Alas, it is true. My son is a Green Bay Packers fan. Don’t ask me how it happened. I woke up one day, and like the father who finds out his kid has been addicted to crack for months, discovered the cold, hard truth. Except that we get to call him a cheesehead instead of a crackhead. That sounds better.
And then I stopped and genuflected on the circumstances for a moment. It was then that a warm, benevolent smile came across my face and I realized I was glad my son had to decided to root for the Packers. It means he thinks for himself.
It all started during last year’s NFC championship game. Facing Seattle, Green Bay surrendered a massive second half lead and lost in heartbreaking fashion. My son was steadfast; this was his team from then on. Now, both my ex and I are Broncos fans, so what the draw was for him, I’m not sure, but he was resolute. From that point forward, he was everything Packers. The highlight for him of our recent trip to see family in Florida was the Packers bar we went to dinner at. He dressed as Aaron Rodgers for Halloween. He even traded me Demerius Thomas from his fantasy football team for Aaron Rodgers, a move which has actually payed off quite nicely for him.
His loyalties were truly tested, however, when the Packers travelled to Denver to play the hometown Broncos. He wore his Packers jersey to school the week of the game and got taunted by his friends, but still he never wavered. When the Broncos dominated the Packers, sending them to their first defeat of the season (and boy did he hear about that the whole next week at school!), did he back off his commitment? Not this kid. He doubled-down. He rooted against the Broncos for weeks, purely out of spite for having displayed the unmitigated gall to defeat his team.
Gosh, I love that boy! His stubborn independence reminds me of his dad. Well, minus the receding hair line. I could care less who he chooses to root for. I just want him to always think for himself.
And so it was that a few weeks later he came to me and asked me if it would be okay if he went to church one Sunday with a friend. I told him that he could do so if he liked, but that both his mother and I had specifically kept him from religion so that he could remain uninfluenced until he reached an age where he could make those decisions for himself. If he felt he wanted to explore this now, I was there to support him but wanted him to be sure to look at many ways of answering the weighty questions of the world.
He asked me what I believed. I told him that my answers were no more relevant that an anyone else’s so I wanted him to come to his own answers before sharing mine (and make no mistake, that is a discussion I very much look forward to some day!). “You know, Daddy,” he told me, “most of the kids in my class are just Christians because that’s what their parents are. They just believe what their parents tell them.” Oh so true, son.
I told him there were just two pieces of advice I could give him about religion and the world. First, all you need to do to be a moral human being is ask yourself of each of your actions whether or not it makes the world a slightly better place. That’s it. And the second thing I told him was to always question what someone tells you and think for yourself.
So go be a Packers fan, my boy. Besides, that Aaron Rodgers has a hell of an arm.
Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY, as well as numerous published poems, short stories, and dramatic works. Read his blog TRUTH: in 1000 words or less every TUESDAY and FRIDAY at www.waitingfortoday.com