You know that feeling when you meet someone for the first time and instantly feel that you’ve known them for years? I felt immediately connected to Jenny the first time we met. We shared the same love for the Oscar’s red carpet, wine and Aaron Rodgers.
Jenny is born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin so naturally she is a fan of the Green Bay Packers. Myself, on the other hand, find that I have to explain where my love for the Packers comes from. My Dad has been a fan since he was nine years old. He tells the story much better, but it all started on New Years in 1967 while watching the Ice Bowl game at Lambeau Field on TV. My Dad’s only job that night was to fetch beers for his dad and uncles as they sat around watching the game. During his many beer runs, he was asked to pick a team. From that moment, a Packer fan was born and they have been our family team ever since.
Jenny and her family were inspired by our journey and wanted to give back to us in some way. They offered my family tickets to a Packers game this season. I thought Jenny had one too many glasses of wine but come preseason I got a call asking if I was free to fly to Green Bay for the weekend and join her for a game.
Naturally I wanted to take some time during our trip and give back. I was disappointed to find out that the local events were full of volunteers. Although I knew that was good for them, I knew I’d have to find my own way to give back.
Before the game on Sunday, we spent the weekend exploring Milwaukee and taking a mini road trip up north to Green Bay, stopping in small towns along the way to fill up on cheese and antiquing. Jenny’s parents opened their house to us and made us feel like locals. We spent an afternoon taking a tour of the stadium and getting a once in a lifetime opportunity to run through the halls like the players out onto the field. When Jenny and her family told us the best cheese curds in the state were just 25 miles away you bet we drove there to give them a try. On the way back into town, we stopped at Bay Beach Park to spend some time on Lake Michigan. The park was beautiful and full of families playing in the water during the last warm days of the season. The beach was not so clean. We went back to the car, grabbed a few plastic bags each and immediately started filling up the bags with trash. Our hope was to make the beach litter free and beautiful for the visiting families. We lost track of time and headed back to the stadium to partake in tailgating parties.
The entire town shuts down on game day. The streets are full of block parties, live music, and people grilling on the front lawn prior to kickoff. Once inside it was amazing to see the difference in energy from the day before. We went from one in a few hundred during our tour of an empty stadium, to one in tens of thousands of people all here to cheer on the Packers. The Green Bay Packers team is the only professional sports team to be owned by their fans. No corporation or celebrity has any input on the team. We ate “pack” and cheese, made signs for the crowd, and sat with other season ticket holders to watch the Green Bay Packers win! This has been one of our bucket list moments that my family and I will never forget. Big shout out to Jenny and her amazing family for having us. I can’t wait to show them northern New Jersey.