GREEN BAY — Ray and Marguerite (Mugs) Bachhuber were Green Bay Packers fans for years, so much so that one memory remains firmly etched into the minds of family members and friends alike.
“My husband was a huge sports fan,” said Mugs, who with Ray raised their family in Mayville. “He always watched when the Packers or Badgers were on and nobody walked in front of the TV. They got down on all fours and crawled across the carpet, or stayed on one side of the room rather than blocking his view.”
The kids understood, however, and are as dedicated fans as their parents. In fact, they suspect Ray has been watching sports in heaven since his death in 2010.
Ray was an attorney in Mayville for many years, and Mugs was more than busy raising eight children and involved in the Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts as a den mother. The Bachhubers were all an integral part of the community, with Ray serving as mayor and the children involved in sports, music, drama, Scouts and just about anything else that sparked their interest. As the children grew and moved away, the parents spent more time in Mugs’ hometown of Tomahawk and spent winters in Texas. Eventually they moved to Green Bay, and that is where Mugs, three of her children and a grandchild remain.
Recently, Marguerite was surprised to learn that daughter Jane had nominated her for membership in the Packers Fan Hall of Fame.
“I had no idea,” Marguerite said. “Of course, I never would have dreamed I’d have a chance of being chosen among the top 10. That’s out of thousands that were nominated, especially here in Green Bay. There are a lot of Packers backers up here. I’m just shocked by the whole thing. I’m 87 years old, for crying out loud.”
The Packers Fan Hall of Fame was established in 1998, and inducts one fan each year. Family members or friends nominate a fan with a 500-word essay, and 10 finalists are selected by a committee. The committee then has a 50 percent say in picking the winner, with the other 50 percent coming from a public online vote and a poll of previous inductees.
In addition to a spot in the Hall of Fame, the winner receives four club seats to a 2018 Packers home game, a road trip for two to a 2018 Packers away game, including game tickets, air fare and hotel accommodations, and a $500 Packers Pro Shop gift certificate.
The Bacchubers collected Packers gear for years. It got a little out of control when they moved to Green Bay, where every rummage sale had something of value from Titletown’s favorite team.
“There’s way more here than there ever was in Tomahawk or Texas,” Mugs said. “We’ve found so many treasures including Bart Starr stuff and Paul Hornung stuff and Brett Favre stuff: T-shirts and sweatshirts and oh my gosh. … I had no idea. And Ray was worse than me. When you’ve got two people so obsessed with this stuff, it’s really bad.
“Finally, after Ray passed away, it got to the point where I thought, ‘I’ve got to get a handle on this a little bit.’ My goal was not to throw it out, but to get it to fans who can wear it and enjoy it.”
Recently some collected gear has found new life decorating cars for parades, filling a recreation room at her grandson’s house and held in the arms of her friends and neighbors during games and happy hours at Woodside Assisted Living.
Those happy hours end with a song Mugs wrote to share their enthusiasm for their favorite team.
If you don’t know the words, never fear — they’re framed on the wall of the recreation room and go along with the tune, “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby.”
“I was coming back from Tomahawk and I was singing in the car,” Mugs said. “My mother was really good at singing songs and making up words for a tune. Suddently I thought, ‘We could have a Packer Backers song.’ I put my mind to it and came up with something.”
They sing, “We are Packer Backers, Woodside Packer Backers, we are Packer Backers now! We love Coach McCarthy, we love Aaron Rogers, we are Packer Backers now! By the way, we are from Green Bay, and we all have, one thing to say,” and ends with the refrain and a loud “Wow!”
It’s the last song of the gathering and has become a cherished tradition.
Her fandom doesn’t end there. When she heard of a football pool being organized at her complex, she jumped in and helped. She ran that pool for 10 years, and enjoyed every minute of it. It’s still going strong.
Recently when her friends and neighbors at Woodside Assisted Living posed for a group portrait, they all donned Packers sweaters, shirt and hats, and held Packers teddy bears, cereal boxes, flags and other items to show their true team allegiance. Mugs is standing at the back wearing a Packers sweatshirt, holding a Packers sign and an inflatable football decoration, wearing Packers beads and cheekily waving at her daughter taking a photo from a balcony above.
Some things are simply too good to part with, including the serape that son Andy found in Mexico, and the chunk of “frozen tundra” bought as a fundraiser for Lambeau Field improvements decades ago. Those things will stay, but other things have already found a new home.
“I gave a box of flags and banners and things to my grandson, so I have less than I had a while ago,” she said.
Still, there’s plenty of stuff that a true fan will continue to treasure, including holiday items paying homage to Rodgers, the team’s current MVP quarterback.
“Did I mention that I collect nutcrackers?” Mugs said. “I have two of them with number 12 on them, and they’re really, really cute if I say so myself.”