A very special ticket
By Greg Seubert
PRAY, Montana – Desmond and Christian Abel are only 4 years old, but they already know what it means to be a Green Bay Packers’ fan.
They’ll join family members and thousands of other Packer Backers at Lambeau Field this season thanks to a photo their mother snapped of them earlier this year.
Staci Abel submitted the photo of the boys wearing Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson jerseys to the Packers’ Ticket Takeover Contest. Abel, her husband Stan and the twins live in Montana, while Staci’s parents, Larry and Pat Krebs, live in Waupaca.
Not only will the photo of Desmond and Christian be on more than 80,000 tickets for the Packers’ Saturday, Dec. 24, matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, the Abels will receive tickets to the game, including hotel and flight accommodations.
“It happens to be on Dec. 24, so we’re going to have Christmas in Wisconsin,” Staci said. “My parents are very excited, because we don’t often travel for Christmas.”
“Proud and excited,” said Pat Krebs, who uses the Abels’ season tickets with her husband during the season. “We’re just filled with joy for them. They are so excited.”
The Krebs’ son, Todd, who lives in Michigan, also has season tickets and will bring his family to the game, too.
The photo shows Christian, sporting a Rodgers jersey, with his arm around his brother, who is wearing a Nelson jersey.
Staci captured the moment this spring while trying to come up with a photo for the contest.
“It was due at midnight on a Sunday,” she said. “I tried on Saturday and I had one boy cooperating and one not. I didn’t really have any pictures to enter so I tried again on Sunday. I was starting to lose daylight and starting to lose my patience with them, because they really weren’t cooperating.
“I told them we were done, they walked away and that’s when Christian put his arm around Desmond and they started talking,” she added. “That’s the picture I got.”
Staci entered the contest and the photo was picked as one of five finalists. Nearly 64,000 fans voted online for their favorite.
“I was pretty surprised, but I was even more surprised when I got the first e-mail saying we were one of the five finalists,” Staci said. “When I got the call that they won, I was quite surprised. It happened later in the day and they had told us they would be calling the winner that day. It was around 3 o’clock in Montana and by then, I didn’t think I would be getting the call.”
The twins will be mature enough by the time they attend their first Packers’ game.
“They’ll be five when they go to the game, so I think they’re at the age where they’ll be able to remember it,” Staci said. “They’re comprehending that they get to go to a game. I think what’s going to be huge for them is Lambeau Field itself because they’ve never seen a stadium that big. We have Montana State where we live (Bozeman), and we drive past the stadium every day because it’s near our house. A college stadium to them looks huge. Lambeau Field will be enormous.”
Staci and her family moved to Montana four years ago, and said the state is home to several Packers’ fans.
“Montana doesn’t have it own team,” she said. “We have Seattle’ (Seahawks) fans and Denver Broncos’ fans, but quite a few Packers fans.”
She sees Packers jerseys, bumper stickers and wheel covers from time to time.
“In the picture are the Green Bay Packers’ baseball caps that they wear quite a bit,” she said. “We get comments quite often. People walk by them and yell out, ‘Go, Pack, go.’ We flew to see my sister in California in May and they wore them to the airport. So many people would stop and say, ‘Hey, Packers’ fans.’
“We’re not giving up the hats,” she said. “We went somewhere and thought we lost one. We got out to the car and only had one hat. We found the other hat and now I’m almost afraid of them wearing their baseball hats.”
The Abels haven’t seen the actual ticket yet.
“What we would like to do is enlarge a photo of the ticket and frame it,” Staci said. “I especially want to get one for my brother, who’s a huge Packers’ fan. His basement is your typical Packers’ basement, all green and gold. Hopefully, we’ll get some tickets collected through word of mouth.”
The Abels have been waiting to take their sons to a game.
“I took my husband to a game before the boys were born and we actually got to go down on the field and hold a flag,” Staci said. “They sent out an e-mail to season ticket holders and we entered a lottery and got drawn. Now, I’m taking my boys and they’re on the tickets. I’m becoming quite lucky when I take my family there. It’s pretty incredible.”
Staci is looking forward to handing the tickets over as her family enters Lambeau Field.
“It’s going to be pretty surreal, because they’ve never been to a game,” she said. “For them to go to a game and be on the ticket is pretty cool.”
Greg Seubert is the sports editor of The Waupaca County Post, a Multi-Media Channels publication in Waupaca.