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Some of us have been waiting a lifetime for this



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Halverson (click for larger version)
January 19, 2011 | 08:09 AM
Although I enjoy almost all sports, I don't typically use this column to talk about those things.

An editorial should be about important national topics such as our more than $14 trillion national debt, increasing health care costs and the use of politics by some to make excuses or try to explain why an insane man shot people at an Arizona grocery store.

An editorial typically should be an opinion about a local issue such as the rescue and fire services disagreement between Geneva Township and the Lake Geneva Fire Department or whether the Walworth County District Attorney's Office should have filed charges against Lake Geneva city staff for mismanagement.

But, this week, justified or not, sports in this area will overshadow all else. Because Sunday afternoon may just be considered the biggest day in the history of professional football for those who live in Wisconsin and Illinois.

The Green Bay Packers will travel south to play the Chicago Bears for the National Football Conference championship. This is the first time in 70 years the two will meet in a playoff game and it may just be the most important game the two teams have played against each other in the 90-year rivalry of the franchises.

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The winner will lift the George Halas Trophy Sunday and then will have a chance to do the same with the Vince Lombardi Trophy on Feb. 6 in the Super Bowl in Dallas.

For those who aren't up on your Bears and Packers history, the NFC championship trophy is named after the Hall of Fame Bears coach, while the Super Bowl trophy is named after one of the most famous coaches in all of history and winner of the first two Super Bowls. That should prove to even a nonfootball fan how important both these teams and franchises are to the National Football League. I foresee the discussions and debates the next few days proving how important these teams are to their fans as well.

Ever since I was old enough to know what a football was, I have been watching it. From the first time I watched a game on television and saw the big "G" on the bright yellow helmets, I was hooked. That was even in the 1980s when the Packers were pretty bad despite a great offense with Lynn Dickey, James Lofton, and my personal favorite, John Jefferson. And, even though I was young, it didn't take long for me to realize that we were all cheering against the team with the orange "C" on their helmets called the "Monsters of the Midway."

But, regardless of their successes or record for a given season, there are a lot of special things about the Packers. They are the only team in any professional sport owned by the community. They are probably the only team anywhere with a 30-year waiting list for season tickets. Those who have season tickets actually include them in their wills to pass them down to their grandchildren.

Here's the thing about this rivalry probably more than any other in professional sports — either you are a Packers fan or a Bears fan, there is no movement on that. It's a love-hate thing. If you are a Packers fan, you hate the Bears and if you are a Bears fan, you hate the Packers.

For most of the 30 years I have been watching, neither team has been really good at the same time. In the 1980s, the Bears excelled with players such as Walter Payton, Jim McMahon and Mike Singletary, just to name a few. In 1985, the Bears won their first Super Bowl.

In the late 1990s, the Packers were the team to beat. Winning the Super Bowl in 1997 and appearing again in the biggest game in 1998. Players at that time for the Packers included Reggie White, LeRoy Butler and Brett Favre.

During the past several years, both teams have been good and bad. In 2007, the Bears played in the Super Bowl. The Packers have made runs in the playoffs a few times, too.

But, this is the first year, both teams are at the top of their games in the playoffs. For those of us who have watched and cheered our teams through the good times and the bad, it's about time we're rewarded with a game like this.

Let's hope the game is worth the wait. Go Pack.

Seiser is the editor of the Regional News.

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