sports in the spotlight
Posted by Dale Buss on January 21, 2011 05:00 PM
They aren’t even playing the actual game on the “frozen tundra” of Lambeau Field in Green Bay this weekend. But the national media still can’t get enough of the city that is the unique home of the Green Bay Packers, who are playing the Chicago Bears – in Chicago – on Sunday afternoon for the National Football Conference championship and the right to advance to the Super Bowl on February 6 in Texas.
Latest to step up and profile “Titletown” – so-named during the Packers’ successful era in the Sixties – is the Washington Post, with a story this week about Green Bay, its devotion to the Packers, and how denizens are gearing up for the big game that will actually unfold a couple hundred miles to the south in Soldier Field.
Sure, the story starts out with a few patronizing word choices which indicate to the sophisticated East Coast reader that he or she is about to descend into Flyover Country – “folks” and “supper club” and “proprietor,” all in the first two paragraphs.
But generally, Post reporter Barry Svrluga likes what he saw during his visit to the 100,000-population burg, by far the smallest U.S. city to support a major professional sports franchise.
The reality is remarkable in this day and age: a small town that remains the lifeblood of a strong, storied entrant in a multi-billion-dollar entertainment juggernaut dominated by billionaire owners and big-city TV markets.
As a Wisconsin native, lifelong Packers fan, and actual Packers “shareholder” — full disclosure: I donated $200 to the Lambeau overhaul several years ago, but the “stock” is worthless — I’ve got a vested emotional interest in seeing appreciation for the home of Lombardi, Nitschke, Starr, Favre (for most of his career) and the current Packers operation.
But there’s no denying that, whatever happens in the game on Sunday, the Green Bay Packers remain one of the feel-good brands in professional sports.