BY RICH PALZEWIC
Mosinee High School junior Jayson Goetz wanted to honor his two grandpas that passed away in 2017, so he came up with a brilliant way to do that.
Goetz went to his junior prom all decked out in a Green Bay Packers suit – complete with a green jacket, gold pants and a bowtie. His attire that night definitely made a splash, but it was more than just wanting to stick out in the crowd.
“First off, I didn’t want to go to the prom looking like everyone else, so I wanted to find something different,” said the 17-year-old Goetz, who participates in football, track and basketball for the Indians. “As we were looking for ideas, I saw something that was similar to this idea but yet different. I saw the Packers suit and really loved it. Combine that with the fact that I just lost both of my grandpas – who were huge Packer fans – and it made sense. I really hadn’t had a chance to honor them prior to this the way I wanted to, so I thought this would be a perfect way.”
Goetz’s mom Michele ordered the suit online for the special occasion.
The relationship that Goetz had with both grandpas was very unique and he cherished his time with both of them – watching games together or just hanging out.
“My grandpa Mike (Goetz) was my dad’s dad,” he said. “I had a really good relationship with him because my grandma on that side died really early, so he was alone for quite a while. He had a camper up north in the Minocqua area, so almost every weekend in the summer when I was younger we would head up there to visit him. He was a planner, so we always went to sporting events together, too.”
A lasting memory for Goetz when remembering Mike was watching the Packers/Cowboys game Jan. 15, 2017, when Mason Crosby kicked a game-winning 51-yard field goal with just seconds remaining to help the Packers advance to the NFC Championship game the next week. The two watched the exciting game while Mike, who was 75 when he passed, was in hospice; he would pass away two weeks later from a bone disease.
“It’s a memory that I won’t forget,” Goetz said. “I can’t think of a more perfect way for it to end. His death kind of came out of nowhere and hit us hard.”
His other grandpa, Phil Riedel, would pass away about six months after Mike did at the age of 76.
“I was very close to both of my grandpas, but I would say I was closer to my grandpa Phil,” said Goetz, who has one older brother. “He would take me out all summer or winter and we’d go fishing, which was our favorite thing to do together besides talk about sports. He also babysat me growing up, so we had a great relationship from a young age. He had chronic Lyme’s Disease – he had some good days, some bad days and some worse than others.”
Goetz noted that his two grandpas and his family would watch every Thanksgiving game together and several other ones throughout the year as well.
“My grandpa Phil actually took me to my first Packer game when I was about 8 or 9,” he said. “I’ve gone to games since and hope to get back there again soon. I’m a big Packer fan myself. I love supporting all the teams from Wisconsin.”
Fast forward to April 2018. Goetz’s parents – and aunt – obviously knew about his plan for prom, as did two friends of his … but other than that, nobody knew about him wearing the Packers suit.
“Both of my friends we told gave me some smiles about it and thought it was pretty cool that I was doing this,” said Goetz, who went to the prom with a group of friends. “The reaction was very good – better than I thought it would be. When we first walked in the door, Greg Jensen, the high school football coach, was taking tickets. He used to play for the Packers (in 1987). He was the first person who saw me when I walked through that door. I think that was the happiest I’ve ever seen him with me!”
Goetz noted that he got a little ribbing from people in attendance at the prom but nothing terrible. There were a few head shakes and smiles, but no one said anything negative directly to him about his choice of formal wear.
The uniqueness of such a colorful and meaningful suit won’t soon be forgotten, but that doesn’t mean that Goetz plans to get rid of it.
“I’m definitely going to keep it,” he added. “I bet I can find multiple other uses for it. I’ve got a couple of other ideas for it – maybe as a Halloween costume or something, but it will definitely be put to good use.”