When Peter Pan had to Grow Up: On Favre vs. The Packers

I was an idealist.

When Brett Lorenzo Favre retired, I deemed that my childhood had officially ended.  It was that moment where the man who I had watched quarterback my beloved Green Bay Packers for so many years had rode off into the sunset through a tear-filled press conference that I watched on my laptop with two other grown men who were at the onset of tears as well.

“What a perfect ending to a perfect career,” I thought. I can cherish this in peace.

What has ensued since has been the best real live enactment of “bizzaro world” from Seinfeld that anyone could ever conjure on this planet.  Favre unretires. Drama. Packers say they don’t want him. Drama. Favre demands to be traded. Drama. Packers offer $20 million to be a spokesperson. Drama. Favre gets traded to the anthesis of Green Bay – New York – with a specific stipulation that the Jets would forfeit their first round draft picks for the next three years if they flip Favre to the arch nemesis Vikings.

Drama. Favre plays, almost reaches the playoffs, then retires. Again.

Drama. Favre hints at coming back to – the VIKINGS! He’s in, he’s out, he says no.

Wait – No! With a week of training camp left to play, Favre says he’s in. And in a white bronco, he speeds from the Minneapolis Airport to training camp and then leads his team to a 3-0 start with an unbelievable come-from-behind victory.

Seriously folks – this isn’t scripted.  Just listen to the talking heads for a while.

The most read piece on my blog is what I wrote about Favre a year and a half ago. It was everything I loved about growing up watching #4 play his heart out. I’d been waiting to write it for years. I had a storehouse of memories that I was anticipating to get out of my head and into print as to how a quarterback shaped a boy, who became a man, and who still picks up a football and thinks he can be like Brett.

But that wasn’t the way it was to be. And I can’t help but think how life mirrors what we’ve seen with the Favre drama.

As much as I pulled all the lessons out of Favre’s life, I can’t help but think how the last 18 months have illustrated the dark side as well. And ironically, in the last couple of years, I’ve experienced more of the dark side of life than I’ve ever seen before. When experiencing great disappointment in life in the past, there was always #4 to watch at one point in time to see that life wasn’t going to, as U2 sung in Acrobat, “let the bastards grind you down.” (My second favorite U2 song).  Brett might not have won every game, but he always went down fighting. He wouldn’t let the bastards grind him down.

But for the Packers’ faithful, this week it becomes real. Favre isn’t in some bizarro world. We’re the bastards grinding him down now. It’s real.  And the one constant we would watch to remember to just keep going…is now the opponent. He’s the enemy.

And that goes against every bone in my body. I’ll be cheering against Brett Favre.

I can’t believe I just wrote that.

Are there any happy endings anymore?

The longer I live, the harder it is to be an idealist.  I see so few happy endings. The more experience I get in all areas of life, the more I see how sin has really stained the world. It’s just not as it should be. Ministry teaches you that more than ever. Whoever thought people in ministry are sheltered needs a reality check – if you do your job right, you’ll encounter sin as you’ve never seen it before – even in the holiest of people.

I’ve seen several friends who have abandoned happily ever after to the good ol’ American, “Yankee Pragmatism” where we settle for good ideas to be partially realized and partially fulfilled, and spin the partial failure into success. It’s because our image-conscious society wants winners, and if you don’t win you aren’t worth talking about. If you can’t sum it up in a 10 word pithy statement, it’s not worth saying now, is it?

Question: If all things are being made new, then why is Favre wearing a Vikings uniform?

Question: If all things are being made new, why do we feel pain and brokenness more deeply once we’ve begun following Jesus.

However overly dramatic this might be, the whole bit of this week’s drama for Favre vs. the Packers reminds me of one thing: The world isn’t as it should be.  Peter Pan should never have had to grow up.

3 Responses to “When Peter Pan had to Grow Up: On Favre vs. The Packers”

  1. 1 Robert Szczesniak October 1, 2009 at 2:53 am

    Bizarro s totally right. In the Jets uniforms, there was at least something familiar. But in the purple? Just bizarre.

    I notice that there is a lot less drama in MN with all those wins.

  2. 2 Robert October 6, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    What an exciting game, though it felt like it was a battle of quaterback greats that was determined by the lines – the Vikes protected and the Pack didn’t.

    Did you take anything good out of the fact that he can still play and that the Pack has a solid future QB? Or was it just total pain all the way around.

    I think John Gruden loves Favre more than you do.

  3. 3 andybilhorn October 6, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I still think Aaron Rodgers is going to be a great quarterback. If he can get some pass protection and learn that he’s got to get rid of the ball. He’s like the anti Favre – he’d rather take the sack than throw the interception. Both had to learn to throw it away.

    Unfortunately, i was sick and don’t have cable so I was listening to it on the radio. it was painful.

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September 2009

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