Return to Titletown
Saturday 19th February 2011
Keenly awaiting my arrival from Milwaukee, with every minute that passed by were Kathy, Tyler and Kate, our dear friends from 2007 with whom we wished we could visit more often. I say keenly because, despite the fact that I’m sure they were super keen to see me, it was 20 past 3 and the ‘Return to Titletown’ parade started at 4. In other words, we barely had a minute to waste! So, apart from the obligatory welcome hug and smiles all round it was out of my car and into theirs for the short trip to Lambeau Field. The transition was so quick that I had to wait until we got to the field itself before I could head to the bathroom and layer up more than I already had!
Being at Lambeau Field again was something else. Heck, being in Green Bay again was something else. I had no idea when I’d ever return to this part of the world and to be honest, I had no idea under what circumstances it’d be when I did. As I’m sure I have mentioned earlier, 2008 and 2009 were terrible years for our little family and when you’re dealing with the sorts of issues that we were dealing with you just don’t know what’s around the corner. I’m happy to say that the circumstances on this return were great ones. Not because we’d won the Super Bowl but because our little family of four, despite our struggles, had come out the other end happier than I think we have ever been. As Kathy, Tyler, Kate and I drove through the back streets of Ashwaubenon toward the stadium, I had Kelly, Ben, Luc and the lessons I had learned over these last few years in my heart whole way.
Catching up with Kathy and the kids was great but with the temperature the way it was, walking ourselves safely to the stadium was more important than anything. (If it wasn’t 0F it was close enough. I certainly recall the wind chill being well below 0F, or -18C!)
The memories that came flooding back once I enetered the stadium were amazing. All I could think was “I’m at Lambeau Field”, “We’re Super Bowl champions”, “I’ve been at this very spot before”, “I can’t believe I’m here”. Again, to put a little reference to those feelings of mine, it was only 2 weeks ago that I was laying in bed with a cup of tea watching the NFC Championship game. At that point I had no intentions of being anywhere other than work this Tuesday. Happy that we were Super Bowl champions of course, but at work all the same. Life had changed though and I was stoked that I’d managed to ride the wave to Green Bay. It was surreal to say the least.
The parade itself was wonderful. Though I wanted to be where the party was, my impromptu trip to Lambeau really was a matter of being where the local Packer fans were. They were at Lambeau, the Lombardi trophy was at Lambeau and the coach and players were at Lambeau. I’ll be forever proud to tell my children, their children, and anybody else who cares to listen that I was at Lambeau too. Tradition is a wonderful part of this organisation and every Packer fan has a story or two that relates to it. I wanted to be here for this so that I could add today to my story aswell. As Mike McCarthy came out of the tunnel bearing the trophy in one hand and waving to us with his other I felt a sense of triumph. Sure, I didn’t do anything but I felt like I had. At the very least, whether I had ‘done’ something or not wasn’t important. I was a part of it and that’s all that counted.
The crowd, the stadium and the snow in Green Bay was just as I expected it to be. Loud, cold and everywhere, in that order. And the standing ovation given to DD was special too. I’m so glad, with the life he had to live prior to being the mega-star wide receiver we know him as, that he was fortunate enough to have a day like today. Nay, a week like this week. If it brought a tear to my eye I can only imagine the Kleenex he and his family must have gone through.
And with that, plus a great and very personable speech by Captain Courageous Aaron Rodgers the party concluded. The celebration wasn’t over but the parade had to finish on time. Any later and who knows how many of us would’ve frozen to death? Literally!
Upon arrival at Tom and Kathy’s I showered, less for the need of being clean and more to restore a reasonable core body temperature. Plus, my legs were glowing red and itchy as buggery. It was just the cure I needed to help regulate myself. Then it was time for a much needed hot chocolate, my first home cooked meal in a week, and a snooze on one very comfortable, very inviting reclining lounge/armchair. Not that I wanted to doze off, but my body was telling me I needed it. And after the week it had been… I gotta say I can’t blame it!
Sun 20th Feb 11
Wayno, finally got around to catching up on the blog - reading it, i felt nearly as exhausted and ice cold as if i was there with you! I’m glad to know you made it back to GB for the parade - i couldn’t recall if you had said you’d planned to go and had actually made it. YOUR memories brought back a lot of MY memories of GB - many of the best of which included our times with all of you. GB will always remain in my heart. So glad you got to spend time there and to see the Rollings again. I bet that home-cooked meal tasted especially sweet!
Sun 20th Feb 11
Look Tez, we’re a world away but commenting only 9 minutes apart! Yup, by this time I was pretty exhausted. And cold! Too bad you weren’t there. And too bad you won’t be there at the end of the year. We’ll come to you though… Looking forward to it.
Mon 21st Feb 11
"I’m at Lambeau Field, we’re super bowl champions and I can’t believe I’m here”
Plans are already underway for me to be saying these exact same words come this October.
Tue 22nd Feb 11
Great info Wayne. Glad you got such a great opportunity.