Incomplete Passes: Reflections on Life, Love, and Football
by Linda Lange
||August 19, 2011
Coming-of-age story with a twist. Four girls begin a lifelong friendship, inspired by Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers.
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In 1961, four girls united by their love for the Packers formed a lasting bond that would survive distance, marriage, divorce, careers, and motherhood. In this entertaining and often witty memoir, Linda Lange chronicles the years the infatuated teens followed their heroes around Green Bay and shares an intriguing glimpse into how the Packers helped all of them face their journeys through life with courage and humor -- even as Linda dives into a mid-life crisis that somehow results in the creation of a musical comedy.
The sobs exploded up from my gut, loud and wrenching and thoroughly undignified. I had never cried so hard. My current Packer favorite had just ordered me out of his life. It was the worst thing I'd experienced in my almost-seventeen years. I totally lost control. Finally, drained after a half-hour of weeping, I ventured out of the music practice room at Saint Norbert College and saw a host of concerned faces. Whoops -- wouldn't you think they'd make those practice rooms soundproof?
Today I see the player had justice on his side. (I'll call him Mr. Anonymous, since I view him as a private person. He was never a household name like Hornung or Starr, and unlike many retired players who go into broadcasting or front restaurants and car dealerships, Mr. A -- as far as I know -- has stayed out of the public eye.)
The term "stalker" wasn't part of the national vocabulary back then. And of course I meant Mr. A no harm. What pissed him off was that when I greeted him that night ... I had just stepped out of a bush.
Book Review of Incomplete Passes by Linda Lange (Green Bay Literature Examiner)
Growing up in the era of Vince Lombardi, Linda Lange has been a Packer fan for more than half of a century. Lange explains how, to her, being a Packer fan isn't just about football. It's about friendship, camaraderie, chasing famous football players, having crushes and growing up.
Incomplete Passesis a memoir that recounts Lange's youth in Green Bay in the 1960’s as she followed the Pack - from watching games on Sundays, to watching practice in the field, to wandering around town with her three girlfriends to watch for sightings of their heartthrobs. This love of the Packers has kept the four together over the years and they make a yearly pilgrimage back to the frozen tundra to catch at least one game a season.
As the four girls grew out of their awkward preteen years into high school students and then full-fledged adults, they continued chasing Packer players. The innocence of these girls combined with the situations they found themselves in makes for some pretty hilarious tales.
As a reflection on the past, Lange wrote Third and Long. Third and Long is a musical comedy about a middle aged woman wondering how her life would be different if she would have married her crush, a star football player, instead of the nice Jewish boy she married. Even though Third and Long was never produced, Lange enjoyed working on it and the idea for the memoir was born.
Lange acknowledges that she has changed many names throughout the memoir, names of her friends and names of certain Packers to keep anyone from getting too embarrassed about the events she shares. She claims her son is not named after a certain Packer (one she dubs 'Mr. A' for anonymous).
Lange and her three friends, Pam, Del and Carla, have drifted apart over the years but always come back together to support their team. Each woman has gone in a slightly different direction since becoming friends in the early 1960's, but each woman has been affected by the Packers.
This memoir will resonate with football lovers, anyone who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, history buffs, and anyone interested in local Wisconsin history. Basically, if you are a football lover, history enthusiast or memoir fanatic, you will enjoy Incomplete Passes. There are photographs from the time period of Packers, Lange and her friends, and the Green Bay area that are fun to see.
Incomplete Passes can be found at many of the local libraries including Brown County Library, Appleton Public Library, Kaukauna Public Library, Neenah Public Library and Menasha Public Library. More information on the book can be found on the Incomplete Passes website or Facebook page.
Rating for Incomplete Passes by Linda Lange:
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay history
Kristin Wilson, Green Bay Literature Examiner
Kristin Wilson, a graduate from UW-Oshkosh with a Bachelors in English, currently lives in Appleton. Kristin loves both classical and contemporary literature, as well as all things grammar related. She enjoys finding new books to read and discussing them with others.
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