In all my [many, many] years, I don’t think I’ve ever seen more excitement about an out of market football game. Sunday night’s Green Bay Packers-Detroit Lions battle in Detroit looms as THE game of the year.
For my non-football following fans, the game is for all the marbles in the NFC North and a chance for seeding and/or a trip to the big dance. The NFL North is black and blue football where the elements have as much a bearing on the game as the skill set of the players … although Detroit and Minnesota have wimped out and opted for domes.
Football fans will always talk football, but traditionally it’s regional. When I lived in Illinois, the Chicago Bears [a successful franchise at the time] were the topic of discussion. In fact as a Illini transplant, all the Bears banter pushed me to the Packers [not successful at the time but with this crazy quarterback, Brett Favre, under center] camp. In New England, if you don’t root for the Patriots you’re even more of an outsider [which means you have to work twice as hard to win them over]. Right now, I’m at the Jersey shore for First Night Ocean County [fireworks over the ocean] and smack in the middle of New York Giants/New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles territory. You’ve heard of the 12th man in Seattle, the rabid Raiders fans, America’s team the Dallas Cowboys, etc. in each region of the country.
I’ll give you a couple of examples. The other day, I dropped my car off for an oil change and inspection. As I went toward the waiting area, the detail person spotted my Packers jacket and stopped work to discuss THE game. He was a Detroit fan and after some playful banter, noted this appears to be a typical Lions season … full of expectations only to have hopes dashed at the end. We shook hands and agreed to enjoy THE game.
In the waiting room, there was another Packer backer. Immediately we started talking about the season. While chatting, another woman walked into the room and joined the conversation. She, too, was a Packer fan. Now, what better way to while away an hour or so than talking football … Packer football more specific. And how weird was it there were three Packer backers in a waiting room in Ithaca? Well, Buffalo is the area’s football rep. Enough said.
When I checked in at the motel, a couple from Maryland were also checking in. Mr. was decked out in all Washington … knit cap, ‘Skins jacket, even Redskins “outdoor” jammies. Mrs. had dangling Washington earrings and a bright, sparkly Redskins sweatshirt. Of course, we engaged in football talk … me lamenting the fact the ‘Skins beat my Packers in Washington and Mr. expressing hope his team gets the help to make the playoffs. But quickly, the conversation switched to THE game. “We have a tough one,” Mr. said [the Redskins play the Giants with playoff ramifications], “but you have the game of the week.”
When I stopped at the diner for dinner last night I was greeted with, “Welcome. Santa in a Packer jacket.” It set the tone for a pleasant meal with engaging conversation about THE game.
At breakfast this morning, chatter was all about the Packers-Lions game.
I can only imagine what the rest of the day will bring. All I know is I expect to be back home by kickoff, comfortably nestled in my easy chair with a cold beer and some munchies [healthy, of course], watching THE game. That, my friends, is a great way to start the new year.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Our natural tendency is to do the sensible thing. The call of God is to live and walk by faith in the promises that have been declared and confirmed in the good news of God’s redeeming love in Jesus Christ.