chose the Green Bay Packers. Of course I could have chosen the Miami Dolphins, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Seahawks or the New York Jets but since my fixation was with a hunter green, I choose the Packs.
I wore a Bret Favre, No. 4 football jersey that was four sizes to big on me for about a month and the obsession never quit.
Finally, a few months ago, I officially classified myself as a ‘Cheesehead’. It all started with an exhausting trip to the Upper Peninsula (i.e. the middle of nowhere), Munising, MI to visit my boyfriend.
Long story short, my vacation became more of a volunteer job for the week, tracking black bears and inspecting their every move via satellite telemetry (whatever that means). As I was rather unenthused by the whole scenario, my boyfriend planned a surprise day trip to Lambeau field, scoring him major brownie points.
Green Bay is an old meatpacking town with a population of just over 100,000. As we parked at the legendary stadium tears filled my eyes. This was the moment I had dreamed of since I was eight. There we were in front of the 336,000, foot, five-story newly renovated infrastructure that had big green ‘G’ logos plastered all over it.
The first thing we ran into was two 14-foot tall, bronze statues worth over $400,000, each, one of Vince Lombardi, the coach who led the Packers into their first two Super Bowl victories, and the other of Curly Lambeau, founder of the Green Bay Packers.
If this was the only thing we saw, I would have been happy, but instead we decided to take the stadium tour, which only costs $11 and is packed with information and history.
Your tour begins in the new atrium, which cost $295 million to build and was paid for by a half-cent sales tax increase by the City of Green Bay, the county taxpayers, the Packers, and the NFL.
The new glass window atrium, where it’s “Always Miller time” houses five main eateries, Curly’s pub (which makes mean nachos and burgers with fresh Wisconsin cheese), and a huge arcade where you can practice your spiral.
As we met our tour guide Todd, he informed us of the 51-year saga of the Green Bay Packers, formally known as the Acme Packers as we headed up the escalators to stadium level. Lambeau field is the oldest stadium in football history.
Bought in 1957 for $960,000; it is one of the paramount stadium in the sports realm. As we reached the stop level we saw four bars, Packers memorabilia and convention like area, where townspeople can hold private events (for a pretty price of course).
In 1920, the Packers stadium consisted of bleachers which held only 200 people, Lambeau field today packs in a crowd of 72,928 fans every home game.
At this point, we were smack dab in front of the Green Bay Packers locker room where then Bret Favre, Greg Jennings, and Atari Bigby get pumped for the game. Todd informed us that we couldn’t get a sneak peak of the weight room, the theatre style seats, the player’s lounge or the barber shop, because players use this facility all year round.
During down times players use the locker room to get a haircut or to work on their six-packs and quadriceps muscles.
But, instead we moved onto the Packers tunnel. I won’t ruin the surprise, but let’s just say I was weeping tears of joy as we passed through the tunnel onto the newly completed field consisting of shiny Kentucky bluegrass turf. There I was, standing amidst the oldest field in history where so much greatness occurred.
Home to No. 92 Reggie White, most valuable player No. 15 Bart Starr, the 1967 Ice Bowl against the Cowboys, and the 1997 -17 wind chill Championship game against the Panthers, there I was on the turf.
We sat in the bleachers, which are impossible to get tickets to on game days, screamed Go Pack Go and listened as it was reflected off the north side of the stadium, and learned about the newly implemented heating system under the turf.
Thirty miles of tubing were put underneath the stadium in order to keep the field at a temperature (above 55 degrees) to ensure that another ice bowl like in 1967 didn’t occur. The top notch turf is made of 20 million stitches, placed five inches below the surface, making the field durable and reusable for years to come.
As we sat in a posh box with 28 theatre style seats, flat screen TV’s, and a prime viewing location on the 50-yard line we learned that boxes sell for $30,000, and half boxes for $15,000. If you’re thinking about buying season tickets, think again.
Season tickets to Lambeau field have been sold out since 1960 and the waiting list has about 74,000 names, meaning you will receive a pair of tickets in about 30 or so years.
This numbing, disappointed information ended the stadium tour placing us in front of a slue of Packers merchandise at the stadium pro-shop (where Cheese head’s, Green Bay ties, toothbrushes, hats and even remote control cars were sold).
Still with its original seating bowl, Lambeau Field is a place where some of the greatest moments in NFL history have materialized. The legend of the green and gold still manage to thrill and surprise fans to this day. The excitement and thrill of the stadium makes the city of Green Bay.
Everyone has that place. That place they are dying to go. The place that sends shivers down their spine every time someone mentions it. Lambeau field is that to me. This Mecca of football is where it all began.
It started 53 years ago and has continued to inspire football fans and history buffs throughout the country. It’s not just a stadium; it’s a vision of greatness.
The ’97 Packers inspired me to know what its like to root for a team with deep passion and the ability to smash and obliterate records. Watching Reggie White and Brett Favre pummel their opponents and unleash victory made me stay a Packers fan and I will die a Packers fan.
I am big on obsessing about something for a while and then getting tired of it, but the Green Bay Packers? That’s a habit I just can’t seem to kick.
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