Well, friends and family, the truth has to be told, and it looks like I am about to share my dirty secret. But first, a small back story so you can appreciate the struggle that I have faced as a fan of the Green Bay Packers.
As I have stated in previous articles, I was a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, prior to Aaron Rodgers taking over the helm in 2008 (please see previous article "Green Bay Packers Fan Cured From Curse: How Aaron Rodgers Let Me Watch the Pack").
As I could not watch the Packers games, due to my family and friend's superstitions, and since I am an avid football fan, I had to go with a team that nobody in Wisconsin really cared about.
I could've went to the dark side and became a Vikings fan, but let's face it: I couldn't do that myself. I may be kind of crazy, but I'm not nuts.
I chose the Buccaneers due to the fact I lived in St. Petersburg, Fla., at one point in my life and my family, who still resides in St. Petersburg, could purchase me apparel and memorabilia if I bribed them enough.
A fair trade was arranged: I would purchase Packers apparel for family members in Florida if they would purchase me Bucs apparel. It worked wonderfully for both parties.
Another reason the Bucs were a great choice was Mike Alsott. Anyone who watched Mike Alstott play football knows what I am talking about. Tough yards that need to be gained? Give the ball to the A-Train.
He was virtually indestructible, a force to be reckoned with on the field, and an active advocate for children and families in need off the field.
As a matter of fact, a good majority of the Bucs players were involved in some type of advocacy for people in need, as evidenced by Warrick Dunn, who built houses for homeless families in the Tampa area.
The Bucs and I had a good run together. While I was teased mercilessly by my family, friends and co-workers for being a Bucs fan, as I live in Wisconsin, home of the Packer Nation, I had the last laugh in the 2002 season.
When the Bucs made the playoffs, I said, "Keep teasing me. They're going to the Super Bowl...Jerk." Well, I said something to that effect anyway. And when the Bucs made it to the Super Bowl, and WON, the teasing stopped...at least until the next football season, when the gentle reminders of my football allegiance were spoken of with snorts and derisive laughter.
On Dec. 12, 2004, I attended my first NFL football game with my family. My brother, Dan, decided to utilize the "Go Big Or Go Home" idea for purchasing Christmas gifts and took our family to a football game.
As I have stated before, some of my family members, who shall remain nameless, are Vikings fans. Dan purchased four tickets to the Minnesota Vikings against the Seattle Seahawks at the Metrodome.
The family was thrown in the car, Beverly Hillbillies style, and off to the Cities we went.
Jed Clampett, meet Randy Moss. Approach Mr. Moss with extreme caution. Make sure Ellie Mae's critters do not startle Mr. Moss, please, as it was not known how Mr. Moss would react.
I watched with glee as the Seahawks beat the Vikings. Here's your mental image for the day: a descendant of Norway, home of the true Vikings, who is self-described as a nearly six foot tall, fat, furry, Norwegian woman standing in the Metrodome, screaming "WOOO HOOOO!" every time the Seahawks made a good play.
Needless to say, the unnamed Vikings fans that Dan and I drove to the game with were not amused and it made for an awkward three-hour car ride home. My first football game was great fun, but as I was not a fan of either team, it wasn't a complete success.
In 2005, I had the opportunity of a life time. My sister-in-law, Diane, snagged tickets to a Green Bay Packers game, AT LAMBEAU. For people who don't follow the Packers, they may not understand what a BIG DEAL this is.
Season tickets to Packer games are passed down from generation to generation. Single game tickets are treated with ultimate respect. People I know have stated they would sell their first-born for Packers tickets, my own mother included.
If you ever meet a man who was once known as Darnell Moen, please let him know that his family loves him, misses him, and thanks him for making the ultimate sacrifice so his family could go to a Packers game.
I'm kidding, of course.
This brings me to my dirty secret (and main point): I went to the Packers game... And... They were playing the Buccaneers... I wore a Mike Alstott jersey to the hallowed halls of Lambeau Field... I cheered for the Bucs, while at Lambeau Field...
Before the death threats start, I have to tell you that I also cheered for the Packers. There was a deep conflict in my soul. The angel on my shoulder said, "Dude! That's Brett Favre! The Packers! You're from Wisconsin, missy! What are you doing?!"
The devil on my shoulder said, "Cheer for the Bucs! Your family has denied you the privilege of cheering for the Pack!" Needless to say, the people around me probably thought, correctly, that I was insane as I was hooting and hollering for both teams.
Yes, friends and family, my dirty secret is out now... I wore a Bucs jersey to a Packer game. Going into the game was not a big deal. Sure, I got the comments going into Lambeau Field:
"Oh my gosh, what are you wearing?"
"Oh, goodness, a Bucs fan...Lord above, I need a beer."
"The Bucs are going to lose, you know..."
And this was from my family that I went to the game with, all decked out in their Packers finest! I was not allowed to be in the picture that was taken, and it was initially requested that I walk behind them so it would not be apparent that I was with them.
The comments did not improve when I made it into the atrium, relatively unharmed, to obtain refreshments, nor did they improve when I took my seat.
And when the Bucs won, my mother, who is a rabid Packers fan, turned to look at me with deep regret in her eyes: "We gotta get you out of here."
I was hustled out of the Lambeau, and I'm pretty sure my Mom was thinking that they should've traded me for the Packers tickets instead of Darnell. I made it to the car, with only a few minor cuts and bruises.
One thing I was able to remember, after the concussion cleared, was a rather large, drunk Packer fan who stood right in front of me, disbelief and hurt in his eyes. I looked up, and up, at the large man and said, "Ya, hey, great game, huh?"
As soon as he heard my Wisconsin accent, the hurt look increased in his eyes as he stated, "Are you from Wisconsin?" I said, "Ya, I am."
His large, callused hand covered his heart, as his eyes rolled towards the heavens and he stated, "This is just wrong... You're from Wisconsin! What in the hell are you wearing?"
My Mom, in her divine wisdom, just grabbed my arm and hustled me to the car.
The man, who was obviously wounded that a Wisconsin girl COULD EVEN CONSIDER being a fan of a different team, is probably still in psychotherapy, as meeting me shook his values and beliefs to his very core.
So, yes...I have a lot of making up to do towards the Green Bay Packers. I have disrespected Lambeau Field. I have made poor decisions in my football allegiance.
As I have grown older, and more mature, I have realized the despair that I have caused my family and friends, and for that, I am truly sorry.
I will strive to be the best Packer fan that I can be, and with the forgiveness of the Packer Nation, I will become a better person.
My ultimate goal is to make up for my past transgressions, and attend a Packer game next season, at Lambeau. I shall announce my past misdeeds and atone for them.
And with that being said, I can't wait for the game on Sunday. Go Pack, go!