Last weekend, a good friend of mine and I had the opportunity to take the trek to Lambeau Field to watch the Packers line up against the despised Cowboys. As it worked out, we took a small herd of 16 year-olds, which included my son, his girlfriend, my friend’s son and a few classmates. Most of them had never been to a game before, and were excited to the point of having their voices squeak with anticipation.
We started the day with the two-hour drive up to Green Bay and finding an appropriate place to tailgate, just to the north of the field. For those who have never been to Lambeau, there is something unique about parking in one of the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the field, as opposed to the more typical parking lot centered activities. As we grilled and prepared lunch, as this was a 3:15 PM start time, the kids threw the football, rolled around, wrestled, and performed endless other teenage courtship rituals. With the amount of chaos surrounding us, they forgot parents were nearby, thus providing us the unique opportunity to observe them in their natural habitat. I must admit, I felt a bit like Jane Goodall must have felt.
Once the food was done, we watched in amazement as each of them downed a minimum of two sandwiches (burgers and brats), and a couple of them knocking out three. Of course, this was complemented by an array of chips, dips, cheese & crackers, veggies, cookies, and brownies. I know, we have all seen the devastation that a swarm of teenage locusts will inflict, but it never loses its unique charm. We packed up and heading into the game. Although anxious, because the Packers had not been performing early in the season, we are true fans and walked in, heads high, talking about a victory.
We toured the kids around the recently renovated atrium, they got their pictures taken with the ‘Living the Miller High Life’ guy, stopped in the Packer Pro Shop, and then headed to our seats to watch the final pre-game festivities. After the National Anthem, and the military flyover (which is always impressive), we settled back for the game, each of them grinning from ear to ear. It was a beautiful sunny fall day, about 50 degrees, and very little wind. For November in Green Bay, that is as good as it gets … simply perfect.
Fortunately for us, the Packers came to play and even though it was a defensive battle for most of the game, they took the lead and kept the lead. As we neared the end of the first quarter, the kids became thirsty and hungry. Yes, as unbelievable as that sounds, only a couple of hours after the pre-game carnage, we started peeling off twenty dollar bills like sailors at a strip club in a vain attempt to quench their thirst and hunger. In the third quarter, when the Packers scored their first touchdown, right in front of us, the kids screamed, jumped, and high-fived all around, fingers completely yellowed by Velveeta cheese from their cheesy fries. After the game, victory complete, we danced our way back to the car for the three-hour, traffic inhibited, drive home. Delivered safely, most likely hungry again, back into the loving care of each of their respective parents, they were very grateful, happy, and vocal. A great group of young men and women. They thanked us profusely.
But to each of you, I want to say ‘thank you‘ for a completely wonderful day. For when you really stop for a moment, get off the treadmill of your busy days, and manage to really carve out a day and share it and invest it, both giving and receiving so much, it is magical time. I hope it is a day to remember for a long time. And, I want each of you to know that it gives me great joy to have shared that day with you, and each of you have given me some precious nourishment for my soul.