Sunday, January 20, 2008

This Is All I'm Saying

Twenty-three years as a sports fan and I have never gone through a week like this. Each and every day my confidence shrank, for reasons I wasn't quite sure. The Packers had the better team, we had everything going for us, and we were at Lambeau. We had a bunch of breaks, couldn't capitalize when we had opportunities, and ultimately the Packers beat themselves. It was a tough game to watch, a heartbreaking finish, and one I don't think I'll ever get over.

Does that sound a little too extreme? It does, but that's what happens when you invest so much time into a certain something. For me, I have spent hours, days, weeks, on the Packers. Talking about them, watching them, looking forward to them. And to have it all come crashing down on a Brett Favre interception and a 47 yard field goal from a choke artist like Lawrence Tynes (the Giants new L.T.), it couldn't have happened any worse.

At the beginning of the year, who would have even thought we would be in this position? I would have gladly taken a loss in the NFC Championship if you offered it to be five months ago. But as the season continued, Favre regained his old form, the young players emerged as stars, and we became a team that hit on all cylinders. We earned a first round bye, we had the Championship in Lambeau, and the Super Bowl was in our sights. But after a game where we couldn't muster more than a few good plays, an empty feeling has now made it's way across Wisconsin and the rest of Packer Nation, wherever they may be.

The same can be said for the Giants however. They weren't expected to be here, and now they are in the Super Bowl, in what has become an appealing re-match with the New England Patriots. They are the NFC Champs and I will tip my hat off to them for their incredible turnaround, and an incredible season.

I wrote a few days ago just what the Pack means to me. That they are more than just a team, that they are a way of life. And if you're just a casual sports fan, or have no interest in sports at all, you may think I am over-reacting. But when you decide to like a certain team, and end up falling in love with them, heartbreak is inevitable after a loss like this. And it's what I, and the rest of the Packers fans I know, are experiencing tonight.

In the end, it's just a game. The sun will rise tomorrow, and I'll have plenty to look forward too. But this was the toughest loss I've endured as a fan in any sport, bar none. 4th and 26? That sucks, but isn't close. Super Bowl XXXII? Gutwrenching, but it wasn't like this. Lawrence Tynes in OT. It's something I don't know if I'll ever be able to talk about again.

When I head into work tomorrow, I will be doing so in an office with a majority of people that pledge their allegance to either the Vikings or the Bears. I know they will want to say something to me, but many of them will keep their mouth shut and let the elephant in the room sit on my desk. And there might be one person who thinks it will be funny to say something, someone that doesn't understand just how serious I am taking this loss, and I'll have to let it slide. It will be tough, but after a game like this, as a fan, it's best to move on.

If anything, this loss shows you that in the NFL, and life itself, you can never take anything for granted. It shows you just how hard it can be to accomplish your goals. But when you do fail, you have to learn from it, and draw from your experiences. So that's what I'll do. I'm going to remember that this is only a game, and I am only a fan. I'm going to remember that there is more to life than the Green Bay Packers. I'm going to remember that there is always next year.

And that's all I'm saying about the 2007 Green Bay Packers.


Unknown said...

In 5 years, it will be like that one true love you had in High School. You see her at the bar during Thanksgiving break....30lbs heavier and not as nice as she once was. But still, no one will ever make you feel like she did for those 5 months in HS.


My word varification: skahdcah

Am I the only one who posts drunk emotional shit on your blog?

Anonymous said...

Hats off to you Bart Winkler...I wish all Packer fans were like you. If they were like you, I would have cheered for the Pack to go all the way and get Favre another ring.

Never again will I under estimate the Packers. I never would have guessed they would make it to the NFC championship, but there they were.

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