MORE CHEESE, PLEASE: Braving the cold weather, Green Bay Packers cheeseheads loyally cheer on their team.
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But I’ve grown weary of all this hostility. That is why, two weeks before the 2013 season opened (fittingly, it ends in late December with a Bears-Packers contest in Chicago), I find myself at Packers training camp, ready to make peace. I vow to no longer ridicule Packers fans’ eat-until-you-burst Friday-night fish fries, to not snicker when they speak glowingly of curling as an actual sport, to refrain from muttering “and bring a small plate of coronary disease” when I overhear them ordering the jumbo fried sampler platter for breakfast.

Now You Know: The Bears opened the 2006 season with a 26-0 win over the Packers, giving quarterback Brett Favre the only shutout loss of his career.

Yes, all that is out of my system. Starting now.

And even though my allegiance will always be to Da Bears, I wonder if a few days surrounded by everything Packers can make me root for the team. Just a little bit.

Cheryl Dorner certainly thinks so. A 41-year employee — and now manager — of the legendary Kroll’s West restaurant, just a chip-shot field goal from Lambeau, Cheryl relishes the Bears/Packers rivalry.

“We like the Bears fans,” she says. “In the past 15 or 20 years, they’ve become our buddies.”


To prove her point, Cheryl happily introduces me to a six-person crew of retirees and Kroll’s regulars, comfortably ensconced at one end of the restaurant’s massive bar at 3 p.m. on a Monday. Led by a man who identifies himself as “Junkyard Dog” Jim, the group has been cheering on the Packers for more than 400 years combined.