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Ruth Waytz

Okay I’m getting a little tired of all the quizzical looks when I express my newfound (and admittedly obsessive) love…of FOOTBALL!

Agreed, I’ve spent the better part of my life being at best indifferent and pretty much adamantly avoiding sports of any variety. Sure, I was a Cubs fan as a kid, and we sorta followed the Blackhawks too (although I’ve still never seen a live hockey game). I’ve never been a sporty person, and besides being a yoga enthusiast I have no athletic abilities of my own.

Fast forward to sometime last fall, when I fell in with a group of ruffians who, among other things, are generational supporters of the Green Bay Packers.

If you read anything I wrote here last year, you may have heard me refer to last year as The Year Of Saying Yes.

So after a lifetime of saying No to football, I said Yes. Or at least Why Not?

It didn’t hurt that my friends were buddies with a couple of the players, and that my very first live football game was the Packers/Arizona playoff game, which I viewed from the 45-yard line, no more than a dozen rows up, in the players’ seats, sitting with the players’ families and friends.

We wore jerseys given to us by The Real Guys and we were stoked. I’d seen portions of a few games and had a basic understanding of the rules.

And guess what?

I freaking LOVED it.

And for the record, whoever said football is boring is full of crap.

“We” lost that playoff game, but I still followed the rest of the season. In February I went to my first Super Bowl party, at which I never took my eye off the game.

And when this season started I was READY.

With the exception of my birthday weekend, I have seen every Packers game. I have the cap in the back window of my car, and I wear my zip-up Packers hoodie with great pride. I get texts with team updates and of course live coverage of the games.

I love this damned game!

Every single game I’ve seen has been seat-edge exciting. I figured coming in and learning at the playoffs last year meant every game would be more exciting; that I was lucky to have missed the “boring” regular season play. But I’ve yet to think one game is even the least bit slow.

Maybe it’s just me coming off a lifetime of disappointment as a Cubs fan: The Packers WIN. And whether they win or lose, they’re still a great team so the games are all goddamned thrilling.

Yeah, I have a lot to learn about the plays and the strategy, but I have to tell you I am Hopped Up On Football even now. I watch and follow the games, I read up on the stats and the predictions and the history, and I know what I’m talking about when I talk football with people.

I’m enjoying the hell out of this, can’t wait for game day, and am jumping out of my skin at the possibility of seeing a game at Lambeau.

Plus, I’m completely in love with Clay Matthews. But nevermind that; he lives too far from LA for that to work.

This weekend the Pack goes up against the 49ers and of course I hope they give them what they gave the Cowboys last month. Or what they gave the Vikings the week after, WHICH WAS DELICIOUS. I know the history with San Francisco, I know the 49ers haven’t beaten Green Bay since 2000, but I also know about That One Time they really made it count.

[Editor’s note– the nightmarish game that Ruth references — a January 1999 playoff loss to the Niners — was San Fran’s last victory over the Pack. It was excruciating to watch, mostly because of the final play, which was likely the catalyst moment in Terrell Owens‘s bi-polar march toward stardom — Iced Borscht.]

So I’m hopeful but not complacent. Every game needs to be won on game day, so Don’t Get Cocky, and fer chrissakes enough with those penalties already boys — because I’ll be watching –- and yelling –-


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