Welcome To My Blog

Weekends are for wandering Wisconsin. That's what Rick, my guy, and I do. Occasionally we wander during the week, too. Sometimes we just drop in on other people's lives.

This blog is my way of sharing where we've been, neat places and things to do that we've found.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Last Earth Day at Lambeau - Mash-up

For fear of being labeled a heretic, I have to admit that I’m really not a genuine fan of the Green Bay Packers. Rick, on the other hand, is a true fan and has been all his life. I don’t remember watching football games with my parents and sisters when I was growing up. Being a Packer fan wasn’t something ingrained in me.

Image from the Last Day at Lambeau poster
at the entrance to the theater.
Even though I watch Packer games with Rick and possess a Packer t-shirt, my take-away after seeing Last Day at Lambeau at the recent Wisconsin Film Festival here in Madison was the realization that I lack real fan status. From my perspective, football is just a game, not a matter of life and death. If I miss a game, it's no big deal. However, that’s not to say this wasn’t a good documentary. I enjoyed it – perhaps more as a character study than as a film about one particular former Green Bay Packer and his fans.

The film’s director, co-writer, and editor, Michael Neelson, documents the demise of Brett Favre through his eyes – a Packer fan who idolized Favre like so many did throughout their youth. In fact, the film ends with a picture of Neelson, his dad Dave (the film’s producer), and Favre taken when Neelson was a young boy.

The film covered the time between Favre’s “divorce” from the Packers in 2008 and his last game at Lambeau Field on October 24, 2010, as a Minnesota Viking. Neelson’s documentary included football game footage which was cheered by the audience at the screening, interviews with sportswriters who covered the Packers for years, and discussions with fans who both adored and scorned Favre. All in all, Neelson handled the story in a fair minded way.

While fans feel close to their heroes in any number of sports and even regard them as family, the athletes may not care as much for them. That certainly seemed to be the case with Favre. His job was a player for the Packers and when there was a falling out with the boss, he left - eventually. And so when Favre returned to Lambeau as a Minnesota Viking, archenemy of the Packers, many fans would boo him as he ran onto the field. The more reasonable ones, however, recognized that the man was a great player no matter what the color of his jersey.

The Q & A session following the screening was quite fascinating. Neelson said he made the documentary because he wanted to explore his own emotions about the events in the Favre saga. However, as he got into the nuts and bolts of editing, Neelson told us he was able to put emotion aside to tell the story. John "St. Vince" O'Neill, a Packer super fan featured in the documentary, was on hand to answer questions, too.

St. Vince spoke about Bart Starr, a former Packer,
 who values his fans as shown by his support
for the Green Bay community to this day.
Another fan at the documentary's screening.

Earlier in the day, we stopped to smell the roses (actually, just the early spring flowers) at the Allen Centennial Gardens, a botanic garden that serves as a free outdoor public garden and teaching garden for the Horticulture Department on the UW-Madison campus. Maybe not much of a way to commemorate Earth Day but, nonetheless, a lovely interlude that afternoon. 

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