In what may be my most controversial post yet (not a lot of competition for that title, I realize), I have a few words to say about two subjects: BF who is no longer my BFF and mayo.
Today I was walking around the square when I was essentially accosted from some number 4-sporting uber-nerds who had just exited an Illinois-plated minivan decorated in high-school-state-competition-bound-green-and-gold paint with sayings like, “Save Brett.” As if, I said to self. Though, I admit Brett may need some saving from himself and Greta Van Susteren’s grip, I suspect this is not the saving the FIBs intended. Annoyed and suspicious about the idea of Illinois “fans” coming to the Square to rally folks around Favre, I told myself just to walk by and not get involved. After all, it was really just a few weeks ago that I was ready to welcome him back with open arms and prepared to say, “Aaron who?” But today’s a different day and Favre’s said some things since then that I can’t really see him being able to undo. I was actually ok — at first — with the brazen idea that he tell “his side of the story.” I became more skeptical when I learned that it was Deanna who had emailed Van Susteren seeking such an opportunity. Deanna has GVS’s email address? This can’t be good. Oprah? Hell yeah! Katie Couric? Sure. Meredith Viera? Ok. Tyra Banks? Fine. But GVS? One of only two current archenemies of mine?!?!? Egads. This is not going to be good. If skeptical, I still was open. But as soon as terms like “bluffing” and “pressure” came out, I was out. And day two and three of the interviews, and the days that have followed, have only confirmed my feelings. So, when the suburban Chicagoan asked, “Are you Packer fans?” I enthusiastically answered, “Yes! And that’s why I’m not signing your petition.”
Let me be clear. I LOVE(d) Brett Favre. When I was in high school, I remember my dad calling him stonehead and said he had a head full of rocks (this is a negative thing). But I defended him. He was so cute and so passionate and who doesn’t love a football player who runs around picking up his teammates and slinging them on his back in moments of sheer joy, as oppposed to the players who do some sort of odd choreographed dance work? He was impossible not to watch and impossible not to delight in. I watched the Superbowl in January 1997 in a discotheque in Florence in the middle of the night and took some really rude harrassment from the few Pats fans in the room. My exuberance could not be contained. I remember my friend Heather Keyes (a Minnesotan and really not much of a football fan either way) sending me stateside pics of the Wisco capitol proudly waving the Packer flag. This was about the Packers, but Favre really WAS so much a part of anyone’s love of the team then. And that was true until about last week or the week before.
We have been Packer fans before Favre and will be so long after Favre. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the state as we watched him announce his retirement decision. Recognizing how hard a choice that was for him to make, we tried so very hard to respect him for it. We tried to understand it and to emotionally move on to what it will mean to start a Packer game without him. This has not been an easy process, but one I think we have really tried to make with grace and acceptance.
So now, here’s Brett, months and months later complaining that he has not been accepted back by the team, the town and the management that has done nothing but adore him for years and years. He made a decision. He told us he was serious. He promised it was real. Ted and Mike went into the draft with the understanding that that decision was final. Aaron has been preparing because he, like all of us, was told that that decision was final. Aaron has patiently and respectfully waited his turn for years now, knowing that it was unknown when his starting days would begin. He has been impressive in the few games he has played, but even more impressive for his enthusiasm on the sidelines for a team and a town that has yet to really embrace him. But now it seemed they had. But today there are Illinois-ites on the sidewalk of Madison trying to shove him away.
And maybe that’s part of my problem with all of this, too. For all of our — and the country’s — love and admiration of him, Brett has always seemed to remain half-Mississippi, half-Wisconsin. Though he’s undoubtedly handsome, he hasn’t had the off-field career that, say, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady have had. We witnessed his attempt at acting in a comedy and while it was hilarious, not really for the right reasons. He’s got the sort of everyman charm of Manning, but he can’t act so he can’t do those type of commercials. And while he’s very good-looking, no one is going to buy cologne from seeing Brett in an ad for it. It’s easy to believe Brady primps, but Favre? Anyway, so I think so much of what we’ve loved about him has been his, for lack of a better word, humbleness. Not that he doesn’t have ego, but he doesn’t run around and shove it in our face. Until now. It just seems so un-Wisconsin-y and un-Mississippi-y. I’m now left wondering who Brett Favre really was all those years. Maybe we just wanted him to be humble so we decided he was and looked the other way when he wasn’t.
Most of us don’t have the luxury that Favre has — to make a decision that we come to regret so we go on national tv and whine about it and have a couple of folks start a petition on our befhalf. And while I appreciate everyone’s passions run high on these matters, I really hope that I would never act as he has acted in recent days. Even if I had the luxury to do so.
I think Favre could have avoided this whole debacle by asking to come back, taking a seat as a back-up and coming in and saving the day when Rodgers breaks a nail in his first start.
As for mayo, I just don’t like it. And when it came me on my Cafe Soleil take-out sandwich today (despite ordering it without the condiment and watching the counter person write it down just as such, “no mayo”), I admit I teared up. It just always feels personal. As if the chefs know how much I hate it, and just don’t care. Or worse, put it on there just so I won’t eat the sandwich. As if to say, “Yeah, we saw you ordering and you don’t deserve/need lunch.” Is that as self-centered a feeling as Favre’s disbelief in how he’s causing all sorts of trouble in Packerland?