Editor's note: We, the Green Bay Gazette, received several letters from Louisiana State University fans who were impressed by the hospitality they received from Wisconsin residents. Here are some of the letters.
A PATTERN OF HOSPITALITY
To the people of Green Bay and Appleton as well as the Badger fans we encountered along the way, thank you for making our trip to the LSU-Wisconsin game a wonderful experience despite the outcome of the game.
A little over a year ago, my son told me he was taking me to the LSU-Wisconsin game at Lambeau Field. I was absolutely thrilled and looked forward to the game. In addition to going to the game, it afforded me the opportunity to return to Wisconsin where both of my parents were from. My father was from Kenosha and graduated from Lawrence College where he also met my mother who was from Seymour.
As the game drew closer, my brother, who lives outside of Atlanta, decided to join us. He drove to Collierville, Tenn., and picked up my son and together they drove to DeWitt, Mich., to pick me up. And off to the game we went wearing our LSU shirts and flying our LSU flags on the car. We got to visit Seymour and visit with the people who had purchased my grandparents’ home there and the hardware store my grandfather had owned. Along the way, we stopped and purchased the obligatory cheese and chocolate. Along the way, everyone was extremely kind to us.
We stayed at a Holiday Inn in Appleton and the staff as well as every Wisconsin fan we ran into welcomed us. Almost to a person they asked, “Are you enjoying your visit?” and “Is everyone treating you well?” We soon began to see a trend developing. Friday night we went to Mark’s East in Appleton for the fish fry and as you would expect, we were the only three people in a packed restaurant and bar wearing LSU shirts. The people were wonderful, both the staff and the patrons. There was some good-natured football bantering, but once again everyone hoped we were enjoying our visit and questioned whether we were being treated well and many inquired about the flooding in Louisiana. By this time, we were sure that we had discovered a pattern.
The next day we attended “College GameDay” and found ourselves surrounded by a sea of red. Again, we were treated fabulously by the people around us even though we were there to support the opposition. This same pattern of behavior continued all the way up to game time. My brother had purchased a ticket from the Wisconsin Athletic Ticket Office when they went on sale to the general public so he was completely surrounded by Badgers fans. My son and I had tickets on the east side of the stadium which was primarily LSU fans. My brother’s experience in the stadium was great. There was of course some good-natured ribbing, but he was treated with courtesy and respect by everyone around him. My brother encountered the only obnoxious person that any of us encountered after the game and that person was dispatched by a young man who just a few years earlier was the quarterback for Lawrence College, to whom we extend our thanks.
That night we dined out and the people we encountered were once again outstanding. At the hotel, Wisconsin fans would say “good game” and ‘hope you enjoyed your visit.” In short, the pattern continued.
I do not remember traveling anywhere and being treated any better than we were by the great people of Wisconsin. Maybe it was partially due to the fact that it wasn’t a conference game or the fact that it wasn’t Da Bears, but whatever it was, we greatly appreciated the hospitality we were shown in Wisconsin.
Bill Thiel, Bob Thiel, Jim Thiel
LSU FANS WERE THE REAL WINNERS
A funny thing happened this past weekend — no not the upset of Wisconsin over LSU at Lambeau Field. Two cultures met each other and became new best friends in a matter of days.
As Louisiana football fans, my wife and I have travelled the country supporting our team. We are very used to the rough and tumble of the SEC schools and the personal affronts that greet the fans and teams in our conference.
But last Thursday (Sept. 1), from the moment we stepped off the plane to the music of a band playing “Fighting Tigers” to every stop anywhere in Green Bay over the next 72 hours, we were greeted warmly with "welcome to Green Bay" or "we’re so happy you’re here.”
There were so many personal experiences; from the staff at the Tundra Lodge wearing LSU shirts and smiles throughout our stay, to greetings and salutations from EVERY member of the Lambeau Field staff, to the friendliness of EVERY fan who greeted us, thanked us and praised our team and the players. We have to especially thank Mary from the Tundra Lodge who took us to Lambeau in her private car instead of the cab we had ordered. And to Leonard from Lamers bus service who went out of his way to help us back to our hotel. These are just two personal examples of hundreds of similar stories shared on our plane ride home.
Maybe all the doomsday activity we read about in the papers or the violence we see on television or just the day-to-day survival have left us numb. Certainly, those of us in the Baton Rouge area have had our share of these feelings in the past few months.
Every member of the Green Bay community showed us the warmth, the friendship and the love that is usually found within our state’s borders … but seldom on other school’s campuses, especially on a football weekend.
Maybe for those of us who were lucky enough to come to Green Bay last weekend and share our culture with y’all were the real winners.
Anne and David Calhoun, Lafayette, La.
TRIP EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS
As a longtime LSU fan my recent trip as a football fan to your area was very disappointing, but as a tourist and a football history buff was spectacular! Our charter flight was met by a band playing LSU music (despite being dressed in red) and the mayor and a tourism official giving out beads and water.
Lambeau Field did not meet my expectations but greatly exceeded them. The people of Green Bay were very friendly and helpful. Will look forward to returning to your great city. Many thanks for a great experience.
Richard Field, Centreville, Miss.
TREATED WITH KINDNESS, RESPECT
My son and I would like to thank the Badgers fans, citizens of Green Bay and Wisconsin for “Southern” hospitality at its grandest.
From the moment we landed Friday, to the Bucky block party at Titletown Brewery and at last the game, we were treated with the utmost respect and kindness. During our visit we were asked numerous times if we were enjoying ourselves, you cannot ask for anything better than that.
Once again, thank you for our wonderful and memorable time. We shall never forget.
Good luck in winning the Big Ten, we will definitely be pulling for you.
Lessley Deshotel, Monroe, La.