By Julie Muhlstein Herald Columnist
Matt Mikulsky is 39. For most of his life, his name was on a waiting list. It moved up ever so slowly, until at last he struck gold.
Thanks to his father’s selfless act, the Lynnwood man is now a proud owner of Green Bay Packers season tickets, a three-game package.
I had no idea what a big deal that is until the Packers came to Seattle Monday — for that now infamous Seahawks game. On a pregame radio show, I heard about Packers fanatics who wait a lifetime to buy season tickets. Many never get the chance at a permanent seat in their beloved Lambeau Field.
In Green Bay, Wis., more than 100,000 names are now on the season-ticket wait list. Season tickets to Packers games have been sold out since 1960.
“My father never had tickets. That’s why he put us on the waiting list,” said Mikulsky, a native of Green Bay.
David Mikulsky had the foresight to do that when the last of his three sons was born. Matt Mikulsky’s younger brother, Joel, was put on the list at birth. His older brother, Michael, was 7, and Matt was 4 when their dad thought to give them a shot at what he never had.
“Folks coming off the list now have been on it about 30 years,” said Aaron Popkey, the Packers’ director of public affairs. Only about 100 names drop off the list each year, as most families pass tickets to the next generation.
“The Packers have two packages, a gold package and a green package,” said Mikulsky, who moved to the Seattle area 16 years ago and runs Chatter Creative, an advertising agency in Edmonds.
The coveted green package entitles a lucky cheesehead to buy season tickets to six Packers home games, plus one preseason game.
“Last year, I got lucky,” Mikulsky said. Every year, he would get a postcard letting him know his spot on the list. In 2011, he was told that if he wanted to sacrifice his chance for the green package, he could move way up the list for the three-game gold deal.
Mikulsky said the three-game package dates to when the Packers used to play a few games in the Milwaukee Brewers’ ballpark. Those tickets, once only for fans in Milwaukee, became the gold package Mikulsky bought for the first time this season.
He now has four seats in Lambeau Field for two home games and a preseason game. He paid a one-time seat fee, $2,400 for the four, and each game costs $72 per seat.
“I sacrificed to get my name up quicker,” he said. His older brother also got the three-game package, so the family has eight seats together.
Since getting the seats, he hasn’t yet been to a home Packers game, but has passed tickets to his parents, who still live in Green Bay. The Packers also allow season ticket holders to sell individual game tickets through the NFL.
Lambeau Field seats are so treasured that the Packers website has detailed policies for season-ticket inheritance.
“When people get divorced in Green Bay, one of the big sticking points is who gets the Packers tickets,” Mikulsky said. “My younger brother married into Packers tickets, his wife’s father had them.”
A Milwaukee man, quoted in a blog posted Thursday by Darren Rovell on the ESPN.com website, said that between 2005 and this year, his place on the list moved from 66,222 to 61,444. The man figured he would have to live to 117 to buy season tickets.
“It’s bigger than football. It’s a very emotional thing,” Mikulsky said.
With about 100,000 people, Green Bay is a tight-knit place where life centers around family, church and the Packers, Mikulsky said.
“Lambeau Field is one of the most wonderful sports venues I’ve ever seen,” Mikulsky said. He described a neighborhood of older homes where game-bound fans park on lawns before walking to the stadium. To him, the only Seattle sports experience that comes close is going by boat to UW Husky games.
Um, what about Monday’s Seahawks-Packers game?
“I was at that game,” Mikulsky said. After the controversial touchdown ruling gave Seattle a win, “all these people were pointing fingers at me.” For a Packers fan in a sea of people crazy for Seahawks, “it was like being thrown into a shark tank,” he said.
He’s ready to forget that nightmare in Seahawks blue. His birthright is green and gold — and it’s not just his.
Mikulsky and his wife Gretchen have a daughter. Little Nora is almost 2. No need to put her name on a list. Her future inheritance is in hand.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, firstname.lastname@example.org.