Monday, April 03, 2006


I was raised a Green Bay Packer fan in a Green Bay Packer family. My mother, who was born and raised in Cheese Town, always tells the story of sitting next to Vince Lombardi in church on Sunday mornings (in the off season, of course). "He would wink at me and other kids. He was just another guy in the neighborhood." If she was lucky, the dreamy Bart Starr would accompany Mr. Lombardi.

My grandmother, who has never ventured beyond America's Dairyland, believes the Green Bay Packers step onto the field with a God-given Right to Victory. To her, the Packers' record is, in fact, a direct manifestation of the ongoing battle between Good and Evil. When the Packers won the Super Bowl in 1998, the Devil suffered a serious blow to the kidneys. To highlight my grandmother's love for the Pack, I should tell you that she owns a framed piece of stock in the Packers - that's right, an actual piece of the original stock you got with season tickets- and asked that she be buried with it. And if you are really curious, she has 10 kids and 49 grandkids she could easily will it to.

My father, when he took the Grand Dive, accepted the Packers as his team - his only team. Any previous affiliation with another squad became part of a hushed, sordid past. To this day, we do not watch the Kansas City Chiefs unless they are playing the Packers.

As a young man, I was perpetually indoctrinated by words such as, "The Packers are the only real team in the league, you cannot like anyone else." If the Packers happened to be on television "back east," then you bet I was watching them. At present, I own the following Packer items:
  1. Authentic Cheese Head
  2. Don Bebe Jersey
  3. Vince Lombardi Bobblehead
  4. 2 Brett Favre Jerseys (1 purchased at Lambeau)
  5. 3 Title Towels
  6. 2 Dresser Drawers Full of Assorted Packer Memorabilia
  7. 4 Packer Christmas Ornaments
  8. Packer Blanket and Matching Pillow
  9. Packer Hat, Gloves and Sunglasses
And so, as a devout Packer fan, I am undoubtedly a Believer in the man who was not birthed from a woman, but cast from granite drawn from the Earth's core: Brett Favre. Call me crazy, but if Favre and Jesus got into a shouting match, I would put my money on the man in green.

On Friday evening, CBS Sportsline reported that "the Green Bay Packers had pushed back a retirement decision deadline for Brett Favre to an undisclosed date." I have thought long and hard about Favre's retirement, and quite frankly, I just don't know. I would love to see Favre suit up until his jersey doesn't fit over his wheelchair. I would love to see Favre tack on another ring. In the simplest sense, I would love to see him play forever. There is something special about watching an athlete who exposes his truest self on the field; the part of an athlete that normally only comes out in the closing seconds of a championship game. If you watched the Chicago Bulls or Baltimore Orioles in the '90s, then you are lucky enough to know what I am talking about.

At this point, the question is not can Favre play, it's should he play. Favre has put on a helluva good show, and I know he can do it for years to come. Players, coaches, and fans alike still recognize his continued embodiment as the power of the individual against seemingly insurmountable odds. And this, an enormous part of me regrets to say, is the exact reason that he should retire. Continuing to play would be taking the easy way out - Favre would be giving in.

He has shown that the honorable professional athlete still exists, and his legacy would be complete if he gives another young gun-slinger a fighting chance.


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