First days are always a little awkward, but this wasn't your typical first day because this wasn't your typical workplace I was entering. This was Lambeau Field, a football Fatima, if you please, and as I was walking up the steps toward the statues of Vince Lombardi and Curly Lambeau that guard the entrance to their 72,928-seat memorial, I felt my heart beat faster. Did I mention that the team that plays inside Curly's and Coach Lombardi's house is the reigning Super Bowl champion?
This was intimidating stuff, folks. I kind of felt Curly was pointing as if to say, "Get outta here, pal," but, of course, it's just a statue and Curly points like that for everybody that walks between his and Coach Lombardi's, so, I soaked in the emotion of the moment, steeled myself and entered the third and likely final phase of my life as a football writer.
Hi, folks, I'm the new "Editor/Producer, Packers Media Group." As a rather comely female Packers fan said to me moments after the team's win in Super Bowl XLV: "Pinch me so I know it's real."
Tuesday was my first day and it was, of course, all about new things: a new parking lot, new office, new coffee machine, new bathroom, new computer, new codes and security procedures and lots and lots of new faces. That's always the toughest part because you know you won't remember one person's name one minute after you've been introduced to them.
First days were a lot easier when they truly were my first days: They gave you a desk, a typewriter and a stack of typing paper. The most demanding task you faced was cleaning up the ham and cheese mess the desk's previous tenant left in the top-right drawer.
In those days, all the men seemed to be named John and all the women were Mary. You'd get a Joe, a Bill, a Bob and you'd meet a few Sues and a Betty. Tuesday, I met my first-ever LaFawn.
I also couldn't help but notice that I have ties older than most of the people I met and I think I detected a collective giggle when the IT girl with the cute smile delivered my Blackberry. Turning it on won't be a problem because I can't even turn it off.
I did my best to hide my terrible Pittsburgh accent, but I heard it rear its ugly head a few times and I know that as I drop my guard the problem will become more pronounced, especially considering that the Wisconsin accent is the antithesis, the absolute counter culture, to the affliction of the tongue I possess.
Anyhow, I reported back to work for day two and I began the day by penning these words to you because, after all, the Packers aren't paying me to recite in alphabetical order the names of my co-workers; they're paying me to write for you.
Let's talk about that, please.
I'm going to begin my work on packers.com by launching, in a very humble way, a column I did for jaguars.com entitled "Ask Vic." It's a mailbag Q&A jaguars.com readers came to enjoy and it developed a rather robust and loyal following during its 10-year run.
The rules are simple: You ask a question and if that question is selected to be answered, it and the answer will appear in "Ask Vic" on packers.com. We'll identify you only by your first name and hometown.
My promise to you, just as it was to jaguars.com readers, is that I will read every question submitted. Obviously, I won't answer them all, but I will read, in some part, every question I receive. Your effort is deserving of mine.
You may ask any question on any subject. If there's something you wanna say, say it. I'm likely to select questions that are topical – next week I'll be at the scouting combine so that'll likely be the topic of next week's columns – but offbeat questions often capture my fancy. I also love football history. Hey, it's one of the reasons I'm here.
Here's what I don't want: venom. I invite playfulness, but leave that double-chinstrap-pull bravado for the message boards, please. I want readers who can give a shot and take a shot, but do each with a smile. Hey, let's have some fun, huh?
Some years ago I had a reader from Thousand Oaks, Calif., rip into me. I mean the guy was really angry at me and the mailbag had been getting a little too edgy for the column's good in recent days so I decided to cut off a couple of the guy's oaks and from that point on he was identified in the column as having been from 998 Oaks, Calif., if you know what I mean. It was all in fun, of course.
Well, he resurfaced for my "Ask Vic" farewell tour on jaguars.com recently and wrote of how he had continued to read the column every day and loved it, and it was a proud moment for me and the column because it was the perfect example of what the column is intended to be: a passionate, emotional and sometimes edgy exchange between fans and a sportswriter who owns old ties and loves to talk, write and debate football, but we never, ever lose our respect for each other.
Did I mention that we had an "Ask Vic" golf tournament in Jacksonville? Yeah, filled it up every year. "Ask Vic" truly became a family.
Having said all of that, it's now time to launch "Ask Vic" on packers.com. We'll start slow, and then the next day we'll let it rip.