It all starts at the top. Or the bottom, depending on what matters most.
Last week, I wrote about how Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, had yelled “I still own you!” at Chicago fans during a game at Soldier Field earlier in the year. I also wrote that he does indeed “own” them, if we’re talking wins and losses — and that I hoped, as a fan of the Chicago Bears, they would have enough pride to beat the Packers last night, if only for what I saw as his unprofessionalism.
For the first half, it seemed like they might. But, knowing Rodgers, if he has 33 seconds, he can score 33 points, so no lead was safe.
And I know what happened. That first half, the Bears played pretty well, better than they’ve played most of the year, and it looked like they had not only read his quote but had likely had it running through their brains the night before, replacing the sheep they should have been counting.
Then halftime came, and they had time to think. And, in that silence, as we often know too well, the doubts and fears probably came crashing in. And the energy they were playing with in the first half quickly drained away.
Which is why, when the second half started, they looked like a different team. And I’m not just saying that for dramatic effect. They literally looked like they had gone in at halftime and been replaced by a whole new set of guys. Scared ones.
But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about what happened afterwards, during the postgame news conference, when Packers receiver Allen Lazard wore a shirt with the words “I still own you!’ on it.
Turns out, according to ESPN, that Packers running back AJ Dillon had them made after that first game.
So, why am I writing about this again? Can’t I just realize it’s all in fun, part of the game, and stop acting like a whiny Bears fan?
Because it’s not, it isn’t unless we allow it to be, and because this is about something bigger. Namely, the power of leadership, or lack thereof, especially when we need it most.
Aaron Rodgers made a statement that tells me a lot about him. Then his teammates saw that it was ok to do so, and that it got attention, so they followed suit.
And now it’s become more accepted in the Packers organization.
That’s how these things go. One small thing builds upon the next, until one culture dies and a new one is born. One that might not be so kind.
They say leaders live at the top of organizational charts. But anyone watching the news, or working in a toxic environment, knows that’s not always true.
As far as I’m concerned, without getting overly serious, we’re here to “Stay Gold,” as quoted in “The Outsiders” movie about a Robert Frost poem.
The Packers’ colors are Green and Gold. And, though I’m a Bears fan, I’ve always thought they did it the right way.
Stay Gold, Packers.
From this Blue and Orange fan, please stay gold.
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