Saturday, October 2, 2010

Packer Pilgrimage Day 2

Driving to Lambeau Field up Lombardi Ave.

Today was total immersion in Packer culture.  We arrived at Lambeau Field at about 9:30 AM.  Our day began with a visit to the Packer Pro Shop where we stocked up on the few remaining player jerseys my kids don’t already own.  I ended up getting a jersey myself – a Rodgers jersey, which is the first I’ve owned since the Favre jersey that’s been moth-balled in the bottom of my dresser drawer for 2+ years.

Future Packer at Pro Shop
Kickin' It in the Luxury Sky Box
Walking Up the Players' Tunnel

Next stop was the Lambeau Field stadium tour.  That began with a history of the Packers in the Atrium, near the statues of Lambeau and Lombardi.  We then ascended to the 6th level to get a tour of the luxury sky boxes.  We sat in the tiered, indoor seats while our guide recited various impressive statistics.  Among them:
  • Lambeau Field, originally named “New City Stadium”, was the first stadium built exclusively for NFL football.
  • Built in 1957, the stadium cost a whopping $960,000 to construct.
  • The Packers paid $250 (that’s 250 dollars, not $250 thousand) to join the NFL in 1921.
  • There are 83,831 people on the waiting list for Packers season tickets  -- last year 126 people came off the list (more than the 60-80 who  come off most years).
  • Last year’s new season ticket holders had been on the waiting list since the early 1970’s.
Lambeau Leap
From the top deck, we descended down to field level.  They led us past the locker room (though we didn’t get to go in) and then through the players’ tunnel and onto the field itself.  Simulated crowd noise as we entered the field amplified the experience.  They didn’t let us simulate a Lambeau Leap, but we could at least reach up the wall.  We also discovered that the Kentucky blue grass field is woven with a simulated turf and actually warmed with radiant heat.  They considered changing the nickname from the “Frozen Tundra” to the “Radiant Heated Tundra” but ultimately decided it didn’t have the same ring.

The Four of Us on the Frozen Tundra
Upon completing the stadium tour, we made our way to the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame.  Various gear, photos and other artifacts under glass weren’t quite as interesting for the boys.  But the highlights included a set of statues simulating the Ice Bowl, a replica of Vince Lombardi’s office, a video montage on the history of the Lambeau Leap (including a horrifying Robert Brooks rap on the subject), and, of course, the trophy case featuring our three Super Bowl trophies.

First Cheese Curd
We continued the Packer experience with lunch at Curly’s Pub on the second floor of the Atrium.  The boys had their first cheese curds – my oldest balked, but the little one loved them.  We had a great view of the Don Hutson Center, Tundra Tailgate Zone, and player parking lot from our table.  We wrapped up the day with a final quick visit to the Pro Shop to get a few more items.  It was an absolute avalanche of Packer glory, past and present, and a must-do for any Packer fan.  Tomorrow is the main event.

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