Green Bay Packers

The Lambeau Field Experience Is Perfect Besides the Fans

Photo Credit: Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

The Green Bay Packers’ home opener against the Chicago Bears went perfectly.

The running game got going. The defense finally applied pressure and basically made Justin Fields and the Bears stop passing. When your opponent does a flea-flicker on the first drive to desperately try to get the offense moving, you know they weren’t fully prepared for the game. Green Bay very much needed a win against a division rival. This team has a lot to work on, although a victory makes a good start.

I had the pleasure of going to the game this past weekend. My grandma has had tickets for decades, and after a wedding in Illinois with that same family the night before, no one else wanted to make the drive. It had been a while since I attended the first home game of the season. I went to Family Night for the first time this year. My kids are now old enough, and we had a great time.

But now comes the regular season. We hung out at Badger State Brewing Company outside with some friends before kickoff and saw a few Sports Twitter friends before walking inside. Who couldn’t be excited about the Packers and Bears on Sunday Night Football at Lambeau?

Before Entering The Game

That’s when it all started being not Lambeau-like. People were chanting “F*ck the Bears” a lot. I don’t mind the chant, and I was trying to recall my own days of being younger and very under the influence. But I also remember looking to see if there were kids around before taking part in or starting a chant like that.

I’m not trying to be a buzzkill, but plenty of parents were annoyed. Obviously, it comes with the territory at sports games. But sports are also supposed to be a thing the whole family can enjoy. That’s why they have Family Night. I just wish people would take a second to think. A drunk also grabbed me and shook me while I stood in line. He was yelling some borderline-stereotype insults at his friends. Again, please don’t grab strangers randomly. I just hope it really was his friends he was yelling at.

Getting Seated

Sitting in my grandma’s seats has kind of always been an issue. We are in one of the end zones and in the middle of the row. That means there is more of a chance to run into problems besides the obvious pain of trying to leave at any point for the bathroom or a refill.

Growing up, my brother and I would always get yelled at to sit down. It didn’t matter if it was for a big play or something else, the older season ticket holders decided when you could stand. That has definitely changed a bit, with even head coach Matt LaFleur saying that the crowd should be standing and cheering on defense and making Lambeau loud. Opposing teams used to fear coming to Lambeau Field because of the overwhelming atmosphere. The Packers couldn’t lose at home. That is sadly not the case anymore.

I even know someone who was hit from behind for not sitting down when the offender wanted. This anger and aggressiveness is not the image I have when I think about the home of the Green and Gold.

Lambeau Upgrades

I have to say some positives about Lambeau. The upgrades are my jam. In our end zone, when you walk out, there’s a stairway up to a new bar if you want to go hang out there. There are self-serve kiosks and indoor areas everywhere. I understand some people don’t like them or don’t want to feel confused, but there are still traditional vendors and concession stands.

But the fact that I can grab two drinks, a sandwich, and popcorn in five minutes is great. Lambeau Field is a historic place, and it’s nice to see that you can still have the same feel with new technology enhancing the experience.

During The Game

So, the people in front of us were bad all game. Two men, who might have been brothers, would not stop jeering. “That’s why you play in the pre-season, Aaron!” “Get a haircut and actually do something!” Rodgers had already gotten a haircut, but that probably sums up what kind of fans they are.

The person next to me did not smile or cheer the whole game. I can’t fault him too much, you never know what someone is going through. He could have had personal issues, but a Packers game sure could take your mind off of things. I hope the dude is alright.

The person behind me couldn’t stop talking about marijuana. He kept complaining that he could smell it and that whoever is smoking it “needs to stop!” It just so happened to be mentioned every single time fireworks were set off.

Almost a Fight

It was nearing the end of the game. The people in front of us never stopped. They complained the whole time about the Packers. Let’s not forget, the Packers won by 17 points.

The Lambeau Field crew did a very cool (and somewhat creepy) thing where they took a 360-degree photo of the crowd. You could find and tag yourself online.

They took three pictures. I was missing from the first one. In the second, I was taking a drink of Topo Chico Ranch Water. (No, I was not paid for this plug.) The third picture of my area is hilarious. It’s me, my wife, and everyone around us looking annoyed. You can see the two guys in front of us with their mouths open, looking angry. They literally caught a moment of their constant yelling and nicely represented just how over these two everyone was.

At one point, they couldn’t stop yelling “Tackle Someone.” Just over and over. I had finally had enough. I very sarcastically said, “Yup, this team has not tackled one person tonight. Not one tackle on this fine evening.” It got some good laughs from the people nearby. The dudes turned around with a smirk, and I smirked back. What I said was just fun sarcasm to ease the tension.

Then their smiles turned to scowls. They stared me down, saying, “Is there a problem here? Have you not been watching this game? Do we need to go somewhere else to do this?” I simply stayed calm and said the team has been tackling tonight. “You must not have eyes.” That is when my wife cautioned me to stop, which was good advice. I let them have their little moment, and they turned around. They still yelled, but there were no more incidents the rest of the night.

Why are we trying to fight with other Packers fans? If you are going to the game just to yell at the team, why are you going at all? Start a group chat to complain about the team’s imperfect play. Therapists are always a good choice to help with anger issues.

A Packers-Bears Game AT LAMBEAU IS STILL MAGICAL

Obviously, a few bad apples surrounding me — and a few other horror stories — don’t paint the full picture. The Packers got their first win of the season, against a division rival at home no less. Their running game is going to be the key to their success this year. Does their passing attack need to improve? Yes. Does their defense need to step up with pressure and better safety performance? Absolutely.

Packers games at Lambeau are supposed to be different than every other sporting event. There were people in the sections who were great. One guy would stand up randomly for first downs and then sit down to not bother people. Some Bears fans would stand and point at each other. Just innocent fun. I can’t believe the Chicago fans knew how to behave, but the ones representing Green Bay could not.

I understand tradition. And we are all still coming back from COVID and trying to be normal in public again. I am way worse at public conversations. There is a lot of built-up pain and anger after the last few years.

But we need to all remind ourselves to take a breath and have fun. Watching the Packers play inside arguably the best sporting field in America should be a privilege, not an excuse to black out and yell the whole time. We are all human beings allowed to have a bad day. But we don’t need to turn Lambeau into a place where drunks scream near kids, assault someone who is simply standing, or try to start a fight just because a stranger responds to your nonstop negativity.

Packers fans are not bad people. But we can be better if we try.

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