I've been a Green Bay Packers fan since I have understood the game of football. My family is full of Packers fans, since my mom and her siblings were raised in Wisconsin. I wouldn't consider us extreme fans- I've known a few far worse- but we do have cheeseheads, jerseys, wall hangings, special edition quarters, pillows, bedsheets, hats, clothes, even a bobblehead in our collection. I'm very proud to be a Packers fan, despite the fact that they haven't been doing so well this year.
My roommate recently saw me curled up in my Packers blanket and joked that I should trade it in for a Colts blanket. I kind of chuckled and casually mentioned that I wasn't going to be a fair-weather fan... and while I said this nicely to her, in my mind, I was much more adamant.
Don't get me wrong; I like the Colts. I've lived in Indiana all my life, and I have always cheered for the Colts and hoped they play well. Except against the Packers, that is.
But some people seem to expect me to suddenly change, now that the Packers aren't doing well and the Colts are doing extremely well. I don't get it-- I wouldn't be able to consider myself a true fan if I didn't like the Packers no matter what. I've seen them win a Super Bowl, and I could see them go a season without winning a game and still be a fan. Part of what I love about the Packers is that they have an extremely devoted fanbase. Year in, year out, winning, losing; cheeseheads support their team. Every Packers home game since 1960 has been sold out. The current wait for season tickets is 35 years.
Meanwhile, Colts 'fans' have miraculously doubled in the past couple of years. It's great if they've truly gotten some new fans to follow the team, but I wonder how many of them will disappear back into the woodwork the moment Manning retires.
It drives me crazy. I definitely see myself as a true Packers fan. I'm certainly not the most dedicated fan out there, but I definitely keep track of the season and almost always watch them whenever I can (oh, how I wish I lived in Wisconsin sometimes!). I receive email updates and discuss the team with members of a LiveJournal community. I regularly refer to the team as "we" or "us." I'm not afraid to scowl at or argue with Bears fans, friend or not. I've been to Green Bay once, and would love to go back for a game on the frozen tundra to see some fantastic football, a Lambeau Leap, the crazy fans, and the retired numbers and memorabilia of some of the Pack's greats.
I'm thrilled to see new people become fans of a team, no matter when it is. Really. It's just tough for me to see so-called fans jump on a bandwagon, Colts of otherwise, and then jump ship as soon as the team isn't doing so well. It may be more fun to cheer on a winning team, but if you truly have an "intense, overwhelming like" for a team, it doesn't depend on their record.
That all said... go Packers! Here's to turning around the season, learning to finish out a game, and tackling in the secondary!