Thursday, October 22, 2009

True Green

You had to be a True Green Packer Fan to buy a share of stock in the football club in 1998. As an investment, it rates a big, fat zero.

I and 106,000 other Packer backers plunked down $200 to help cover the multi-million dollar cost of modernizing Lambeau Field. In return we got no dividend, no possibility that the stock will appreciate in value, no preference for tickets, and not even a lottery chance at winning a parking space or a bratwurst. All we got was an annual opportunity to vote for some of the 25-person board of directors and a ticket into the annual meeting in Green Bay to cast the ballot. No other votes are taken at annual meetings.

We shareholders are very distant from the center of team operations. The 25 directors, most of whom we never heard of, appoint an executive committee from among their ranks. The executive committee appoints a club president. The president hires a general manager. The general manager hires the coach. We could write a letter stating how we think the gridiron ship should be steered, but it would be about as effective as sending off a political diatribe to the New York Times.

Packers’ administrators tried to extract the last drop of blood from the faithful during the stock sale. As soon as they got my $200, a follow-up letter offered to supply me with a frame for the certificate at an exorbitant price. I didn’t go for that one. If I had, I fantasized that the next letter would solicit several thousand dollars to build a green and gold wall to hang the frame on. That, I envisioned, might be followed by another letter offering to build me a new house around the wall for a mere three or four hundred thousand.

After congratulating myself on not falling into any follow-up traps, I encased the stock certificate in a frame we bought locally for a quarter of what the Green Bay people wanted for the job. After showing it to anyone who was willing to take a peek and bragging about it whenever possible, I decided my audience was dwindling and getting tired of my bragging and it was time to pass the certificate along for posterity.

When I called my son and offered to transfer the stock to him, he astounded me with the news that he also had bought a share, and didn’t really need another one. So I willed my share to a young man in the neighborhood who, although not a Packer fan, was a sports fanatic. At least, I thought, that would assure my stock of a good home after I departed.

While looking for a contact to change my address so I would continue to get the never-used invitation to vote for the board, I found the ownership rules included with the stock offering. I can’t transfer my share to anyone who is not an immediate family member, defined as a spouse, brother or sister, and son or daughter. I don’t have a whole flock of those, and the ones available don’t want or need my share of stock.

I remain a true green fan. Maybe I should change my will to specify that the stock certificate shall be placed in my right hand when it’s time for that final journey. I could use it to swat any Bears fans that get in my way as they head in the opposite direction.


Alan G said...

Hey Gabby...

Just dropped by on the recommendation of Joared and her mention of this post on her blog. It immediately grabbed my attention based on some very fond memories I have of a co-worker I became friends with back in the early 1970s.

His name was Gene Collins, he was from Green Bay, and a Packer fan extraordinaire! We worked for Bechtel Corp and were working on the construction of a nuclear power plant here in Arkansas. He related so many stories about his love affair with the Green Bay Packers.

This post reminded me of a poem I wrote for him about being a Green Bay Packer fan and I have got to try and find my copy. If I do I will either post it or send it to you. It was probably rather corny but nevertheless.

Later....Alan G

Dick Klade said...

Good to hear from Alan, and know my post stirred up some pleasant memories for you. Hope you find that poem and send it along.

Alan G said...

Well darn it, I couldn’t find it!

I went through one of those, “Well, surely I am going to die pretty soon!” stages a year or two ago and instigated a ‘cleaning out’ exercise getting rid of a bunch of stuff that I assumed wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else once I was gone. I fear that poem may have been a victim of that cleaning purge. I also had an old Green Bay Packer matchbook also in the shape of a football helmet and couldn’t find that either.

Not the first time I have done something like that either. Oh well, I’m sure it’s gone but if I do run across it I will be sure and let you know.