Another good thing about the NFL and football is that fans have a 'club,' a feeling of belonging.
So I went into the Twin Cities in Minnesota from my home in Wisconsin for a few hours. Minnesota is only 10 miles away. But crossing the state line is like crossing a country border, sports-wise. It wasn't that Minnesota folks cheer for Minnesota teams. It was that I was wearing a Wisconsin coat, and a couple of times another Wisconsin fan would shout out "Go Badgers" as I passed by. There would be smiles, hello's. And then the feeling, as I told one man who said Go Badgers, that I was in foreign territory.
The fascinating thing for me was the people who called out Go Badgers. Because 10 miles a few minutes away, back home in Wisconsin, no one does that. Because we are all Wisconsin fans. But out of your territory, there is a feeling of belonging, of some sense of normality in the foreign land, when other hails from the same team fan base. You find a kindred soul. You are not alone, or lost or wrong. You have a friend, even for a second. But the feeling lasts. And it's another positive thing the NFL and football does for us.
Kids in the Wisconsin Badger marching band, famous for their 5th quarter playing after the game, entertain the crowd during a Packer game at Lambeau Field this fall.