I am not a huge football fan. Part of it comes from being the son of a coach and never being all that competitive. I was more interested in forensics, Frisbee, and hanging out with the band even though I had no talent for music. But there are things that as a native Wisconsinite, you cannot let pass without losing your mind a little bit. For instance, it is our custom that every household have a grill and know how to use it; every car must have a bag of cat litter and a blanket in the trunk; and every man, woman, and child must lose their minds when the Packers get into the playoffs.
Having a Korean exchange student in the classroom, we had to explain football to him and how it fits in Wisconsin; why it is so important to us. We are an underdog state in many ways, lacking the size of Illinois and Minnesota; we feel the need to constantly remind everyone around us of our toughness. Our kids play football and basketball in the snow, going outside for recess in well-below freezing temperatures. We have a tendency to take that which we are mocked for and wear it like a badge, knowing that it makes us strong. No other team has anything resembling the cheese head as a symbol of proud self-deprivation.
Our joy was reflected in the great story run by Weekly Reader online, written by a student reporter who attended the Super Bowl. The only complaint my kids had when we read it: “THAT SHOULD BE ME!!!” This lead to a project by some of my students to document the craziness that has infected our fair state, created by using our library’s digital and Flip video cameras. Stay tuned for that.