In this age of smartphones, streaming video and Sunday Ticket, it might not seem all that revolutionary, to root for your hometown team from another state. But back in the ’90s, it was a big challenge. Very few televised games; no online communities.
And yet every time I visited my Aunt Mary – the Rev. Dr. Mary Margaret Snyder Lundgren – in Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and beyond, there was always her shrine to the green and gold. Packers gear, and toys, and posters, all set up prominently in her living room. Even when her neighbors were talking Vikings, Bears, Browns or Bengals, she was preaching the Pack.
Mary was a minister; in fact, she performed my wedding in Madison, Wisconsin (pictued above). She oversaw congregations in Belvidere, Illinois and in Shelbyville, Indiana. I can still remember traveling to summer bible camp in Belvidere, and stopping in Indiana during cross-country car trips. I’d roll through the corn fields, the quiet downtown, and then arrive at her long drive. I’d pull up and knock, and be greeted by Packers gear, floor to ceiling. When a game wasn’t televised, she’d often telephone my father in Wisconsin, asking for the highlights.
She’s the kind of fan that elevates a regional fan base into a national phenomenon. Through years of losing records and struggling teams, she always held the team up as a point of pride. And when Brett Favre got them back to the Super Bowl, you can bet she was talking about it at her Sunday sermon.
I’ll always love you, Aunt Mary. Hope you’re getting to see some of this Aaron Rodgers magic, from up there.
Have your own memories of great Packers fans? Please email us stories and remembrances at GreatestPackersFan@gmail.com, and then look for new posts on Twitter @GreatestPackFan and on Facebook @GreatestPackersFan. Please help us share news about this site!