Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Reflections from my first NFL game and how I’m the Green Bay Packers lucky charm

Matt Shalbrack/Winonan

For as long as I can remember, I have been a diehard sports fan.

I grew up wanting to be a professional sports player based on which ever game I watched.

Whenever I watched the NBA, I wanted to play like Michael Jordan or Reggie Miller.

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Whenever I watched the NFL, I wanted to be just like Emmitt Smith or John Elway.

For MLB, it was the same way. I found myself idolizing players like Craig Biggio and Derek Jeter (who I still idolize today).
Sports, in my opinion, are a great form of entertainment.

I’ve been to MLB games, NBA games, NCAA games and NHL games, but one sport I have never seen live in a professional setting is the NFL.

This weekend, that changed. I witnessed my first NFL game in person at “The Frozen Tundra,” Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers played the Jacksonville Jaguars, with the Packers winning by a score of 24-15.

I’d say that my first experience at a NFL game was a great one, but there were some very interesting things that I noticed and some things surprised me as well.

The first thing that I noticed was how many people cram into the stadium. There were over 70,000 people in attendance, but the thing that surprised me the most was how little space there is between people. You really do sit elbow-to-elbow with the persons next to you.

The reason this shocking to me is because of how many MLB games I have been to where you get your own, individual seat.
Another interesting observation I had was how many “characters” there are at these games.

I saw a man dressed up like a young Michael Jackson. He had six-inch, green and gold stiletto heels, shoulder pads with spikes coming out of them, and green and gold face paint. He looked more like a WWE wrestler than a fan at a football game.

Another fan, “Saint Vince,” has been dressing as a mixture between the pope and a priest for the past 14 years. Of course, he’s decked out in green and gold. Seeing him walking throughout tailgating parties, stopping and posing for pictures along the way intrigued me.

Finally, the biggest thing that I found interesting was how big the players actually are.

Watching the game live on television from the standard, overhead view, the players seem big. In person though, they look massive. I couldn’t believe how big the Packers’ offensive line was compared to the way I was used to seeing them on television.

I had some ideas of the way the stadium would look based on hearsay and television broadcasts, but the thing that surprised me the most was the fighter jet flyover before the start of the game.

Since I was expecting it, I wasn’t startled, but it was definitely one of the highlights of the game for me.

The sight of these jets flying overhead, mixed with the roars of the crowd are things that I definitely won’t forget.

It’s little things I noticed during my first time at Lambeau Field that make me love the camaraderie that sports has to offer.

Anytime that you see fans shirtless with painted chests, wearing cheeseheads in 30-degree weather with the windchill, you know you’re with a pack of diehard fans.

My allegiance in the NFL doesn’t rest with the Green Bay Packers, it actually rests with the Denver Broncos.

It took so much self control to not wear my Super Bowl XXXII sweatshirt, which is the year the Broncos beat the Packers 31-24.

Since I was there when the Packers beat the Jaguars, I now feel like I am their lucky charm.

Contact Matt at [email protected]

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