On May 4th, 2022 my dad turned 66 years old. I wanted to do something special for him not only because he’s the best dad a kid could ask for, but because #66 Ray Nitchske is one of his favorite players of all time. So here’s to you dad:
I spent nearly my whole life growing up in Superior, Wisconsin. If you didn’t know, Superior is located on the most North Western boarder of Wisconsin that you can get. Much of the city is on Lake Superior, and a bridge is all that separates us from Minnesota.
My whole life I grew up an avid Wisconsin Sports fan, and some of my earliest memories are why. Dating back to my elementary age days, my family would take the boat out on Lake Superior weekly. We had the routine down pat. Up early in the morning to get ready, stop at the gas station on the top of the hill for corndogs, water, and gas, and then make our way down the hill to the boat landing. We had a timeline to meet to ensure we got to the beach before the game started.
My dad would always let me get out and signal to him, helping to back the boat into the water. Once the boat was in, we took off. The beach was never more than 10-20 minutes away from where the boat landing was. We’d beach the boat in the shallow water and start setting up. One of the first things we’d always do is set up the fire so we can cook the hotdogs over the open flame.
The next (and maybe most important) step was to set up the radio. The Packers started at noon on Sundays, Badgers typically 11 on Saturdays. I spent my childhood listening to Wayne Larrivee and Larry McCarren announce Packers games, and Matt Lepay announce Badgers games… and it was AWESOME. That is how my fandom started; me and my dad listening to Packers and Badgers football on the beach, and I wouldn’t ever change it.
66 Years For #66
My dad was born in 1956, Ray Nitchske played for the Packers from 1958-1972. The very early stages of my dad’s life were spent enjoying championship Packers football, and watching Ray Nitchske break NFL offenses. Nitchske finished his career as one of the greatest linebackers of all-time. Just SOME of his accomplishments are:
- 5x NFL Champion
- 2x Super Bowl Champion
- 2x First Team All-Pro
- 5x Second Team All-Pro
- NFL’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
- NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
- 1960s NFL All-Decade Team
- NFL Hall Of Fame
- Green Bay Packers Hall Of Fame
- #66 Packers Jersey Number Retired
Ray Nitchske was an absolute monster in an extremely physical sport that, at the time, had little to no rules on protecting its players. This year of my dad’s life will be dedicated to Nitchske, and it’s easy to see why.
I love you dad! Thank you for being the reason I found what I wanted to be passionate about for the rest of my life!