From Kosovo to Lambeau, a most loyal Packer fan

I don’t like to brag, but I’m pretty sure I sat next to the Packer fan who traveled the farthest to get to Lambeau Field Sunday afternoon.

Deniza Peja, a sweet 17-year old, came 4,991 miles to attend her first Packer game.

She had not been able to see the Packers play before she left Kosovo to attend a year of high school here in Wisconsin, so she was especially excited to see them live on Sunday.

Deniza braved some chilly temperatures to cheer her new favorite team on to an impressive and surprisingly one-sided 53-20 victory over Philadelphia.

An athlete herself, Deniza had never seen an American football game before she came to the states. But she caught Packer fever early, and Sunday she proved herself to be a learned and enthusiastic fan.

We discussed defensive formations and the Packers’ curious but effective use of six linebackers and no defensive linemen.

We high-fived touchdowns. We high-five touchdowns seven times.

We talked about the Matthews brothers, Clay and Casey.

We marveled at the leg strength of Eddie Lacey, who willed himself into the end zone.

We applauded the athleticism of Julius Peppers, who intercepted a pass and ran it 52 yards for a touchdown, and then executed an acceptable Lambeau Leap.

More than 80,000 people attended the game, including a charming trio of Eagles fans with puffy cheese steaks on their heads. I enjoyed them all.

Mostly, though, I got a kick out of a 17-year old Packer fan who came all the way from Kosovo to enjoy her first game.

Todd and Daniza
Here is Deniza with her really fun host father, our friend Todd, who was also attending his first game at Lambeau. Todd and his wife Catherine, together with their daughters Amber and Lauren, have been a host family to several amazing young high school students. For more information about hosting a foreign exchange student, check out the AFS website.
She came all the way from Kosovo to attend her first Packer game

At least these Philly fans kept their heads warm.
At least these Philly fans kept their heads warm.

Here is the cool Air Force F-22 Flyover we all saw after the National Anthem. Special shout-out to Jacob Schmitz, an Appleton North grad and Air Force mechanic, who flew to Green Bay to support these planes.