Sunday Night Football, a national game, meaning a Green Bay game was actually on in the San Francisco Bay. I was ecstatic. Curled up on the couch next to Mr. Trizzle, I was all set to root for my team. Let’s go Pack!
And I did. And we won. But I wasn’t ecstatic. I was just eh. Why? How could this be? We won! We defeated our arch enemies, ‘that expansion team from out West,’ that traitor Darth Judas Favre. But no, there was no massive elation. No overjoy. Not even the silly laughter I’d had at the end of the Raiders blow-out 59 to 14 victory earlier that day. Nothing.
It wasn’t a real win. It was a present handed to us. And I don’t mean handed to us by Favre’s three interception passes, two of which went straight into Packer hands and the third caught in a flying leap over the intended Viking’s head. No, it was a present handed to us by the refs.
Coach Childress called it the “Worst officiated game [he’d] seen.” I kind of agree. The Packer touchdown that was out of bounds. The overturned Vikings touchdown where having two hands on the ball and holding onto it was somehow not having control of the ball. I’m sorry, but with better officiating, that game would have been a loss.
Ok, ok, so you want to argue how there’s rules and challenges and Childress could have challenged the Packers’ touchdown and didn’t so it’s valid and fair. And I suppose you’ll make some argument for the validity of the overturning of the Shiancoe diving catch pass, too. Fine, go ahead, because I think there’s something else bothering me than just bad ref-ing and a stolen win.
When Favre comes out on that field, on Lambeau field, in a Vikings jersey, it’s like seeing your ex-boyfriend show up at your party with his new girlfriend. Your stomach lurches, your mouth goes dry, your heart pounds into your throat. You hate him.
But you also feel protective. There’s no way that new vampire he’s with is going to hurt him. And when the evening starts going badly for him, when you see him sad, left alone in a corner, hurt, you feel sad. You feel pity. There’s nothing you can do, and even if there were, you probably wouldn’t want to, but still. It sucks to see someone that used to mean so much to you shriveled and worn, and hurt.
Watching Favre Monday night, even just the little head that pops up and blinks from the stats bar on the bottom of the screen, was depressing. The grey hair, the wrinkles, the tired half-grimace half-nothing expression on his face. It’s too much. He’s struggling, yet trying so hard. The officials unfairly take the game away, we fracture his ankle, and by the end of the night, he seems like just a lonely old man, deep sadness set in the eyes brimming with tears. How is it possible to look at the hurt in those eyes and not feel the tiniest bit of compassion?
The NBC announcers were speculating that someday Green Bay and the Packer fans will forgive Favre and there will be a Favre Way or something near the stadium. Maybe someday, but I doubt it will be while he’s alive. We’re hurting, too.