It was with great sadness yesterday that I learned of the death of Michael Philbin. It’s been a rough week for the Packers family – TJ Lang losing his Dad, and now Joe and Diane Philbin suffering every parent’s worst nightmare. The Packers speak of being a “family first” organization, and that seemed to be borne out in the somber tone in Mike McCarthy’s voice during his press conference and the outpouring of grief-ridden tweets from both players and their wives/significant others after the team was notified that the worst had indeed happened.

Both situations hit me personally; of course, just having lost my Dad in the last year as well as living through a really rough few weeks almost a year ago involving young men in my own family. I’ve seen parents close up trying to recover from a tragedy. They need all the support they can get.

The outpouring of emotion from fans yesterday on Twitter was overwhelming. There may have been a few trolls, but I’m going to ignore those, because the vast majority of what I saw was support. Support for Joe and Diane Philbin, renewed support for TJ Lang after he tweeted his own comments regarding the Philbin situation, and many reminders from our collective Packer Nation to each other that the most important thing in the world is not football, and not what might or might happen this coming Sunday – but the people you care about, friends, family, and friends that you’ve decided are part of your family. I was proud to see it. It epitomized to me what is so special about this team and the community of fans to which the team is so important.

Sometimes people use the anonymity of social media, or the Internet, to say vile, vicious things that would never escape their lips in public. But sometimes, a lot of times (in fact, in my experience most of the time) Packer fans find a way to pull together, console each other and focus on what really matters. Things like this can and should make us pause and see how petty our own problems may be as opposed to what some in the world are living through.

To those of you who did just that yesterday, whether online or in your own private thoughts, and no doubt will continue to support TJ and the Philbins going forward, I’d like to say I’m proud of you. You are truly Packer People in the best sense of the word. I should know, I’ve felt that strength from you myself.

Yeah, I still care about what the outcome is Sunday. But, as it has for you, it’s been put in proper perspective.

Go Pack Go.


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  • Paul Dier

    Very well-stated Colleen. Even though we are spread out far and wide across this vast land, Packer fans are unique and loyal, just like family. A person’s true character shows in times of trial. I have never been more proud to be a Packer fan than I am now. Even though the past weeks events have put the upcoming game on Sunday into perspective, I can’t wait until Sunday. Go Pack!

  • Tarynfor12

    Reaching out in times of tragedy no matter the type to comfort those that have been affected by it is the humane thing to do.However,to say that we have or need to put a sporting event into a certain perspective due to any tragedy is a little far in the reaching.

    These are life occurences happening everyday,somewhere
    ,to someone.I’m interested to know as to what perspective you infer for all fans of Packer nation you’re recommending.

    Should we watch this game Sunday with a constant heavy heart for a person I do not know except through news articles about a team I support on a fan basis.I have suffered the loss of a family member whose age was 18 and a parent a short time later.

    There is only one perspective in life when dealing with death no matter the cause or its time of occurence…enjoy what is still around and love more those you’re able to share it with but ,never maintain on any level a sense of constant remorse and allow it to deter you from continuing yours and that of others lifes enjoyments.

    Putting an event as Sundays game into a certain perspective would be for the immediate family and close friends to decide but,to even attempt to declare the fans of the Packers nation should on any scope is obsurd.

    Sympathy and heart felt condolences I’m sure are being offered and sent in one manner or another but that is all that needs be done from fans as we are not a real friend or family member of the Philbins.

    So,as bad as it may sound to some or even many,I feel sad for the Philbin family but come Sunday,I assure to all,the last thing if at all that will enter my mind other than hearing it mentioned during the game,will be the Philbins but, hoping the Packers kick some Giant butt,period.I’m a 48 year fan and my only perspective for each game no matter what is how I wake up to mine daily ….winning.