For the tens of thousands of animals from around the U.S. who followed the bright star in the sky that led them to Tundra Fest tailgate at Lambeau Field in Green Bay – the birthplace of football – it was a mixed blessing.
On the one hand, the sheep, cows, camels, and whatnot got to feel they became part of a movement bigger than themselves, pulled by something spiritual and emotionally elevating, and that soothed their souls.
On the other hand, when they arrived they had to come to terms with the fact that many of them would be slaughtered by the dozens of butchers standing around with sharp knives.
After being assassinated publicly, their bodies would be hauled off, in assembly-line fashion, and entrusted into the caring hands of George Foreman Senior, who had grills hotter than the sun.
But it was good for the animals while it lasted.
The former heavyweight boxing champion had quite a to-do list: Cooking meat for the five million people attending the event designed to lather up the crowd before Sunday night’s NFC title game.
It was going to be an all-time historic battle between the Green Bay Packers, winners of 13 pro football titles – the most in pro football history — and Tom Brady, the only player to have won six Super Bowl rings.
Tundra Fest had a supernatural feel to it as if being at the cradle of football made everyone feel as if they were little babies lying in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes, about to change the course of human history forever.
It was happy hour. Everyone drank one beverage: Dark Helmet Schwartzbier from the Titletown Brewery. Everyone munched on one snack: cheese curds that had a squeaky taste and a sound that, when chewed on, like two balloons trying to make out.
“Hurry up, butchers,” says George. “The crowd is out of control. We’ve got hundreds of thousands of people to feed this afternoon. Tundra Fest attendance is making Sports Gras and SportStock, making those events look like Tuesday afternoon cocktail parties at Susie’s apartment. It’s hard to keep up there’re so many people not to mention thousands of animals. What a mob scene.”
At the next tent, Elton John sings “we’re gonna kill a fatted calf tonight so stick around” – a line from his hit “Benny and the Jets.”
The meat turned into the overriding Tundra Fest theme. One tent over, Joey Chestnut warms up for the world’s biggest bratwurst eating contest by housing down 20 hot dogs.
Chestnut sports a decent eating resume which has Las Vegas oddsmakers making him the favorite: 13 straight victories in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest highlighted by a record 75 wieners in 10 minutes last year. In 2018 he also downed 257 Hostess Donuts in 6 minutes. Five years earlier he devoured 121 Twinkies in 6 minutes.
“I’m gonna cram more brats down my pie hole than you, Chestnut,” says Charles Barkley, now pumped up to 369 pounds. “I’m the round mound of rebound. I ate three pickle sandwiches earlier this week and I don’t even like pickles.”
John Madden’s the third contestant.
“I mean, competing against Joey Chestnut in a brat-eating contest, this is just about everything anyone could ever wanna do, and it’s Brett Favre who brought us here,” said Madden. “I bet Brett Favre could eat 375 bratwursts in 10 minutes if he wanted to be ‘cuz he’s Brett Favre.”
The rules of the contest: see how many bratwursts you can eat in 10 minutes.
“I’m going for 85,” says Chestnut. “Feeling called by a force greater than myself here in the birthplace of football and our Lord Jesus Christ. To me eating is religious.”
At the next tent Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers hosts a game of “Jeopardy.” The contestants include Ryan Fitzpatrick, who graduated at the top of his high school class, graduated from Harvard, posted a near-perfect score on the NFL’s Wonderlic IQ test, and has learned 8 different NFL offenses in his 11 years in the league. He also teaches people how to solve the Rubiks Cube puzzle in under a minute.
Other contestants include Bill Walton, Dennis Rodman, Jethro Hillbillie, Clubber Lang, and Forrest Gump.
“Fitz is gonna win that,” says Stephan A. “Don’t need to waste my time watchin’ that.”
Romantic controversy brews in the Tom Brady supermodel tent. Danica Patrick, who has been dating Rodgers these past few weeks after a falling out with Brett Favre, finds herself wanting to caress Brady’s shoulders like the other 17 supermodels are doing as he watches film of the Packers defense on 20-foot flatscreens.
“I like you, Tom,” she says. “Don’t tell Aaron but I’m rooting for you to win on Sunday. Call me after the game and I’ll ride with you wherever you wanna take me.”
“Yeah, I’m the GOAT,” he says. “I can see how you feel that way. Aaron’s not the GOAT and I’m gonna prove that to everybody on Sunday.”
Bill Walton scratches himself from the Jeopardy game because he notices a tent with a Grateful Dead bus in it. There he sees Cheese and Chong, Michael Phelps, and Ricky Williams.
“Hey guys, I mean this is the greatest day of our lives,” says Walton. “We’re reliving Woodstock and talking about SportStock and Sports Gras here at Tundra Fest. We’ve got Cheech and Chong. We are all being hippies again. The Green Bay sky is blue, the animals are getting slaughtered. I mean what a day to be alive feeling the spirituality and togetherness and the sea of humanity drenching our souls, quenching our collective thirsts. It’s like a communal baptism and we’re all being reborn into something else bigger and better than we ever could have before had we not come here today to be together.”
Walton then notices a scene that makes him even more taken in by the moment. There’s a tent with Mary and Joseph in it and the baby Jesus lying in the manager beside them. Next to the tent is a cross like the one Jesus died on several thousand years ago.
“I’m thinking the Packers are thinking of nailing Brady to the cross after they beat him on Sunday, and then we all watch Brady rise from the dead and ascend into Heaven,” said Walton. “It will be like watching Lucy float up into the sky with her diamonds on. I mean if that’s not something to get high about, I don’t know what is.”
Feeling spiritually moved by Walton’s soliloquy, this band then cranked out this song from one tent over:
To be continued…
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