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By now I am sure you are sick of hearing about my trip to Green Bay, but I have tried to keep everything miles & points related when talking about it. From how much Hyatt is paying the hotel for my sold out award stay, to the awesome checking bonus I got at the Packers game and my little Uber MS run, I haven’t actually talked about the game experience itself.
I travel A LOT and don’t normally share the sights and sounds of places. To be honest I used to write about travel a lot more (and love to do it), however those posts don’t do as well given the audience of the website. With that said, my experience visiting a Green Bay Packers game was most definitely worth sharing and I encourage you to read. Enjoy!
An Amazing Day at Lambeau Field
I headed to Lambeau Field about three hours before kickoff. Getting there early would give me plenty of time to wander around. Green Bay’s Metro bus system runs four free routes on game days and one stopped outside of my hotel. The bus was packed, but it was a lively atmosphere as we made our way to one of the most historic stadiums in the world.
One would think that arriving three hours early would be overkill. I quickly learned that I had indeed arrived late! As I stepped off the bus, I quickly realized that the party was already in full swing. Tailgaters of all kinds were grilling, drinking and talking about America’s greatest sports franchise. It was Americana at its finest. I had thought of going to a “pay one price” tailgate, but I needed to be at Lambeau Field. I needed to see, smell, taste and explore.
My first stop was the official Packers tailgate tent. During games it is setup in the parking lot just South of the stadium. Drinks are relatively inexpensive and with brats and cheese curds among other things, you know the food is good. A band played modern rock music with the occasional Packers tune thrown in. Fans of both teams were packed in to listen. This was fantastic, but I needed to get outside. I needed to see the real tailgaters.
Just outside of the tent, I discovered a huge row of sponsored booths. For a minute I slowed down and tried a Wisconsin potato sample, picked up some free Carmex for my chapped lips and found out about the bank bonus I wrote about earlier. Just beyond the sponsored booths I could see the tailgaters. I had to move on. I felt myself drawn in by the atmosphere.
As I made my way towards the tailgaters, a tear came to my sentimental eye. I was finally here and it was as amazing as I had imagined! The incredible smell of brats on the grill combined with the joyful tone of Packers fans was almost overwhelming. I noticed there was a lot more hard liquor than I had imagined there would be. No doubt that contributes to the jovial mood.
I walked through row after row of tailgaters before running into Pack Daddy who nicely posed for photos with others fans. Then there was the “Packers Doctor” and his wife who came by wheeling their cart of “elixirs” dripping out of an IV bag, free for everyone to take. I wasn’t brave enough to try out their “Nipple Inverter”, but one other fan did, on both nipples. He said something about wanting a matching pair.
I had walked around for 90 minutes before the anticipation of going inside took over. I had to leave one amazing place to go into another. Before long I was ascending the staircase into the stadium. A barcode was scanned and I was permitted entry. Only a brief diversion to sign up for my checking account would keep me from getting to my seat. Once I reached it, the music of angels seemingly started to play.
I had been in Lambeau Field before, but only for an offseason tour. The atmosphere is completely different during a game. I was surrounded by Packers fans. I was there to watch MY team. I was looking at the infamous tundra of Lambeau Field. This is what life is about. It had long been a dream to be here and I was. No one could take this away!
Every hour I spent a Lambeau Filed felt like 10 minutes. Not long after taking my seat, I saw the Green Bay Packers take the field in their throwback uniforms. The National Anthem was sung, a couple of jets flew over the stadium and the ball was kicked off. My eye teared up once again. I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did, watching a Packers game in Lambeau Field would have been on it.
The Packers started strong and it didn’t take long for them to have a decent lead. A blowout was predicted by many, but deep down inside I wanted a close game. The Packers NEEDED to win of course, but why not keep my heart beating towards the end? I was a little saddened at the thought of not being kept on the edge of my seat.
Then something happened that created mixed emotions. The Chargers defense suddenly asserted dominance and their offense moved the ball. The Chargers Quarterback threw the ball more than any Charger in team history and the Packers started to struggle. My prayers for a close game were seemingly being answered, but is that what I really wanted? What if they lose?
It is now the 4th quarter, the sun has gone down, the chill has set in and the Packers are up 24 to 20. They have the ball at the 10 yard line and it seems like they will score a touchdown to seal the game. I feel relieved. This was enough excitement for one day. Then they do the unthinkable and only get a field goal. The Packers are only up by 7. The Chargers will get the ball and have a chance.
The Chargers quickly take the ball and move it down the field. In the blink of an eye they are down inside the Packers’ 5 yard line. On 1st down they run and are stopped. 2nd down is an incomplete pass. I can hardly breathe. I pull out my phone to film the last two plays. I will watch them with my eyes, but want something to remember later.
Lambeau Field has been loud the whole game, but nothing like now. Everyone is cheering and screaming in a streak of nervousness. We need this stop. I hit record on my phone. It is a run and the Packers stop it for a loss! One more play to go! It is 4th down.
The crowd is even louder now. I am holding my breath as I once again hit record on the phone and focus my eyes on the field. Then the ball is snapped. Phillip Rivers drops back. It is a pass. He has shredded our defense all day. Can they stop him? Then he looks to the right and throws the ball into the flat. It is broken up! Wait?!? The Packers win?!? Yes! The Packers WIN! Simply amazing!
After the game I take more than my fair share of photos. I couldn’t have dreamed for a better game or a better atmosphere. It is rare in life when a place lives up to the hype. Lambeau Field has done it! Now I have to take a packed bus back to the Hyatt. The atmosphere is still jovial as Packers fans dominate the crowd. The game has exhausted me and I curl into bed as soon as I get to the hotel. The perfect ending to a perfect day.
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