|This is how a rival fan was received in Green Bay|
WXRT radio from Chicago, home of our rival Bears, just featured a post from a host (hey that rhymes) who happens to be a 49ers fan and watched his team just eke out a win (did you see how close the game ending FG got to being blocked?) over the Pack at Lambeau. In the post, and many comments by Illinoisans, he proclaims his admiration for how nice the fans at Lambeau were to him - even in defeat.
Jason Thomas grew up in California and understandably is a Niners fan, but now works in Chicago at WXRT - not exactly a background that would be open to giving credit where its due when his team played the Packers in the Wild Card playoff game at Lambeau. But the Packer fans' reception of him won him over.
It started with the house where he parked inviting him, in all his rival team regalia, into their home to use their bathroom or just warm up inside if needed. It continued with people handing out bottle openers or lighters for him to partake of his beer and cigarettes. All the while mutual respect between fans and the opposing team was discussed and then in game respectful ribs and then even congratulations after his team's win. His shock at this is quite cute actually:
'Yes, after their team lost on the final play of the game, in heartbreaking fashion, a few people shook my hand, told me how good the Niners were, and wished us luck in the next round against the Panthers. Are you kidding me?! I’d been to Lambeau once before, had roughly the same experience and knew what to expect, but doing it again, in the playoffs, in sub-zero wind chills really drove it home.'We all know how great Lambeau is in general but this is perhaps the best quote:
'...once you visit the hallowed ground in Green Bay and experience the kindness and hospitality first-hand, you’ll always have a soft spot in your heart for the people up north.'It doesn't stop there though. Perhaps more surprising are the comments on his post. I normally expect the worst whenever I read comments on web sites - they seem to bring out the dregs of humanity - but the number of positive comments, and even, more so the dearth of negative ones, from Chicagoans - remember these are Bears fans - is pretty amazing. Here is a sample of some kudos:
'This is 100% true. I made the trek north as well-- except, as a Bears fan rooting for the NFC North. Lambeau is an incredible experience, with educated fans displaying actual football intelligence! I love my Bears, but if I'm ever reincarnated and need to choose another allegiance-- the Packers have mine.'
'You can always expect great hospitality from the Packers fans. I have never had the experience to go to Lambeau but know many that have and say, all opponents fans are welcomed with open arms. And they couldn't have felt more welcome anywhere!'
'I made the trek to good ole Lambeau field in Dec not only to experience a great game between two of the greatest teams in football franchise history, but to be on the field where a football legend created magic. And I also have a buddy who lives in Green Bay so I have to mention Greg. Anyway we were treated fantastically'
'I witnessed a Packer fan go to a random niner fan after the game and congratulate them as well as thank them for coming to Green Bay. Truly you just don't get nicer people'
'I couldn't agree more with everything you stated. I was also at the game and as cold as it was, I couldn't help but be warmed by the kindness and generosity at Lambeau Field.'We all know we are nice, so its glad to see other people recognizing it, especially 'rivals'.