I found myself growing increasingly angry Tuesday at the condescension and elitist commentary connected with the opening of the Green Bay Packers' latest stock offering.
There was some rich irony in hearing financial experts -- you know, the guys who nearly took down the world a few years ago with greed and incompetence -- decry the "scam" of selling non-voting stock that won't appreciate or offer dividends. There was also far too much snickering about the motives of those who plunked down $250 as what officially amounts to a corporate contribution.
So I put out a Twitter request to those who own or just purchased Packers stock: Why did you do it?
The response was overwhelming, instructive and at times quite moving.
No one was thick enough to view it as investing in traditional shares of a normal company. Instead, many saw it as a strengthening of their commitment to the biggest influence on life in the Green Bay area. They're happy to contribute to the renovation of Lambeau Field, nobly exempting local citizens who don't want or can't afford to contribute via tax hikes, and will value the accompanying stock certificate as a souvenir that exemplifies their part in the most unique professional sports team in the country.
I've republished portions of as many responses as I can below. You don't have to agree with their decisions, but do us all a favor and stop dictating how people should spend their money. And while you're at it, let's stop legislating when we think pride is appropriate. One person's cynicism is another's hope.
Josh of Edgewater, Colo.: One of the dumbest financial decisions of my life but I don't care. It really isn't about the money. It is such a unique situation with the Packers that goes to the entire ethos of the team. One of the happiest days of my life!
Norm: Why Packer stock? We understand the cultural and economic value the Packers have to Green Bay, and want to support the organization. It's fun to paint Packer fans as being stupid in relation to this issue, but that is a really jaded view of the world.
Jackie of Madison, Wis.: I can't wait to display my certificate in my living room and explain to my kids how, in a world where corporate profit is paramount, a small town in Wisconsin is able to maintain a World Champion football team.
Michael of Buffalo Grove, Ill.: The Packers have been one of my pride and joys throughout my life. Now is time for me to support them when they need it.
Evan of St. Louis: It's hard to put into words the reason why I bought Packer stock, but I guess it's the idea of actually being able to own a piece of your team. It shows a devotion to the team that goes beyond simply purchasing season tickets or merchandise. It's the fulfillment of a dream, and it's something that I can pass down to my children, and on down the line. … I guess it's hard to understand unless you have that passion for your team.
Robert of Waukesha, Wis.: This is a way to feel "closer" to the organization. Some people get tattoos. Some people buy posters. I purchased "stock." I know it's not real stock in the conventional sense, more like a $200/$250 donation. But I'm really OK with it. For one, it ensures that this team will never threaten to move to Los Angeles. But, there's a connection there, and the stock certificate is another way to say it. All I can say is, if you don't get it, don't get it.
Theodore of Andover, Minn.: I bought Packer Stock for two reasons. 1.) Principle. I'm supporting the franchise and their stadium voluntarily. Not through taxes foisted upon me by a private owner through public means. 2.) Pride in ownership. I'm a fan of the franchise. Now I'm a part of it, even though it's just on paper.
Jessica of Iowa: I jumped at this opportunity because I feel it is a way to show my loyalty. I'm not able to get to many games, so this is my way of showing support. You may not get anything "solid" in return for buying stock, but pride will work just fine for me.
Trent of Tacoma, Wash.: We see it in as an unselfish investment (you get almost nothing in return) in a great organization that has brought my family a lot of enjoyment over the years. Why not own a piece of something you love?
Ken of Jackson, Tenn.: I'm getting Packers stock as a unique souvenir/collectible. Folks regularly spend several hundred dollars on jerseys and other team paraphernalia/apparel. Spending $250 on a share of stock is something fun to have, and a unique claim as a fan. It goes directly to the team I love and is a fun memento.
Jack of Jacksonville, Fla.: We can help the team while also getting better access for ourselves (not much, but a little) … Having ownership of something, no matter how small, ties you to it in a different way. What better thing for a fan to have than that?
Bo of Appleton, Wis.: Because we have a chance to be a part of something we've dreamed of since birth. There is no one else in the world to say they own their favorite team. That's why, when I receive my share later this month, it will hang in my living room for the rest of my life.
Chris of Elgin, Ill. : Being a shareholder is the ultimate show of support for the team and a tribute to those first shareholders who truly saved the team from folding. And when Lambeau Field is repeatedly voted as the best stadium in sports, I feel pride that I was a small part of helping to make that happen. … We are a unique, special, and awesome group that has played an important role in the most storied franchise in sports.