Hallowed Ground

This was one of the few seasons where we didn't make it to a game at Lambeau Field, and part of me was sour about that, but no longer. Mooney and I knew right after the Packers won Super Bowl XLV that we'd be visiting Green Bay's Hallowed Ground for the Return to Titletown event on Tuesday.

Even though I came down with a stomach flu (or maybe I was just in hot wing shock from Sunday), we hit the road and arrived at the stadium a few hours before the event, and then met up with some friends for celebratory cocktails at a nearby establishment. It felt like a game-day, but it also felt like some-thing more. We made our way to Lambeau, through the parking lot, and all around us 'Go Pack Go' chants boomed through the crisp winter air. Despite the sub-zero wind chills, we all knew the stadium would be filled with fans and the warmth of our 13th NFL Championship.

The Lombardi Trophy is a great little furnace.

We had all heard the standard, humble replies about team-work and discipline by this point, but that's beside the point. It was thrilling to share the experience with the team and its fans, to watch Donald Driver's contagious smile on the jumbo-tron, seeing Jason Spitz do a shirt-less belly-slide onto the snow-covered field, seeing the new McCarthy Way road-sign, and listening to Ronnie Rodgers proclaim a goal completed and predicting more success: "Nobody can stop us!"

The crowd did the wave. We shook the bleachers with repeated 'Go Pack Gos' that echoed across the field. We screamed as if we'd never seen the high-lights on the big screen, and we smiled, looking up at the Champions Flag that flew high above, snapping in frigid gusts.

And then the team took its victory lap with Coach Lombardi's Trophy held high and everyone in that stadium burned the memory into their brains. The people of the people's team in the people's stadium. And we all knew there were so many more celebrating with us. Super Bowl XLV was a microcosm of the season and I plan on re-watching the tape every day until the next season begins.

I put my arm around Mooney and held her tight. We are lucky, I thought. It's been a great season. And in some dimension I'm still sitting in Lambeau, soaking it in. I may very well set a record for continuous celebration. I am incapable - and may very well be for the weeks or months ahead - to focus on any-thing else seriously. I thank the Packers organization, the players and coaches, and the fans for sharing this adventure with me.

Until next time, then,