I knew the Packers would be hard pressed to win a playoff game without my sister Kathy and me in the stands. We’ve been to every home playoff game since 1994 and I have to say Section 117 looked pretty lonely yesterday without us.
Also, my son Charlie pointed out that Aaron Rodgers is undefeated in NFC Championship games that he, my sister Jenny and daughter Katherine all attended. So, maybe if they could have made their way from New York, California and Chicago, scored tickets via that confounding Ticketmaster gremlin, and sat in the stands, the game might have ended differently.
It just wasn’t to be.
Still, in a strange year that left my family texting each other from various corner of the country, instead of tailgating in the shadow of Lambeau Field, the Packers have been a welcome respite.
I enjoyed this season immensely and, following some stressful days this year, I looked forward to the three plus hours of normalcy those weekend football games gave me. (Although I still can’t believe I never once stepped my toe in Lambeau Field.)
But, here’s the thing about sports and life for those of us lucky enough to be able to say this, there’s always next year.
So, I’m going to wash my lucky Packer turtleneck with the frayed wrists and dingy collar, and put it away until next year because that’s what I have done every year since I first bought it (in 1996, if you must know). And, I’m going to actively avoid reading any of the comments from social media pundits who never coached or played a day in their life, because they weren’t on that field either. And, I’m going to try not to think about the handful of plays that might have turned yesterday’s game around, except to acknowledge that, if a handful of plays could turn a game around right up until the very last minute, then it must have been a very competitive football game.
I’m even going to thank the Packers for the knot that stayed in my stomach throughout the entire game, because I believe I may have stressed off a pound or two and that’s a welcome development.
I’m also going to acknowledge that 43-year old Tom Brady is a phenomenon and I’m going to wish he and his team well in the Super Bowl.
And, I’m going to thank 37-year old Aaron Rodgers for an amazing season and I’m going to look forward to seeing him suit up in the green and gold next season.
We got to watch two of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game play yesterday and that’s a genuine gift for any sports fan.
I’ll see you next year, Section 117.
And thank you to my beloved Packers for 21 weeks of much needed, reliable entertainment.
Go Pack Go!