Favre From Gone

By - Aug 19th, 2009 05:08 am

divisionaries header oil painting

It was the only logical outcome — and it was the right one for reasons most wouldn’t consider.

Brett Favre stayed true to his lack of form and unretired mere days after pseudo-retiring for the 19th time.  By signing with our nemesis to the north, Brett managed to break our hearts one last time, crossing the purple line we thought he’d never cross and cementing the bitterness so many of our fellow Wisconsinites have felt toward him ever since this soap opera began anew.

And this is good news.

Brett and his bro-in-law with their kill

Brett and his bro-in-law with their kill

Packer fans have been willing to forgive Favre for a lot of things he’s done throughout the years because of one Vince Lombardi Trophy. Drug addiction, alcoholism, interference with Packers management on personnel decisions, whispered shenanigans on College Avenue in Appleton that would make your mom blush (if she isn’t a sex worker). Fans have looked the other way each and every time because so many of us saw a little piece of our personal identity in Brett Favre.  We worked hard (at least we thought we did), we drank hard (stats n’ graphs don’t lie), we loved deer hunting (so we could drink more away from our spouses) —  just like our idol, Brett.  The fact that he had interests so similar to ours made us blind to the obvious faults that were already apparent before the Super Bowl quickly swept them from our minds.

What we failed to understand as we fawned all over our hero was that he was just as flawed as all of us.  He had a drinking problem, a drug problem and he hung around with people whose true colors would later be revealed as we tried to drink away the hangover from our Super Bowl success.  And it truly felt like “our” success — I’ll always remember the pure and innocent  joy on the faces of every honking motorist I carefully passed on the way home from watching the game at work, where I had just won a signed painting of Brett and Bart Starr after the final score matched my numbers in the work pool. From that moment on, nothing–not even a crippling addiction to Vicodin–could tarnish the myth of Favre that most of us nurtured far beyond simple adulation.

That is, until now.

Sweet fashion for sweet success

Our state’s identity is no longer intertwined with our quarterback or his personality.  To many, Favre’s fall from our grace coincided with the painful reminder that life, and our economy, sometimes aren’t fair.  As so many of us continue to work through that cold reality, we were already working through our mixed emotions on Favre when his sudden reemergence forced us to once and for all accept that those days are gone.  In the words of Ian MacKaye, “you can’t be what you were, so you better start being just what you are.”

And what we are now is a fan base lost in memories of what we were. We want what we once  had, but we’ve already forgotten how many years it took to obtain it in the first place. Thankfully, we didn’t chase away Aaron Rodgers, who might become the technically proficient passer we were all but ready to dump Favre for back when a loss to the Cowboys in the playoffs was the inevitable end to the season and our holiday cheer.

The free market is dealing us a cruel hand, but it’s going to make this season of football so much more intriguing than it would have been otherwise.  Our hearts will mend and our team will undoubtedly split the season series, providing us with a small morsel of impotent revenge but keeping us honest about just how much the world has changed since a hard-drinking Gomer from Kiln, Mississippi filled in for an injured Don Majikowski so many years ago and stole our hearts – and our better judgment – in the process.

And with this introductory post, welcome to Divisionaries, ThirdCoast Digest’s column covering the newly intriguing NFC North. We’ll be keeping an eye on all of the hoopla and bitterness (on and off the field) all season with biting wit and a host of rhetorical techniques never before employed in the coverage of football.  We’re a mix of Packers and Bears fans united in the shared loathing of the Minnesota Vikings and pity for all people unfortunate enough to call themselves fans of the Detroit Lions.  In the weeks leading up to the regular season we’ll be previewing each team, starting on Monday, August 24th  with the lowly Lions.

0 thoughts on “Divisionaries: Favre From Gone”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been to kiln, I’ve rooted for the home team, and still will root for my home team when Brett Favre comes to town.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Interesting take Rob. It will be interesting to see how Wisconsinites handle watching (dare I say “enjoying”?) how Brett plays while rooting for the other team. It’s a weird paradox that Bears fans have been dealing with since, well… the Majikowski era.

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