PackersHome name: Nonstopdrivel
Real name (first only): Rourke (I'm the only known American with this first name, so in reality, providing just my first name affords little actual privacy)
Current City: La Crosse, Wisconsin
Hometown: Born in Brookings, SD, but moved to La Crosse at 3 months of age
Occupation: Full-time student, part-time soldier and tutor
1) How did you choose your screen name?
I get this question a lot, and I can understand why. "Nonstop drivel" has unsavory connotations, and would seem to undermine my credibility, if not seem downright trollish, would it not? Well, it actually has an interesting back story.
Back in 1999, my freshman year of college(!), I was infatuated with a tall, rather beautiful classmate of mine, though I refused to admit it even to myself. At that time, I still lived with my parents, so they would pick me up from school every evening. One night, I found myself with little to do and a lot of spare time on my hands, so I ended up writing an email to this girl . . . then another . . . and yet another . . . until I had sent off something like five emails to the same girl in the space of less than an hour. In one of the emails, I said something like, "Rest assured, I don't have a crush on you" (ha!). Anyway, I signed the last the last email "Rourke ("Nonstop Drivel") Decker" as a self-deprecating joke.
A few days later, she mentioned that chatting on Yahoo! was really fun, and that I should really try it out. Vain as I was then of the infinitesimally small trace of American Indian blood running through my veins, I wanted to call myself "SittingBull," but of course, that screen name had probably been taken years before. So I tried a couple of other combinations, all of which were also in use, at which point she suggested I try the nickname I had given myself the other day in my email to her. I typed in "nonstopdrivel," and sure enough, it was available. I was delighted.
In the years since, I've used "nonstopdrivel" at scores, if not hundreds, of websites, and to my endless astonishment, not once has it ever been taken (except by me, those few times I'd forgotten that I had already subscribed to a site).
So, since "nonstopdrivel" has been my alterego for the better part of a decade, it was only natural I used it when I stumbled upon PackersHome.com.
2) Could you tell us a little about where you grew up and about your family?
I grew up on the south side of La Crosse, WI, a small town of 51,000 on the Mississippi River, bordering Minnesota. I was the oldest of 10 kids (4 boys, 6 girls) born to a die-hard Lutheran couple. I attended private schools until second grade, from which point I was homeschooled through high school. My father is a mechanical engineer; my mother has a Masters of Education in counseling but has been home with the kids for many years. She also currently serves on City Council.
3) Did you play in any sports or where you involved with any High School clubs and such?
Because we didn't have access to school sports, we participated in non-scholastic track meets, cross-country races, and road races.
4) What is your fondest memory of your teenage years?
My teenage years are all a blur now, but the one that sticks out in my memory was being the keynote speaker at a fundraising dinner during a state convention of the Constitution Party of Wisconsin and being warmly applauded afterward. I also presented an address at a statewide homeschool graduation ceremony and had the audience rolling in the aisles with laughter.
5) What was your first job?
My first job out of high school was as an emergency room admissions clerk at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center. I became an EMT-B in the spring of 2002. I enlisted as a medic in the United States Army my junior year of college (2002), did a couple of tours in Iraq, got off active duty in May 2007, and have been a full-time returning student since. I currently serve as the Returning Adult Students Organization (RASO) Student Senator for my university.
6) What lead to your dedicated following of the Packers?
My reasons for following the Packers were largely fortuitous. I was raised without television, so I didn't have a chance to follow the Packers through childhood. I do remember my father taking me to Rocky Rococo's to watch the NFC Championship the year the Packers lost to the 49ers (1995?). The following year, my brother and I were home alone one afternoon, and we turned on the radio and happened to catch the NFC Championship game between the Packers and the Panthers. It was Jim Irwin who captured my imagination. I remember him mentioning how Reggie White was on the sidelines in tears after their victory, and from that point on, I was hooked. My parents let us watch the Super Bowl in a motel room, and we got to see the thrilling victory.
From that point on, I followed the Packers surreptitiously, taking the radio down to my basement bedroom on gameday and listening with the volume barely perceptible -- always afraid I was about to get caught. We ended up listening to the Super Bowl against the Broncos on the radio in the car; for whatever reason, our parents didn't take us to a hotel that year.
Given the way I discovered the Packers, perhaps it's only natural that I now watch most of the games online instead of on TV.
7) Could you tell us one of your favorite memories of the Packers?
Without question, it's Super Bowl XXXI. Favre running in the quarterback sneak for a touchdown . . . Desmond Howard's 99-yard return for a touchdown . . . Favre running down the field, helmet in hand, after tossing a touchdown pass to Andre Rison . . . Reggie White pumping his fist in triumph after setting the Super Bowl record for sacks . . . and of course Jim Irwin's emotional "And the Lombardi Trophy is coming home to Green Bay!" . . . all are etched forever in my memory.
As I said before, it was Jim Irwin (and to a lesser extent, Max McGee) who captured my youthful imagination. Without him, I don't know if I would have latched onto the Packers as I did. So I remember his retirement speech vividly. It choked me up; I felt as though I were losing a best friend. Thankfully, Wayne Larrivee has stepped in and performed an admirable job; they couldn't have picked a better successor, in my opinion.
8) How did you find the PackersHome and what keeps you active on the site?
I was watching a Packers game on another Justin.tv feed last September, and it kept locking up because too many viewers were choking the bandwidth. Some wag came into the feed chat room and mentioned the PackersHome feed, even handing out the access code. I tried it out and got hooked.
I continue to post here because it's far and away the most open-minded, articulate Packers forum I've discovered so far. I was disillusioned with PackersNews.com, which is overrun with trolls and demagogues. This site is a breath of fresh air.
Being promoted to Moderator hasn't dampened my enthusiasm either. (Thanks, Zero2Cool.) :D
9) What other sports teams do you follow?
Honestly, I'd have to say I'm only truly a fan of the Green Bay Packers. I don't follow any sports besides the NFL with much interest. But as HoustonMatt pointed out in his interview, the primary legitimate reason for being a fan is geographical, so I do listen to Bucks and Brewers games when I happen to catch their games on the radio, but I'm rather apathetic overall, since they've mostly sucked for decades. I also owe my allegiance to the Badgers, but mostly to hate on them for their seemingly inevitable late-season collapses.
10) When youre not on PackersHome what could you likely be found doing with your spare time?
Reading. Studying (ha, as if!). Spending, ah, quality time with my wife. Playing with my twin sons. Watching sports. Entertaining friends. Perusing the internet.
11) If you could have one moment being part of the Packer organization, what would it be?
I would love to return a Super Bowl kickoff for a touchdown.
12) How many trips have you made to Lambeau?
My brother once won a trip to the Don Hutson Training Center for some kick-punt-pass clinic, but I never made it inside Lambeau Field itself. I almost bought some tickets to the Lions game this year; unfortunately, the scheduling gods intervened. I hope some day to see it!
13) What is your worst fear?
Prison, without question. Incarceration has always been a deep-rooted paranoia of mine, but it was only reinforced by serving as a prison medic over in Iraq for nearly 18 months. Even worse, I was stuck for a year working Iso, where I saw how easily mental collapses ensue during solitary confinement. I came away with admiration for the prisoners who were able to maintain their sense of peace during confinement; I don't think I could do it. If I knew for sure I was about to be sent to prison, I'm convinced I would off myself.
14) What type of hobbies do you enjoy?
Reading, writing, weightlifting, competitive sports, flirting with girls, wine and beer tastings (I've become something of a connoisseur).
15) What's your favorite food?
My wife is weary of me clamoring for pizza -- even more so that we now have 2 two-year-olds who are even more fanatical about it than I am. I'm a big fan of Italian food in general, though.
16) Where are some of the places you've been, and where are some of your favorites?
Coming from a family of 10 kids, I didn't get to travel as much as a lot of other young people. I've seen most of the states in some small measure, however. I spent my childhood and teenage years hating winter and wanting to live somewhere warm. Then I lived for a few years in North Carolina while stationed at Fort Bragg -- and hated it more than I could possibly have imagined. Here's the thing about places with no cold winter: it's almost impossible to control the bugs. So I'm back in Wisconsin, at least until I graduate.
Until I joined the army, I'd never been outside the United States. Sine then, I've seen a good chunk of Iraq and Kuwait; visited Qatar a couple of times. I've seen airports in Iceland, Ireland, Romania, and Germany en route to or from the sand box, but that's it. "Join the army -- see the world"? Don't believe a word of it.
17) What is one thing you've always wanted to do, but haven't done yet in your lifetime?
Go to Lambeau. Finish my screenplay.
18) If you could live anywhere where would it be?
At the moment, I'm leaning toward Chicago. I have friends there, and the girls are amazing. On the other hand, Houston, where my best friend lives, has a great medical infrastructure and low cost of living; she's always trying to persuade me to relocate. We'll see.
I'm not the kind of person who develops emotional roots in any one place. My dream is to have enough money that I can go wherever I want on a temporary basis, while always having a place to come home to and regroup. Where that place would be isn't terribly important to me.
19) Name your favorite 5 Packers all time and explain the reason for one of them.
Brett Favre - hooked me on the Packers with his swashbuckling swagger and derringdo
Reggie White - likewise; his performance in Super Bowl XXXI was one for the ages
Aaron Rodgers - the future of this organization
20) Up to now, what is your favorite PackersHome memory or feature?
I would have to say it's the conversation I had with Zero2Cool in which he asked me to serve as Moderator. ;)
21) PM and post the next person to be interviewed.
I would say fellow Moderator dfosterf, but he's so popular that someone is bound to pick him anyway, so I'm going to go with all_about_da_packers, who is one of the most insightful, reasoned, articulate posters on this site. I love reading his stuff, even when I disagree with him.
Thanks for the nomination, HoustonMatt. This was a lot of fun!