Once upon a time, there were two little boys growing up in the South. One had a comfortable home with his mother, father and siblings…one, a few years younger, lived with his loving mother and siblings, but in the uncomfortable confines of a U-Haul trailer (among other places).

These two little boys couldn’t have come from more dissimilar backgrounds, other than general geography. One was raised going to church, being confirmed, dating the high school beauty, being the star quarterback and the apple of many eyes. The younger one was raised with love, but also with hardship, poverty, hunger and crime.

The older boy blazed through high school, college and into the NFL with few issues and even less introspection and maturity. He never seemed to be held truly accountable for his misadventures by anyone, not his parents or his long-suffering girlfriend. He played the part for the cameras of feeling bad when he screwed up, but never seemed to really feel all that much guilt.

The younger one struggled and fought his demons. He caved into them time and again, dabbled in crime and drugs, yet his better self seemed to call out to him. He focused on sports and made it to college. He met a woman who loved him more than he did himself and was strong enough to be prepared to let him go if he could not make the right decisions about his (and their) future. He finally made the right choices and made it to professional football.

Then the two boys met, now young men. They became teammates and friends. They enjoyed success on the field.

Here is where the fairy tale ends for one of the men.

In a perfect world, the Green Bay Packers would have won the Super Bowl in 2008 and Brett Favre and his friend Donald Driver would have achieved the ultimate NFL goal together. At the very least, in 2008, I would have bet a million dollars that Brett Favre would retire a Packer and have his jersey promptly retired and take his place with the other elder statesmen of the team. Not quite.

Instead, in the absence of Favre’s larger than life personality and diva-ish tendencies, Donald Driver began to shine as the face of the Packers. Oh yes, Aaron Rodgers is better known to all. He’s the Super Bowl and NFL MVP. But Driver showed his class time and again and his love for the Packers. He made a special point of bonding with fans, of speaking warmly of Farve (yet understandingly of the fans) when he must have known he was sticking his neck out to do so and quietly becoming a senior leader of the team with grace and class. Everyone always liked Quickie. When Favre left, fans came to LOVE Quickie, mirror ball trophy and all. And Quickie loved them right back.

Favre of course, continued his free fall into disgrace and now is to the point where not only are many fine with his jersey retirement coming well after Thompson, McCarthy and Rodgers are all gone but there are also those now who think it should never happen at all.

Yesterday Donald Driver signed a contract that, if reports prove true, pretty much cements the fact he will retire a Green Bay Packer. He has over 76,000 followers on Twitter (Favre’s verified account has a little over 40,000). He got men to watch Dancing With The Stars who would have never, ever done so. He had fans whooping, cheering and crying (the latter being @Sunnie5274 and I) when he announced a deal was complete.

This is a man who started out poor, lived with very little and worked his way up from not being expected to even make the Packers to being the receiver with the most yards caught for the team. EVER. He made good choices, hard choices and chose to take the high road rather complaining, leaving because he had to take a pay cut or live for petty revenge and ‘sticking it’ to those in charge. He may not be perfect; no one is. Yet he’s consistently displayed good judgment and maturity.

As Vince Lombardi once said (regarding Jimmy Taylor) – We replaced ‘the other fellow’.

Donald Driver is ‘Packer People’. And he’s going to remain a Packer.

‘Thanks Ted’, indeed. Sometimes the nice guys finish first.

 

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  • http://pocketdoppler.com Ceallaigh

    Quickie loves the Packers–both Packers Inc as well his brothers in arms, his place in Packer history and most importantly the Packer Nation.

    Brett Farve loves Brett Farve.

    Therein lies the difference.

    • http://PocketDoppler Carol

      Boy…talk about hitting the nail on the head! (And I mean both of you, Colleen–a well-written, lengthy version, and Ceallaigh, short, not sweet but, sadly, very true)

  • Colleen

    Thanks, both of you. This wasn’t meant so much to say ‘Brett’s a jerk’ and DD isn’t (though I think he at heart is) as it was to say that if he’d had an eighth of the intellect DD has had about how to conduct himself, they’d both have ended on this high note.

    • Anita

      Some things go without saying…LOL.

      Great article, Colleen!

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  • Katie

    This brought tears to my eyes Colleen!! :)

  • Colleen

    Thanks for reading Katie, glad you liked it. :)