Herald and Journal
Herald & Journal, September 28, 1998

A visit to hallowed grounds


I've been to the mountain . . . I've seen the promised land . . . Lambeau Field and the Packer Hall of Fame.

This past summer, our daughter and her family visited from Minnesota. Even though they are Vikings fans, we thought it might be interesting to visit the hall of fame for the Green Bay Packers. So we all loaded up, including our son and his family, and headed for Green Bay. Son Tom and family are Packer fans, especially our two grandsons, Ryan and Preston. They've been after me to change my allegiance and color preference from the Vikings to the Packers and from purple to green and gold.

As we approached Lambeau field, I could see that everything was painted green and gold. Many of the people were wearing green and gold, including our grandsons.

The reception room in the hall of fame was crowded with customers eagerly plunking down the admission and getting their hands stamped with the letter "G," of course.

My grandson, Preston, walked up to me and solemnly said, "Grandpa, you know you're on holy ground."

I didn't know what to do ­ cross myself or find a life-size picture of St. Vincent (Lombardi) and bow.

I was very impressed with the Packer Hall of Fame. Everything you'd ever want to know about the Packers and their glorious history is there. There's homage to the big stars ­ Paul Horning, Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke, and of course, Vince Lombardi. I found the early history of the team interesting; back when they passed the hat instead of charging admission. I saw a poster for a game played in 1932 with 10 cents as the admission. They charge considerably more today.

The team was ending a practice session while we were there.

Betty and I had our picture taken with quarterback Bret Favre ­ that is a life-size cutout of Bret. There were several cutouts of players and coach Mike Holmgren at the hall of fame. Many had their picture taken with them.

I will have to admit that the Packer organization has really put it all together. The marketing of Packer merchandise is outstanding. The souvenir shop at the hall of fame and at the Reggie White shop down the street are full of anything you could think of, all with the letter "G" and in green and gold. I think my grandsons own a good share of it. I asked them for an inventory of the Packer merchandise they have.

Would you believe seven sweat shirts between them, one Reggie White jersey, one necktie, three title towels, two pillows, several school folders, two posters, two picture footballs (Favre and White), lots of Packer cards, football clothes hamper, wristwatch, one golf shirt (like the one Holmgren wears) four t-shirts, slippers, two coffee mugs, many window clings on their mirrors, school bag, one cap, two pennants, clock, key chain, curtains, lamp, and, get this, on the kitchen counter is a Packer crock pot.

After visiting the hall of fame, Preston asked me if I was ready to become a Packer fan. I didn't really answer him. But, since we've been Wisconsin residents for over a year, maybe I could be.

The big test will be Monday, Oct. 5, night when the two teams meet. Let's see if I can say it . . . Go P-P-P-P-P-P. It won't come out. "Go P-P-P-P-Packers." But, when they're not playing each other, I must revert to "Go V-V-V-V-Vikings." Maybe I can remain neutral Monday night.

By the way, our daughter Cindy, her husband Russ, and our granddaughter, Maren, were not convinced. They're still Vikings fans.

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