Set your calendars for Throwback Weekend charity event
Colleen Brenton, Packers contributor
Jayme Snowden and Colleen Brenton, two of tmj4.com's Packers contributors meeting up at a past Throwback Weekend.Photo: Image by Colleen Brenton
For Packers fans, bye week is a time where most are feeling a little lost, perhaps taking even more interest in their fantasy football leagues to fill the void of no cheering for the Green and Gold.
For the Green Bay Packers, it's a chance to get much needed rest, heal from injuries and for many players time with their friends and family.
This year, I'm spending time more like the players. Not spending time with friends, but getting ready to host a houseful of them for an upcoming cherished annual event - Throwback Weekend, which coincides with the game against the Cleveland Browns and donates proceeds to the Jimmy V Foundation.
A few years ago, when I was still living in Idaho, I started writing for Pocket Doppler. Through that venue as well as Twitter, I developed relationships with Packers fans from all around the country.
In 2011 I fully intended on seeing the Packers play - in San Diego. It was closer to where I lived, it's a lovely city and I figured it made sense to go to that game rather than make the trek to Wisconsin.
A chance remark by one of my fellow Pocket Doppler contributors about hoping some of us could meet up during the upcoming season made me stop and research costs. To my surprise it was about the same and I happily began planning a trip to Wisconsin.
Since I am and have always been a planner, I immediately began checking with people who I knew were planning on attending a game during the season, particularly those who didn't live in Wisconsin.
In fact, I'd say I nagged. 'Which game are you going to? I'm going to this game, you should too!"
As people realized all the various friends who were now planning on attending the same game, the excitement grew.
There had been plans for an informal barbecue at Wally Pingel's house - our "Chief" at Pocket Doppler - but quickly enough he realized there was no way he could just have a small gathering - too many people were attending the game who wanted to see each other and in most cases, such as mine, meeting for the first time.
And thus an event was born.
That first year was pretty casual - venues for a tweetup and a tailgate were announced, and people showed up. A lot of people.
I met everyone from Phil Hanrahan who wrote the book "Life After Favre" to reporters who cover the team.
Former Packers tight end Tom Crabtree made a surprise appearance to the delight of most and the despair of a few - like me - who showed up right after he left.
Many of us made what I believe to be life long connections with new friends. In fact, at least one romance was born, from a couple who had never met until Throwback Weekend.
Due to the size and success of the first year as well as word of mouth (as the legend of the stories associated with the first weekend continued to grow) things became a bit more formalized the next year.
There's now a reasonable fee to attend the meet up and tailgate, which includes food and drinks as well as a t-shirt. It may now be a "formal" event, but the atmosphere is far from formal. It's a group of now old friends as well as new friends talking football and catching up.
Throwback Weekend started with and is still about the Packers first and foremost. But at its core, it's about the friendships that Packers Nation seems to naturally foster.
I encourage you to look into attending. It's a weekend you'll never forget.