Heavy Hearts for Humans and Heroes

JTB: What a tough couple of weeks it has been for Packer fans all over. In many ways, I too have felt like a voyeur watching a crazy episode of Divorce Court without the comic relief of Judge Mablean Ephraim! I've been pretty quiet this week, not knowing what to think or say. Then came the morning paper with Tony Walter's commentary in the Green Bay Press Gazette. I mentioned to Tony that I was grateful for his column -- fair, balanced, honest and not taking sides, I believe Tony's column beautifully describes what's in so many hearts these days. Perhaps this places some things in perspective for you, true Packer Fans!

We need heroes. We want heroes.

We are a culture that depends on heroes to fill that space left untended by experiences that often include too much stress, too little money and too many disagreements.

Heroes take us away from gas prices, irritating in-laws, mortgages, divorce, insurance companies, lawnmowers that don't start and term papers. With heroes, we can escape to a world where there are no misunderstandings, just fantasy and entertainment.

Brett Favre has been a hero.

Adore him or not, like football or don't, we all recognize that he attained hero status in our world — to the point that we really didn't care how much money he was paid or even if he wasn't always successful on the football field. He was punching our ticket to the hero world, and we were content to enjoy the ride because we knew this was a unique one. It let us share the national spotlight, reminding fans of other teams that this is our hero, not theirs.

But when heroes become human, we are left to go searching for an explanation. Rather than being rational, we look for loopholes that might extend our hero-worshipping and the excitement that we aren't prepared to abandon. It's a futile search.

So, failing an explanation, we seek blame.

Packers General Manager Ted Thompson is the perfect foil. He answers to a higher authority yet makes decisions that affect Favre's future and impact our hero world.

He is responsible for the Green Bay Packers' future on the football field — not something that guarantees fans will bask in the presence of heroes, certainly not to the level that Favre provided. In fact, just about everyone who watched the Packers in the last 16 years agrees that there might never be another star to shine as brightly as that of No. 4.

Thompson is not a man who is inclined to publicly say that he is right, so many are willing to say that he is wrong. For sure, he is not hero material to those who stand with Favre.

We don't know where to turn because we sense that the warm, fuzzy relationship among the Packers, Brett Favre and the fans is over, and we hadn't planned on that. Getting mad at one side or the other doesn't fix anything, trying to look hopefully to the 2008 season is unsatisfying, and realizing that a solution to this mess is totally out of our control is frustrating to the average fan.

So, we wait, but for what we're not sure. Realizing that a group hug is an unlikely resolution and group therapy is impossible, we can only stand by while everyone with an opinion, a microphone and a computer — but not necessarily plugged in to logic or facts — joins the public forum. It's too much, perhaps, to just ask everyone to grow up or lighten up.

If having heroes is the mountaintop, then losing heroes is the pits.

And all we know for sure is that the place we're standing now is as unpleasant as it is foreign.

Tony Walter is a columnist for the Press-Gazette. He can be reached at (920) 431-8360.

ARTICLE: Green Bay Press Gazette


Anonymous said...

WOW ... powerful messages from you and Tony. Makes us confront issues and see them with a rational viewpoint. Puts a different slant on things ...we DON'T know ALL the facts but we make judgements anyway ... isn't there something in the Bible..."judge not lest we be judged" ... ? I am saddened by the agony that must be tormenting the Favre family.

We must keep them and, yes,even everyone in the Packer administrative offices in our prayers.


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