Thursday night had many story lines surrounding the Packers-Cowboys game.
- I could talk about Charter Cable and their battle with the NFL Network over including it in their basic package. The two organizations and their greed are hurting the fans they’re trying to serve.
- I could talk about working until 7:00 pm and missing kickoff.
- I could talk about my shock when Aaron Rodgers took the field as Brett Favre was on the sideline getting a forearm massage. I couldn’t lift my jaw off the ground for 2 full minutes as the scene unfolded.
- I could talk about standing for the entire game, by myself. By Myself. My brother had a life group engagement and my other Packer-Fan-Friend is in California (miss you Todd). Actually, I’ll probably talk about this story line later.
But the story line Thursday night was Packer Fan Community. Packer Fan Community was alive at the Great Dane, and probably every other establishment in Madison.
A lot of bad things happen in bars. People drink too much and get in fights. People drink too much and go home with someone they met, creating regrets for the next morning. People drink too much and then can’t afford their bills. People drink too much and don’t spend enough time at home with family. People drink too much, get behind the wheel, and become the most dangerous car on the road. Very bad things start at your local tavern.
But Thursday night at the Great Dane was electric. I got their late because I was working and had to take Katie home from the gym. I was supposed to meet some friends out, but they decided to watch it at the UW Training Rooms with another friend – I needed food and more excitement that 4 people watching the biggest game of the season. So I went to Old Faithful, the Great Dane Fitchburg. Our softball team has been sponsored by the Dane for three seasons now. It’s familiar and fantastic – atmosphere, food, beer. I knew what the scene would be like, but I didn’t care. There’s just something magical to me when perfect strangers gather at a public establishment for a common cause – especially Packers’ Football.
It was standing room only. I was directly under the projection screen, looking straight up for a quarter. Two men abandoned their spot, so I actually ended up with a front row view. To the NFL Network’s credit, their camera crew is fantastic. The game seemed so much faster. And it all came to life when Ryan Grant made a cut off the line and broke free from the Dallas defense. The cheers at the Dane were special. I’m not a writer, so I can’t describe what I felt at that moment, but hopefully you were somewhere that experienced the same excitement. Everyone in the room (and it’s a big room) were as happy as they could be to see their team pull off a great play that went for 6 points. At that moment, life didn’t get any better.
Camaraderie is magical to me. The bar is full of people like me – we want good food, good beer, and we don’t have the freaking NFL Network. We’re all together in the same situation, eyes glued to the same game, experiencing NFL football together. At that moment, we’re all friends even if we don’t know everyone’s name (cue up the Cheers theme song).
The whole game was like that. Brett Favre went out of the game and was replaced with Aaron Rodgers, which didn’t make fans happy, but Rodgers grew on us. The game got extremely exciting until our time ran out as Dallas got a first down with about 2 minutes in the game.
The most exciting Packer game I’ve seen this season was special in so many ways. Sure, I was by myself. Sure, I missed kickoff. Sure, my team couldn’t pull out a win. But Packer Fan Community was alive and strong.
And this year there’s always the Playoffs.