Thursday, September 30, 2010

Preparing for Our Packer Pilgrimage

We leave tomorrow for a trip that has been in the works for almost a year: I'm taking the boys to their first Packer game at Lambeau Field.  This is our annual "boys' trip" with me, my two sons, and my dad.  Past years have included cross country train trips, visits to national parks, and an RV adventure accompanied by the Lindsey Buckingham theme song Holiday Road (from the movie Vacation, for you non Chevy Chase fans).  What better boys' trip than a Packer pilgrimage to the not-yet-Frozen Tundra???

To say my kids are psyched about this trip would be a gross understatement.  Though the game is still 3 days away, my oldest already has his wardrobe for the day picked out -- including a long-sleeve Packers t-shirt (though he's considering layering that with one of his Packers game jerseys), his Packers jacket, a Packers knit hat, and, of course, his Packers football.  This is all perfectly displayed on his bed, which features a Packers bedspread and a picture of Donald Driver celebrating a touchdown on his headboard (upper left).

The brainwashing, so far, has been a resounding success.  But this weekend we'll be kicking it up to the next level with a visit to the Packer Pro Shop, Packers Hall of Fame, Lambeau Field tour and lunch at Curley's Pub on Saturday, followed by the Tundra Tailgate Zone and, oh yeah, the actual game itself on Sunday.  It's going to be epic.  My kids will be able to recite the starting line-ups of the Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II Packers teams by Monday morning.

The selection of the game vs. the Lions was deliberate.  The criteria included: home game, against a team we're likely to beat, before it's so damn cold my kids will get hypothermia.  There are few teams the Packers have dominated as thoroughly as the Detroit Lions.  Lifetime, the Packers hold a decided 90-64-7 edge, but recent history has been even more lopsided, with Green Bay riding a nine-game winning streak.  And at home, the Packers have been an even bigger lock -- winning the last 19 games against the Lions on Wisconsin soil.  Several Lions players weren't born yet the last time their franchise won a game in our state.

Of course, the downside risk of playing a team we're supposed to beat is the horrifying prospect that we'll pull a game like we did against Tampa Bay last year.  After last week's atrocious penalty palooza, the Packers demonstrated they can hand a game over to just about anyone in the NFL.  So, in an effort to reverse jinx this thing, I am erasing all memory of the aforementioned streak of dominance and predicting the Lions will pull off an upset.  If they do, I'll at least be able to console my heart-broken kids with more Packer paraphernalia at the Pro Shop.

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