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A Lifetime of Memories

This is a special contribution from The Scoop’s Founder, Jamie Kelly. Listen to her on The Scoop Radio every Monday & Wednesday night from 9-11pm CDT on KTSR-db, part of the Texas Sports Review Radio Network.


This week has been an emotional week for me. Today, my childhood hero and the best athlete I’ve ever seen finally takes his place among the greatest to ever wear the green and gold.

My story goes far beyond football. This is a story about a father and daughter brought immeasurably closer by the common bond of football, and watching a legend cement his place in history before our eyes.

In the 1980s, if your favorite team happened to be in another market, you had to go to some lengths to watch them on television every week. Especially if your favorite team was, shall we say, awful. My dad, being the techie geek that he was, went out and got us a home satellite dish. He mounted the large, cumbersome monstrosity on a wooden pallet, and positioned it carefully in the backyard between the sandbox and the swingset.

Sundays were part magic and part dumb luck. Dad would go out into the backyard, weather be damned, and lay under the dish, moving it ever-so-slightly in each direction, while I stood in front of the television and shouted every time the black and white fuzz showed glimmers of green and gold.

One Sunday in 1992, like many other Sundays, Dad & I were gathered around the TV watching Don Majkowski try to once again pull a rabbit out of his hat. The Packers were down 31-3 to the Bucs, and the Majik Man was sent to the bench for the entire second half. In came some wide-eyed kid named Favre. “Fa-ver? Fa-vrah? Fav-ray?” Hell, nobody knew how to pronounce his name. Nobody cared either. His first pass as a Packer was a completion to himself for a loss of 7 yards.

The following week, Majkowski went down, and the legend of Favre began. After four fumbles and a frenzied Lambeau crowd chanting for Ty Detmer, he led the Packers to a 24-23 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

What followed was a lifetime of memories. From the scrambling to the ill-advised passes to the interceptions to the Super Bowl to the retirement(s), Favre took us on a journey that will never be forgotten.

The pinnacle took place on a cool and rainy day in November 2001. By a pure stroke of luck, Dad and I found ourselves waiting outside the ticket office at Lambeau Field for the players’ tickets to be released. Through a mutual friend from Baylor, I had been put in touch with Santana Dotson, who left us two tickets for a game against the Atlanta Falcons.

The nerves were building as game time approached, and our tickets still hadn’t materialized. Had we made the long trek from Texas for nothing? Would we end up listening to the sounds of Lambeau from the parking lot? Dad and I both tried to keep our cool, but we both knew that panic was starting to set in.

Finally, the players’ tickets were released, and we headed into the building that we had only seen on television, not knowing or caring where our seats were. We were truly just happy to be there. That first glimpse of the somewhat soggy tundra was breathtaking. We stood in one of the breezeways and took it all in, replaying memories of games gone by. Making our way through the sights, sounds, and smells of game day at Lambeau, we soon realized that we had the best seats in the house: second row, 50-yard line behind the Packers bench.

It didn’t even matter to us that the day ended with a loss. It was the adventure of a lifetime, our trip to Graceland, and the memories will never die. This love affair with the Green Bay Packers, which has been made so exciting by the presence of a kid from Mississippi, was made to last.

Here I sit today with my own little Packer Backer, sharing with her the stories of that gunslinger who stole our hearts. Yes he’s a flawed man. Yes he made mistakes. But who are we to judge the mistakes of others? His pure joy in playing a kid’s game is what made us love him, and that joy is what the world will remember.

Thanks for a lifetime of memories, 4.


Jamie Kelly is the Founder of The Scoop, and hosts The Scoop Radio every Monday & Wednesday night on KTSR-db, part of the Texas Sports Review Radio Network. Follow her on Twitter @JamieSportsTalk.

 

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Angels Among Us

A Special Contribution from Founder and CEO, Jamie Kelly


Last night, a massive crowd gathered at Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth to celebrate the life of the late Richard Durrett, and to raise money for his wife, Kelly, and their children.

DoItForDurrett.com
DoItForDurrett.com

The guest list was a who’s-who of Dallas/Fort Worth sports; Michael Young, Derek Holland, Marty Turco, Jon Daniels, and Randy Galloway are among the many who helped to make the night special. The volunteer army assembled by Emily Jones, of which I was a part, was energetic and efficient. The live auction, powered by Anthony Andro, Chuck Morgan and John Rhadigan, was electric.

Many people will surely write about the event in the coming days, but one particular interaction struck me so profoundly that it will stay with me for a long time.

One of my duties for the night was to sell raffle tickets. The raffle was quite incredible! We sold 100 tickets at $50 each, and the first ticket drawn allowed the winner to choose ANY item from the live or silent auction. ANY ITEM. On a night when trips, memorabilia, tickets and more were up for grabs, this truly was a mind-blowing proposition.

The first ticket I sold was to a man who appeared to be at the event by himself. We talked through all of the possibilities and odds, and he asked me what he should choose in the event that his ticket was chosen. Without hesitation, I advised that he choose the trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, including airfare and hotel. That was, in my opinion, the top prize of the night and an experience of a lifetime.

He didn’t seem to really know much about Cooperstown, but he said that he trusted me. Of course, it’s easy to have this kind of trust in a stranger when you don’t think that you’re going to win. It’s akin to spending your lottery winnings in your head before you’ve even acquired your ticket. I told him that I’d be his good luck charm, he smiled, and we dropped his ticket in the jar.

Lo and behold, the first ticket drawn for the grand prize in the raffle belonged to HIM. The lonely stranger. I ran to greet him at the stage as they verified his ticket number, and once they made sure the winning ticket was his, he quickly and confidently said, “I choose Cooperstown!” 

About an hour later, when the first round of the auction was over, I saw him standing by himself near the bar. I approached him to congratulate him one more time, and he looked up at me with a solemn expression and said, “My wife died yesterday. She had been ill for a long time. Maybe this was a sign.” He seemed so bewildered in that moment. He seemed to be struggling with balancing his grief with his wonder if she had somehow been there with him, helping him to find a glimmer of happiness. We talked for another 10-15 minutes about his wife, and about Cooperstown, before I had to get back to my duties at the live auction. I didn’t see him again.

I will be thinking about the lonely stranger next summer when Hall of Fame time rolls around again. And every day until then.


Jamie Kelly is the Founder and CEO of The Scoop. Follow her on Twitter at @JamieSportsTalk.