Church Media (Part 1) – For Ministers

Over the last two decades, nearly every church has incorporated at least one media projector into their services. Instead of people burying their heads into a hymnal or mouthing nonsense words as they search for the correct lyrics, they now lift their heads, read along as they sing, and can understand even the most mumble-mouthed soloist.

We read scriptures from them, play announcement videos on them, and share videos from missionaries and religious organizations. Media projectors can be incredibly useful in every church service, but we need to be aware of how to use them, how to prepare for them, and how to interact with those who are performing the unenviable task of running them.

I am in a unique position of serving from both behind the pulpit and the iMac on a regular basis, thereby having an understanding of what is required from both sides. Unfortunately, many ministers have no idea what is going on in the media booth. From time to time, that creates massive problems.

Luckily, at The Pentecostals of Bossier City, we have Pastor Dean and Pastor Stanley, who fully understand that media operators need to be given as many tools as possible to help them prepare, and do everything within their power to make sure things will run smoothly, even when late inspiration strikes. This ensures fewer miscues during our services. Even for funerals, Pastor Dean often reminds the funeral home or family that any slideshows or media need to be handed in well in advance.

However, I have often seen ministers embarrass media operators during the middle of service, sometimes in front of large crowds, and the entire congregation laughs at the clueless media operator as the omniscient preacher continues to rush and chastise the hapless soul from the pulpit. In actuality, I would estimate that in 90% of these cases, the fault actually does not lie with the media operator, but with the minister who is publicly shaming him.

Fellow ministers, listen up.

1. MEDIA OPERATORS NEED YOU TO HELP THEM PREPARE

Media presentation software is not magic. If you fail to give your scripture references before service, you cannot scream, “2 Chronicles 2:14-20! Get it on the screen! Get it on the screen! What’s taking so long? Are you asleep up there? My God, we can’t get it together today…”

First of all, it’s not as simple as typing the scripture reference and hitting a magic button that sends it immediately to the screens. For a multi-verse reference in ProPresenter (my recommended church presentation software), it takes me an average of 8 seconds to have it on the screens, and I type over 90 words per minute.

If you decide to incorporate video into your service, it is even more important that you get the video or DVD in the hands of your media operators at least 30 minutes before service. There are a number of things that could go terribly wrong when dealing with video files, and they need plenty of time to prepare. Again: MEDIA SOFTWARE IS NOT MAGICAL. If you’ve ever had a problem setting up a Powerpoint, formatting a Word document, or paying a bill online, then you should know that things don’t always work the way they’re supposed to.

Hear me now: if you publicly ridicule your media operator for something that is actually your fault, then it shows one or a combination of these:

  • A lack of understanding.
  • A lack of compassion.
  • A lack of character.
There are obviously times when you might joke with a media operator when things go awry, but if it’s done with the right spirit, it goes a long way in not alienating one of your volunteers. It’s especially difficult for those who are more introverted, as most of your tech-minded volunteers tend to be.
Ministry is a stressful job with many demands pulling you in every direction, but we must remain aware that for media operators, what they’re doing is their ministry, and they should not be unnecessarily humiliated. Please help them by giving them your scriptures, videos, and graphics as soon as you have them yourself.
Email them. Dropbox them. Give them a USB thumb drive. Whatever you have to do, equip them.

2. MEDIA CANNOT BE RUN ON ANTIQUATED OR UNDERPOWERED HARDWARE

If you expect to run your church media off of a computer that is older than the double-breasted suit you haven’t taken out of the closet since the AOL days, then don’t be stunned and angered when that video of an Argentine missionary starts skipping uncontrollably, creating those horrible awkward pauses that leave the congregation cringing.

The most taxing things you can do with a computer are graphics-based. If you’re running media software, it’s already taxing your system. If you’re running video, especially HD video, it’s probably going to be pushing your church’s computer to its limits. If you underfund your media department, then don’t be surprised when it all grinds to a halt.

I understand that every church has to operate under a budget, and media often seems like an unnecessary expense (until you desperately need it). There are bargain deals to be found. Search Apple’s refurbished section on their store. Search NewEgg.com. Search for a slightly-used iMac. Just please don’t bust out the Packard Bell and hope that it plays that 720p video your youth department put together.

3. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP

Pastors are often required to juggle study, hospital visits, prayer meetings, outside jobs, counseling sessions, church finances, and family time in a way that would make most people’s heads spin. I know this, and I know that for most of you, it’s a daunting task to not only prepare a sermon, but also gather together media or create a Keynote or Powerpoint presentation to accompany your sermons.

Ask for help.

The person running your media for church can probably put together a serious presentation and gather supplementary images/video much faster than you can. Give your media operator 30-45 minutes of heads-up time before service, and they can likely put a level of polish on your sermon media that greatly enhances the vibe of your church.

Find a member of your church who is artistically and technically inclined, and put them to work. They want to help. They want the church to be represented well graphically. Throwing up a Powerpoint using the default styles will get the job done, but using an interesting graphic and unique text/formatting will go a long way in making your church’s media look more professional.

IN CONCLUSION:

Your church’s media solutions might not be the fanciest or the prettiest, but with some training, investment, and encouragement, you can have a staff put together that will do the best job possible for your church under whatever budget you can assign. Ministers are becoming more tech-savvy every day, and companies like Apple have changed the way we approach media and design, whether it be for our businesses or our churches.

Even while operating under a basic budget, our church media can look good enough represent us well. Just imagine where we will be twenty years from now.

Next: Church Media (Part 2) – For Worship Pastors

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Apple Exhaustion

I have used Mac computers exclusively for almost a decade. I remember being one of the handful of students on my college campus using a Mac — a 12″ iBook, to be exact. It was different. It was exciting. It was better than what everyone else was using, and I knew it.

Admittedly, it was a source of pride.

Today, you can’t turn your head in any direction without seeing a MacBook, iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. Apple is worth $600 billion. Read that once more: $600,000,000,000. They are a corporate behemoth, with their current public image differing sharply from the renegade hammer-throwers of yesteryear.

Why has Apple succeeded?

  • Simplicity – This philosophy is best displayed through their simple, intuitive user interfaces. Using an iPad is like second nature, even for children and the elderly, because it feels so natural and unimposing.
  • Culture – First it was the Apple loyalists, then the hipsters, then their families, then the world. Apple is a magnetic force, drawing everyone towards its fiercely loyal user base.
  • Strategy – Steve Jobs said (paraphrasing here), “We control the hardware, we control the environment, and you guys can deal with it.” Geeks have cried foul for many years, but Apple’s control-freak ways have made for the world’s most secure and manageable experience.

So what’s the point of this post? I’m kind of tired of Apple.

When everyone is saying the same thing, it usually means that the last group of stragglers have finally jumped on board. When I first bought a Mac, everyone shrieked, “It’s not compatible with anything!” Today, that long-untrue lament is a relic in the tech industry. Even Apple’s most ardent critics have to admit that Apple has been on to something very smart all along.

But now that everyone is using a Mac and talking about how incredible it is and how everyone who uses a PC is a neanderthal, they’re getting annoying. The media is mostly to blame for this, as they cover every whisper of every rumor from every corner of the world so long as it’s related to an upcoming Apple product.

I’m an Apple apologist and fanatic. I own an iPad, iPhone, and MacBook Pro. I get excited with every Keynote’s announcements (even the most recent Steve-less one). I’m NOT getting rid of my products anytime soon.

But Google is at least making a challenge with the Nexus 7 and their Android phone OS. I’m excited that they’re making strides, because that means Apple must (and certainly will) step up their game.

I just hope they lose a few customers in the process. It’s getting crowded in here.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Clint Dempsey: America’s Forgotten Sports Star

Are you an American? If so, do you know the name Clint Dempsey?

In all likelihood, the answer is a bewildered “No,” and this is a crying shame.

Dempsey

A brief summary of Clint Dempsey’s accolades:

  • He is the first American to score a hat trick in the English Premier League (widely regarded as the best soccer/football league in the world) in a 5-2 win over Newcastle United in January 2012.
  • He  finished tied for fourth in scoring during the 2011-12 English Premier League season with 17 goals (21 in all competitions).
  • He owns the record for most goals scored by a Fulham FC player in Premier League matches (50).
  • Known for his toughness, Dempsey once played two games with a broken jaw before being diagnosed by a team trainer.
  • Dempsey scored the equalizing goal against England during the 2010 World Cup’s group stage, one of the most famous goals in American soccer.

When you see Dempsey play for the United States, he is one of the first American-born players who looks like he truly belongs. His skill, touch, and footwork are on a world-class level, and yet more Americans know Landon Donovan, or even Freddy Adu.

Largely ignored, the native of Nacogdoches, Texas flicks, spins, and bursts his way through opposing defenses with a flair never seen from an American. If you don’t know of his talent, watch a few of these YouTube videos:

http://youtu.be/iCdTNAkFdec
(a compilation)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZR48Cnn9FU
(Dempsey’s “wonder goal” against Juventus)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBDrQVE414w&feature=related
(Dempsey’s story)

If you don’t watch soccer, that’s okay. But please don’t think of Freddy Adu when you hear the words “American soccer.” Don’t think of Landon Donovan. Dear heavens, please don’t think of Alexei Lalas.

Think of Clint Dempsey.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Half-Hearted Church

Psalm 22:3 (KJV)
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

Every preacher, worship leader, musician, and/or singer has felt it before: a church that has collectively checked out of a service. Those in platform ministry can exhaust themselves, raise their voices, sing until their vocal cords can’t take it anymore, and yet nothing works — every member of the congregation seems content to follows the pattern:

  1. Walks in 1-5 minutes before/after service starts.
  2. Claps their hands lethargically during worship.
  3. Refuses to alter their expression.
  4. Sits through the preaching with an invisible force field surrounding.
  5. Stands when the preacher says stand.
  6. Offers obligatory 3-minute prayer at altar call.
  7. Rushes to a local eatery.

The Word of God asks us to not “forsake the assembling of ourselves together,” but merely attending church is not the point. We are to worship together, to learn together, to pray together, and grow together. How can this be accomplished if, through their body language and actions, much of the membership shows itself to be bored with church itself?

As Pastor Dean has often stated: WE DO NOT TAKE CHURCH SERVICES OFF!

Attend service with this understanding: in all likelihood, someone is experiencing your church for the very first time. I know at POBC, we have first-time guests each Sunday morning. Are we letting them down? Do they walk in expecting an apostolic, power-packed environment, but leaving feeling underwhelmed?

If we believe God’s Word, and that He “inhabits the praises of His people,” then our WORSHIP and INVOLVEMENT during a church service is crucial to creating an atmosphere in which God’s presence can work at maximum effectiveness.

Is God dependent upon us to move? No.
Are the emotions and desires of man affected by his environment? Yes!

If it was your sibling, your parent, your friend, or your co-worker who was attending church as your guest for the first time, would you worship differently? Would you hope that everyone else worships, investing their whole heart into THAT particular service? Would you do everything within your power to create fertile ground for the seed of God’s Word and Spirit? Would you walk to the altar with purpose, or would you linger back, just hoping that the service comes to an end in time to beat the other churches to your favorite restaurant?

Each service is just that opportunity for someone. Each song is a chance for the church to lift up holy hands in adoration of God. Each sermon could be the Word that someone’s guest needs desperately to hear. And each altar call could be the defining moment where someone finds God and is filled with the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

I understand that worshipping God isn’t a scheme to trick anyone into following Him, and I know that even pop artists can send chills up your spine and bring tears to your eyes with a powerful song. But imagine we worship God with absolute sincerity, He inhabits our praises, His Spirit covers the room, and suddenly the atmosphere goes from “just another Sunday” to the Sunday that no one will ever forget. That’s what is at stake each and every week.

So my question is this:
DURING YOUR CHURCH’S LAST SERVICE, DID YOU WORSHIP LIKE SOMEONE’S SOUL DEPENDED ON IT?

Revelation 3:14-16 (ESV)
And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Footballer Faith – A Brief Summary of Fabrice Muamba’s Story for an American Audience

Timmy-Tim-Tim Tebow isn’t the only “football” player whose faith has recently been stretched across headlines — that distinction is shared by Fabrice Muamba.

The Bolton midfielder faced an uphill battle getting onto the most prominent stage in professional football, emigrating with his family from his native Zaire at the age of 11. Muamba’s father, experiencing pressure due to his political beliefs, sought asylum in England and started a new life with his family. Young Fabrice was unable to speak a word of English, but that didn’t stop him from achieving 10 GCSEs and A-levels in English, French, and Mathematics (interpretation: Muamba is smart).

But Muamba was noticed as much for his athletic prowess as he was his academics — at 14-years-old, Muamba entered Arsenal F.C.’s youth academy, and signed his first professional contract a year later. After a spell with the North London club, Arsenal sent Muamba off on a year-long loan to Birmingham City, where he played until 2008, when he was transferred to Bolton Wanderers F.C. Finding consistent success on the pitch, Muamba became one of Bolton’s most important players.

Then, on March 17, 2012, Fabrice Muamba died.

During a quarter-final FA Cup match with Tottenham Hotspur, Muamba became dizzy and began seeing double before collapsing to the pitch. Football is sadly as known for its “dives” and feigned injuries as it is for its creativity and the unwavering support of its fans — but this was different. No one was near Muamba at the time of his fall, and the entire crowd knew something was different about it. Football crowds are known to be aggressive and creative with their taunts, but in this case, Tottenham’s 36,000 fans stood in near-silence for what seemed to be an eternity, occasionally chanting his name. Fans wearing Tottenham kits were shown on television crying or clasping their hands together in prayer. Muamba’s teammates and opponents were praying as well, particularly striking in modern Europe, which appears to be almost completely secularized.

Muamba’s heart did not beat for 78 minutes.

Many prominent footballers have died suddenly while on the pitch. In 2007, Antonio Puerta suffered a cardiac arrest and died at the age of 22-years-old. Just last week, 25-year-old Piermario Morosini collapsed and passed away. These situations usually result in tragedy — Muamba’s appeared just as dire.

Doctors would later confirm that Muamba received numerous defibrillator shocks both on the pitch and in the hospital, but they were unable to resuscitate him until 78 minutes after his collapse. Two days later, his heart was beating without the assistance of medication and he was able to move his limbs. Soon after, he responded verbally to family members. On April 16, nearly a full month later, Muamba was discharged from the hospital.

Today, Muamba speaks with reporters about the incident, and gives credit to someone else, besides doctors, the hospital medical staff, and the cardiologist Tottenham fan who rushed onto the pitch. Muamba credits God for his recovery:

In an interview with The Sun, Muamba revealed he asked God to protect him before the cup clash, which was abandoned after his collapse. “Some one up there was watching over me. What happened to me was really more than a miracle,” he said.

“On the morning of the game I prayed with my father and asked God to protect me – and he didn’t let me down.

“I am walking proof of the power of prayer. For 78 minutes I was dead and even if I lived was expected to have suffered brain damage. But I’m very much alive and sitting here talking now. Some one up there was watching over me.”

The aforementioned Cardiologist received additional praise from Muamba:

Muamba praised Andrew Deaner, the cardiologist who left his seat at the match to help medics treat the player.

“He is the reason I have been able to hold my baby son again and continue my life,” said Muamba, who is recovering at home with his 3-year-old son Joshua and fiancee after being discharged from the hospital Monday — just over a month after he suffered the cardiac arrest March 17.

“It would be great to play football again and I hope that will happen,” Muamba said. “But it’s even greater just to live life and love my family. I’m a lucky man.”

The football world was united in its support for Muamba. Bolton’s first game after Muamba’s life-altering incident:

Former teammate Gary Cahill (now of Chelsea F.C.), after scoring a goal:

The full video of the incident, along with the fans’ response, is difficult to track down in its entirety, but it was a moment when the curtain of sporting intensity was pulled back, revealing the humanity of even the most vicious fans. For a moment, everything was put back into perspective, and I for one am incredibly proud of the response from Tottenham’s supporters.

That said, I shall now resume despising them.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

29

I started out with a smile in my future
I am running now with a chip on my shoulder
I thought the world would one day be all mine
I thought that I would always have more time

I dreamt much more than I could ever hope for
I made plans that seemed so right at seventeen
I thought that God would grant me a perfect life
I thought that I would always have more time

I always heard to strive for something greater
I didn’t hang my head in shame with each defeat
I swore to never settle for less without a fight
I thought that I would always have more time

I learned to make concessions day-by-day
I saw my foolishness for what it was
I felt the weight so crushing from the outside
I still thought that I would always have more time

I had unexpected gifts that numbed the heartaches
I never saw them coming in all my plans
I knew most of what I’d wished would be denied 
I began to humbly lose my hold on time

I felt the coldness of perspective growing closer
I opened gates that led to pathways of regret
I handed Him the evidence of all my crimes
I let Him shape my heart, my will, my time

I cannot claim that everything is as I’d hoped
I cannot claim I’m exactly who I’ll be
But I swore I won’t deny the One who dwells inside
I know that He transcends the hands of time

Tebow

I’m not going to discuss Tim Tebow’s sports-related accomplishments or the controversy surrounding his current season. I’m just going to quote him from ESPN’s First Take, responding to former Broncos QB Jake Plummer’s insistence that he tone down his professions of love for Jesus:

“If you’re married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife ‘I love her’ the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and every opportunity?

“And that’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ is that it is the most important thing in my life. So any time I get an opportunity to tell him that I love him or given an opportunity to shout him out on national TV, I’m gonna take that opportunity. And so I look at it as a relationship that I have with him that I want to give him the honor and glory anytime I have the opportunity. And then right after I give him the honor and glory, I always try to give my teammates the honor and glory.

“And that’s how it works because Christ comes first in my life, and then my family, and then my teammates. I respect Jake’s opinion, and I really appreciate his compliment of calling me a winner. But I feel like anytime I get the opportunity to give the Lord some praise, he is due for it.”

Raylan Mason Dean

Last Monday, October 31, 2011, my wife and I were joined by my mother-in-law for our weekly appointment at Willis-Knighton Bossier City in preparation for the birth of our first child. Our previous check-ups indicated we were on track for a due-date delivery (November 5). Little did we know, we wouldn’t be leaving the hospital. Dr. Leslie Dean (an absolutely brilliant OBGYN) examined my wife’s vital signs, along with the heartbeat of our baby. He was experiencing a decelerated heart rate, so Dr. Dean committed Shari for overnight observation.

This caught us off-guard (though it really shouldn’t have), since we expected to be induced the following Monday. I needed to drive home to collect our ready-packed bags, so I began my 12-minute journey to the house. As I turned onto our street, my mother-in-law, Tanya, called me on my phone. I assumed they had forgotten to pack something, and either she or Shari needed me to find something. However, as I answered, I could hear in the tone of her voice that something was wrong. “Ryan,” she said, ” you need to be quick. His heart rate decelerated again, and they might have to take him in for a c-section the moment it happens again.”

I went into panic-stricken terror mode. There was absolutely no way I was going to be anywhere but the side of my wife during the birth of our child.

I rushed into the house, bags flying through the air as I literally ran through our cozy little house as my very confused dog watched. I slung everything into my car, zipped onto our road, and began a run of terror from Haughton to Bossier City. Note: I am a defensive driver by nature, and rarely go 5 MPH over the speed limit. I don’t appreciate speeders who endanger the safety of those around them, especially in neighborhoods.

I drove at a safe speed throughout our subdivision, but as it came time to merge onto I-220, I became an absolute madman. My hands trembled and tears were welling up in my eyes as I alternately prayed to God and screamed at my fellow drivers. With my emergency blinkers on, I zoomed down the interstate at an entirely unreasonable speed, which in retrospect was absolutely stupid. BUT I COULDN’T MISS MY SON’S BIRTH!

Luckily, Shari and the baby stabilized, and Tanya called me again to assure me that they weren’t expecting to wheel Shari into surgery any time soon. I rocked back and forth in my seat at the red light, patting the wheel, praying, and sweating profusely. At this moment, I get a call from my dad, who I recognize is chuckling for some bizarre reason. I was not chuckling.

“It’s alright,” he said. “Shari’s okay. The baby’s okay. No one is doing anything yet. I see you rocking around in your car — just settle down.” Every syllable seemed to be laced with something between the aforementioned chuckle and a giggle. I still wasn’t chuckling.

I finally reached the room, with bags in hand (minus the several items and additional bag I forgot in my mad rush). I was there, along with my family, when our incredible nurse, Kelley, came in to tell us that Raylan’s heartbeat had once again decelerated, and Dr. Dean’s partner, Dr. Gomez, was on the phone to explain to my reluctant wife why a c-section was absolutely necessary. An hour later, I sat next to my beautiful wife, an anesthesiologist at her head, a surgeon at her abdomen, and nurses everywhere.

I held my wife’s hand as the procedure began. Shari was blocked from seeing what was happening due to a small sheet that formed a 6-inch curtain just below her chin, but I was able to see much of what my perspective did not permit by looking into a reflective surface on the opposite wall. The procedure is absolutely incredible, but I remember very little of it.

Suddenly, Dr. Gomez said, “Oh, look at all that hair!” At this moment, I looked at Shari, who began to cry heavily. Almost immediately, our screaming, crying son came into view. The first thing I noticed was his hair: it was a mixture of my wife’s dark blonde hair and my family’s Irish-red strawberry-blonde(ish) hair. I followed along as the nurses cleaned him, snapping pictures and fighting away tears. But then the moment for which I’d waited 28 years came: I was allowed to hold my son.

The moment that he was nestled into my arms, a barrage of overwhelming emotions and thoughts flooded my mind, and though it might sound cheesy, the most powerful impression was this: Now I have a better glimpse of the incredible, powerful love that God feels for us. As I cried profusely, I finally understood that all the cheesy cliches that I had always heard were true: this is a different, powerful love — distinct from anything I’d experienced before.

The following days have been spent with my son, wife, and family. We’ve experienced an incredible outpouring of love from our church family and friends. They’ve brought us meals, showered us with gifts, and generally shown more excitement than I thought possible. We’re incredibly blessed, and we know it.

Raylan is keeping us up, filling diapers, crying, staring, frowning, smiling, and making life a wonderful adventure. As I write this blog post, he is lying in his car seat (he seems to prefer it), swaddling in warm blankets, and wearing one of his two LSU beanies. Shari and I are happier than at any point in our lives prior to his arrival, and we can’t wait to see what this parenthood thing is all about.

Seconds after being taken from the womb

Seeing Mum for the first time.

Taunting the camera

Forever furrowing his brow

Fauxhawk #1

Getting tweeted

Tay Tay

🙂

Staredown

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)

Steve Jobs died yesterday, taken at the early age of 56. Under his guidance…

Apple changed the way we think about computing.
Apple changed the way we buy and listen to music.
Apple changed the way we use mobile phones.
Apple changed the way we read.
Apple changed the way public speakers present their material.
Apple changed the way computers look and feel.

And yet this is an oversimplification of all that happened under the watchful eye of Steve Jobs. Wearing the same black mock turtleneck, jeans, and white New Balance shoes, Jobs dazzled the masses with one product launch after the other, almost always ending the presentations with “one more thing.”

Unfortunately, there will not be “one more thing.” But the fingerprints Steve has left on the technological, musical, artistic, and entrepreneurial worlds are everywhere to be seen. Steve will be missed, but he won’t be forgotten any time soon.

I’ll miss you, Steve.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

1. Green Bay Packers

This blog post has taken forever to get around to, mostly because this is the busiest time of year. Now down to business…

I believe the Green Bay Packers have the most classic, distinguished, iconic uniforms in the National Football League.

I know that many people will disagree strongly with this pick. “Green and yellow? Are you serious?”

Yes, I’m very serious.

Throughout this blog series, I’ve made it abundantly clear that I have a borderline obsession with classic jerseys that were done right long ago, and their organizations know better than to make sweeping changes to them — the Steelers, Raiders, Browns, 49ers, and the Packers all come to mind. There are several factors that I believe contribute to the Pack’s uniform dominance:

1. Yellow

Wisconsin is known for its cheese. Cheese is yellow. The Packers are literally “cheese packers.” Yellow blankets the entire team. This accentuates the team’s incredibly close tie to the local fan base. The Packers are the only non-profit, community-owned major league professional sports team in the United States — they are literally owned by the city, and the uniforms reflect that.

2. Disinction

You can see a football game playing on a 32″ TV across the other side of a restaurant, and if the Packers are playing, you can identify them. No other team in the NFL wears these colors. They jump off the screen and smack you in the face, repeatedly screaming, “PACKERS! PACKERS PACKERS! PACKERS!” These uniforms stand out, but not in an “ew” Oregon Duck kind of way — they’re beautiful in a strange, cheesy way.

I apologize for the pun.

3. Their Story

This shouldn’t affect my perception of the team’s uniforms, but it should: the Packers have an incredible history.

Green Bay is by far the smallest TV market in the league, but they have gained an enormous fan base that has sold out every game, regardless of the team’s talent, since 1960. I repeat: they’ve sold out every home game at Lambeau Field for 51 years running, and it won’t stop any time soon. This feat is made even more impressive when considering the icy conditions that often plague the stadium during the winter months.

Just read these two excerpts from the Packers’ Wikipedia page:

Packers fans are often referred to as cheeseheads.The term is often used to refer to people from the state of Wisconsin in general (because of its cheese production), but is also used to refer to Green Bay Packers fans in particular. The name originated in 1987 as an insult from Chicago White Sox fans at a Milwaukee Brewers game. In years since and particularly beginning in 1994, the name and the hats called “cheeseheads” have also been embraced by Packers fans.

During training camp in the summer months, young Packers fans can take their bikes and have their favorite player ride their bike to the practice field from the locker room. This is an old Packers tradition dating back to approximately 1957 (the first years of Lambeau Field’s existence). Gary Knafelc, a Packers end at the time, said, “I think it was just that kids wanted us to ride their bikes. I can remember kids saying, ‘Hey, ride my bike.'” The practice continues today.

They took an insult aimed at their entire community by a big city snob, and said, “You know what? We know who we are, and we’re proud of it. And to prove it to you, we’re going to wear massive cheese hats to our games!”

I’m sorry…that’s just cool. And when I see the uniforms, I think of the community and the history of the Green Bay Packers.

Kinda scary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,