In late 2010, I suffered a horrible loss that left me sad and without hope. My best friend Laurie stood by my side and emotionally brought me back to life. As a gift to her, I bought us tickets to see her beloved Packers (especially Clay Matthews) at Lambeau Field. On October 1, 2011, we flew to Green Bay, checked in at the Best Western and began our weekend of best friendship, fun and Packers Football.
We started October 2, 2011, at the hotel with breakfast and mimosas. The weather was 75 degrees, sunny and we sat outside and watched the parade of Packers fans walk-by in all kinds of green, gold and cheese outfits. We were in heaven. As each person walked past, I had him or her take a picture with Laurie. As we gathered new friends and many photos we decided that this was by far the best place on Earth.
We saw a guy dressed in a Matthews jersey, a knit cap with 52 on it, and long, luxurious yarn-blonde hair. I went over with Laurie and we took a picture with “Clay Matthews Kid.” We began talking and it turned out that Zac owned and operated a sports tour business. He organizes coach buses from different cities in Wisconsin and brings Packers fans to Lambeau Field. He was at the party with the fans from one of his buses. I asked Zac where he was sitting and he told us that he didn’t have a ticket. Last minute, a gal on his bus brought her boyfriend who didn’t have a ticket and Zac offered his ticket to her boyfriend so they could watch the game together. He explained that he would just watch the game from one of the bars around Lambeau Field.
Laurie looked at me and we smiled – see, it turned out that I initially bought three tickets because another of our friends was going to join us. We offered Zac our extra seat. He offered to pay for the ticket and we said, “No, you can buy us beer.” Being from New York City, we assumed that it would cost him more in beer than the cost of the ticket! While I didn’t sit next to Zac during the game, I snuck peeks at Clay Matthews Kid throughout the game (although, he will tell you that I paid no attention to him). We started talking when we went to get cheese curds and Pack and Cheese. He asked me if I was married? Boyfriend? I said, “Nope.” I asked him “Wife?” He responded shyly, that his wife had passed away five years ago. It was at that point, when this man chose to share something so personal with me, that I just knew I was at this game for a reason.
Zac asked me for my card and my cell phone number. He asked if I would come meet him in Milwaukee in the near future and we could get to know each other. Then, he stadium smooched me! Oh boy! As people walked past, they screamed, “Get her Clay.” We both laughed hysterically. Zac left to shepherd his flocks of Packers fans back to the bus and he returned to Janesville. On Tuesday of that week, I received the most beautiful bouquet of flowers at my office. We talked that night on the phone for over an hour. The chatting continued until two weeks later when I boarded a plane to Milwaukee to meet this wonderful man. The rest is history! We’ve been back and forth between New York City and Wisconsin for a year. Zac asked me to marry him in late August and I said “Yes!” Two weeks ago, we attended our “anniversary Packers game,” and watched the Saints go down!
I treasure that first photo where we are in full Packers gear and with tremendous smiles. I am lucky to have a picture with my future husband the first second that we met. Every night when I go to sleep, I say a little thank you to Clay Matthews, the Packers and every star that was aligned to get us together.