We take our game day preparation very seriously around these parts. For cold home games we dress for warmth, for early season games we dress for comfort and always, always we dress to honor the juju.
If the Packers lose when I’m wearing my favorite vintage jersey, of course I put it away for the season. A win streak makes my game day attire easy. I choose every single thing I wore to the previous game.
You don’t mess with Big Mo.
Yesterday, in a flurry of uncharacteristically thorough house cleaning I can only attribute to pre-game jitters, I discovered our Packer flag stuffed into the back corner of our linen closet. To my horror, I realized it had been there all season.
Normally, we open the season by hanging the Packer flag from our balcony. It stays there until the Packers lose. Then, we take it down, shake out the bad mojo, and wait until the timing is right to hang it back up. In 2011 the flag hung on our balcony all season; we worked it into our Christmas decor because we knew if we took it down we would threaten our beloved team’s historic win streak.
During normal seasons, the hanging of the flag ritual prompts earnest discussions — should we put the flag back up to turn this thing around? Should we leave it and its current-season-bad luck tucked away?
There’s a lot of pressure when you hold the fate of an NFL franchise on a shelf in your linen closet.
I shook it out and, due to the unprecedented nature of the situation, called for a committee vote. We had never gone a whole season without hanging the flag. Would it offend the football gods to hang it now? Having found it, would it be even more offensive to stuff it back on the shelf?
We bravely decided to risk the former, and, with 27 minutes to spare before kickoff, I stepped out onto the balcony (wearing my Christmas present Packer sweater that I would need to remove just before game time because the Packers lost last time I wore it) and I hung that flag.
I sat down to watch the game (having switched out my Christmas Packer sweater for my Kostelnik jersey that was too big in an unflattering way but had brought the team a win last time I had worn it). I remained poised to jump up and remove it through the entire first quarter. But, the flag worked its magic as the game went on. It flapped out there in the wind, and our offense began to click.
As the sun set on the flag’s first day, I saw Aaron Rodgers grin and I knew that, finally, all was right with the season.
You’re welcome, Packer fans. I’m just sorry it took me this long.