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Watching the Bears in Packerland

Have you ever walked into a room and thought to yourself, "This is not the right room?" That’s what happened to us last Thursday night when we tried to watch the Bears/Packers game in Packerland.

The outcome of the game aside (really Bears, 3 points?), watching it in Fish Creek, Wisconsin was truly a unique experience.

Door County has always felt like a second home. Our family has been coming here for years, since I was a little kid, and my kids have grown to love it as much as the rest of us. I consider myself a Fish Creekian when I’m here and even when I’m not here. I have always felt the Packer presence on the Door, but it wasn’t until this year, when history was made with the oldest rivalry in the NFL kicking off the 2019 football season last Thursday night.

The weather last week in Door County was perfect. The high most days was around 72 and the lows got into the lower 50s. The perfect weather for football.

I had started to notice the Packer presence early in the week with a trip to Nelson’s Hardware store where they have a Packer aisle. Yes, Nelson’s Hardware store in Fish Creek has a sizable Packer aisle.

I’ve been going to Nelson’s for years, but I wouldn’t really say I know the folks there all that well. It seems Bob has been at the front register for as long as I can remember so when I couldn’t find any Bears stuff, I called over and asked him where the Bears items were. Thankfully, I ducked just in time or may have been hit by the camping stove Bob threw at my head. Needless to say, no Bears stuff at Nelson’s.

I also looked for Bears stuff at other stores around Door County. Even at Al Johnson’s, the famous Door County restaurant, featuring the fine cuisine of Sweden and goats on the roof, had nary a single Bears item displayed.

So, when the night of the big game came, it was time to find just the perfect spot to watch the Bears host the Packers. It's all in how you ask the question when you call, and the key words were “will you have the Bears game on?” The response will tell you everything. If they corrected you and said “Do you mean the Packers game” they immediately got scratched from the list.

The Gibraltar Grill in Fish Creek answered the question correctly so on that very blustery Thursday night last week, we made the trek up Route 42. When we arrived, the televisions were all still tuned to the Cubs/Brewers game, but the football fans quickly pointed out that the outcome of that game was meaningless so let’s watch some football. That’s when the Packer fans arrived along with tension in the air.

We stayed until halftime, when the score was still 7-3 Packers, but we thought if the Bears could turn it around we wanted to cheer in our own home. Sadly, that plan became moot in what can only be called the most underwhelming football game in the history of football games.

Perhaps this Sunday, the Bears will have a better outcome in Denver when they play the Broncos. If not, the last eight months have been a lot of hype for nothing.

In the meantime, dang I wish I was in Fish Creek!

JONATHAN FREEBURG is an Ottawa transplant for the last 25 years. Jonathan is also a regular contributor t0 1430 WCMY Radio. His real job is insurance as a cover-holder for Lloyd’s of London.

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