Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Can You Hear That?

As I was running with my dog this morning, I had to stop, one, because she needed to take care of some business, and, two, because I heard a sound that I had never heard before. As I stood there listening, my dog staring at me with her head cocked to the side, I could only assume this sound had slowly built to a crescendo over the past couple of weeks, and I had simply failed to notice it being preoccupied with other things.

Letting the sound wash over me, I tried to find a way to characterize the sound. It was at the same time, deafening, yet soothing. Startling, yet exceedingly comforting.

I raised my arms, tilted my head back and closed my eyes, simply enjoying the noise and the feeling of peace it brought me. I have no idea how long I stood there listening, but after some time, I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. Oblivious to anything around me other than this glorious, auditory outburst I was experiencing, I had failed to realize a man and woman had been asking me for some time what I was looking at.

“Looking at? I’m not looking at anything.” I smiled.”I’m listening.”

The couple looked at each other, puzzled looks on their faces.

“What are you listening too? We don’t hear anything.”

Now it was my turn to look puzzled.

“You can’t hear that? Seriously?”

“No, we don’t. Hear what?”

‘That sound. That amazing, fantastically beautiful, sound. Listen. Can you hear it now?”

“Ummm…no. Are you okay?”

‘Am I okay? I’m ecstatic. You really can’t hear it? It’s how I imagine the tails of 1,000 unicorns’ swishing with Led Zepplin, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles playing live in the background would sound.”

The couple slowly backed away. Puzzlement had now turned to concern, for themselves or for me, I couldn’t tell.

“Okay, well, you have a nice day with your unicorns.”

‘Thank you. I really hope you can eventually hear it because it really is wonderful.”

I continued my run, a wide smile on my face, the sound echoing in my ears. I began to notice that others along my route didn’t seem to share my elation much like the couple I had talked to. Was this true? Was I the only one that was able to hear it? I began to ask people I passed. “Do you hear it?” or “Can you hear that sound?” No one could, and they all seemed to shy away from me when I asked. Maybe they were scared to admit it and admit how great it made them feel. Or maybe they were just scared of me and my slightly deranged look, sporting my bedhead and covered in sweat. Regardless, not one person I passed was able to hear this sound.

So, I now ask you, do you hear it? I have to know. Listen closely. Can you hear that? It’s brilliant. It’s magnificent. If you try harder, maybe you can. Just concentrate. Now?

No? …seriously? You can’t hear it?

It’s the sound of not one single Packer fan complaining about Jermichael Finley. If you can’t hear it, then I feel sorry for you because it’s truly one of the best things I’ve heard (or not heard) in a long time.

Go get ‘em, 88.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Packer Post Record Profit, But what Does that Mean?

By Jordan Webb

The Green Bay Packers recently released their profit margin for the 2013 fiscal year, and the news is good. Damn good. A record $54.3 million dollar profit has the Pack in a good position for the future.

Normally, a profit-based press release wouldn’t be a big deal (some big-wig hotshot CEO would just take the profit and laugh all the way to the bank).

However, things are a lot different for the Packers, thanks to the ownership structure of the organization, which is the best in football (and possibly major league sports).
So what does a record profit mean?

It’s pretty simple: the Packers are the only professional sports entity that is largely publicly owned. This means anyone can own a share of the Packers with enough money.

This includes die-hard cheeseheads, your grandma who leaves you stock in her will, or just the Average Joe with football picks hoping to be a part of the experience. More than 100,000 people have shares in the company, which s about the population of Green Bay, Wisconsin itself.

This unique ownership structure is the primary reason that Green Bay has remained a small market team and stayed in Wisconsin for so long. This structure also means that all revenue generated stays in the Packers organization, and it can’t be used in other unsavory ways, such as funding a CEO’s trips to Brazil to visit a mistress.

While the team does have an elected representative who in the form of a president of the organizations (and a seven-member board of executive directors) it is refreshing to see the level of transparency and democracy present in the Packers’ ownership structure.  
  
So, this means we can live the dream of getting paid to be the fan of an NFL team? Not quite. Hopefully Sheboygan's Donny Wozowski, who has held Packers season tickets since 1978, doesn’t have a betting strategy that involves a check in the mail.

Sorry Donny, it isn’t coming. While a shareholder himself may not actually receive any bonus for a vacation in Jamaica, the profit generated by the team still helps Packers fans in many different ways.

Because of the small-market nature of the team and the tendency of the organization to refuse or minimize their endorsements, the Pack needs every dollar it can get to pay off debts and construction costs for renovations and improvements to Lambeau Field.

The highest priority at the field right now is a new Atrium, which is slated to be completed in 2015. Revenues are also used to help pay Packers employees, since the team doesn’t claim any tax money or funds from the state of Wisconsin.

Essentially, the Packers’ profits and the overall revenue they generate is the only source of income for the organization, so it must be spent carefully and wisely. In addition, the team makes a sizeable donation to the Packers foundation every year, which is dedicated to increasing the health, safety and longevity of the players.   

Furthering its cause and company without the use of public tax money, the Green Bay Packers are a testament to the dedication and work ethic of middle America, and proof that you don’t need to be a greedy, penny-pinching executive to make smart business decisions and benefit the community.

Packers shareholders and the elected board of directors are dedicated to leaving the organization better than when they received it, and while it’s hard the surpass the glory of Vince Lombardi and two Super Bowls, the current administration is certainly challenging that.

And you don’t have to be a cheesehead to see that.

Stadium Noise Battle Rages, And Why the Packers Think it's Funny

By Parker Jones
So get this: Seattle and Kansas City are engaged in a heated, nasty feud over whose fan base can get the loudest. Apparently, fan groups representing both the Seahawks and Chiefs are petitioning the Guinness Book of Records for the right to hold title of “loudest NFL fans.”

Apparently, this is a really big deal for both teams.

But why would two fan bases desperately try and prove that they have the higher exertion of air during games? Why would they really care? I’ll tell you why: Because they have to win something. And when that something isn’t on the field, you look for whatever you can get.

It’s actually kind of sad, isn't it? Can you see Packers fans getting all worked up over this? Nope. That’s because Packers fans have better things to do than worry about appearing alongside the fat-twins-on-motorcycles and guy-with-the-longest-mustache in the Guinness Book of Records.

You know, things like “win championships.”

I guess when you actually win world championships, and have unmatched success, and come from the original NFL, and have the best fans in the league, artificial screaming seems a little childish. Damn, I guess we don’t have that noise record. But allow us to show you our (record) 13 titles.

You know, you would think football fans would care about…oh, I don’t know…winning games, fighting for division crowns, clinching home field advantage, creating an imprint on the NFL. The last time I checked, trying to claim the Guinness Book of Records’ highest decibel meter doesn’t equate to success.

Of course, I am sure Kansas City will fail to win this showdown of loud fan bases given the fact they typically fail at everything else. Sure, Aaron Rodgers dazzles Lambeau with his pinpoint accuracy and his Bart Starr-esque leadership. But Kansas City had Matt Cassel, so, uh, he’s a quarterback too. Hell, KC’s best QB in the last 20 years was Joe Montana, the on-his-last-legs Joe.

Not that Seattle can exactly yell insults at the Chiefs considering how “successful” its franchise has been. But all this makes for a great visual: All those slicker-and-poncho-wearing, coffee-drinking fans who buy Seattle Seahawks tickets trudging through the non-stop rain, past the Space Needle, past the flying fish at Pikes Fish Market, elbowing their way into the stadium so they can try and set the noise record.

I guess when you actually win world championships and have unmatched success, certain pursuits seem pointless. We Packers fans look on with bemusement and complete indifference.

Congratulations on your noise record, Seahawks fans (yes, I have the Chiefs losing). We’ll just have to settle for our 13 championships.
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