The Great Divide

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers surveys the playing field. (Photo courtesy of Evan Siegle/Green Bay Packers)

A number of years ago while waiting in line at a Houghton fast food restaurant, my eye was drawn to several colorful professional sports banners hanging from the ceiling. On display was a red and blue banner for the Detroit Pistons, one of navy blue and orange for the Detroit Tigers, and a red and white banner for the Detroit Red Wings. But, there was no Honolulu blue and silver banner for the Detroit Lions. Instead was a green and gold Packers banner. I understood the display of the Packers banner in this location halfway up Keweenaw Peninsula, but it seemed inconsistent in the presence of three Detroit team banners.

During the course of my life, I have traveled the Upper Peninsula from Ironwood in the west to Drummond Island at the U.P.’s most easterly tip. As I stopped at restaurants and pubs in nearly every city and town above the Mackinac Bridge, I found more frequent displays of Packers paraphernalia in the western counties of the U.P., while I saw more Lion’s regalia in the eastern counties.

Obvious, you might say; the western U.P. is closer to Green Bay, while the eastern U.P. is closer to Detroit. In fact, St. Ignace, in predominantly “Lions Country,” lies just at the north end of the Mackinac Bridge…


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