In a few weeks much of the world will be glued to images of men in helmets and tight pants kicking around an egg-shaped ball. You may know a ton of Super Bowl trivia, as well as all of the arcane rules of football, but how about this word right in front of you: Packers. “Packers” doesn’t inspire the same associations of strength or speed as Steelers. The origin of the Green Bay team’s name reveals quite a bit about the history of the sport.

“Steelers” not only evokes the strength of steel and inadvertently summons up associations of stealing the ball, but describes Pittsburgh’s former industrial core and identity as a steel-producing behemoth. “Packers” actually serves the same function for the livelihood of Green Bay, Wisconsin that “Steelers” does for Pittsburgh. Instead of steel, we’re talking cattle and meat packing.

In 1919, the founders of the Green Bay team secured funding for their uniforms from the Indian Packing Company, a business specializing in canned meat. Even after the company was bought by another meat processor, the team title remained. It is the oldest team name still used in the NFL.

(Here’s a football question: What’s the mystery around the phrase “Hut, hut, hike?” Get some background, here.)

Pack” probably derives from pac, ”bundle,” a word used by Flemish wool traders in the 11th century. Some early instances of the term suggest a connection to “pact,” as in a secret arrangement. Considering that a football team could be considered a “bundle” (of players) engaging in a secret arrangement (of strategy on the field), perhaps the implicit associations of “packers” aren’t so strange after all.

One story of a word and its origin that is definitely strange is the source of the term “soccer.” Why is that sport called football in much of the world and soccer in the rest? Find out here.

Tails from the heart

The Roanoke Times (Roanoke, VA) September 11, 2009 | Laurie Edwards “We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.” The opening line to Irving Townsend’s poem “Fragile Circle” relates the self-imposed pain pet owners inflict by taking in animals that have a life expectancy much shorter than their own. It’s a circle Bruce Coston not only lives in, but has worked in as a veterinarian for the past 21 years.

“My whole professional life is spent within that fragile circle,” said Coston. “My job, as I see it, is standing within that circle, trying to mend the fibers of that circle so people have more time with their pets.” A part-time lake resident since 2003, he has written a book to give readers a peek into the life of a veterinarian. “Ask the Animals,” released on Sept. 1, shares whimsical and tragic stories about life in the exam rooms and life at home with his own pets.

The book started as a column in the “Bryce Mountain Courier,” a small newspaper outside of Woodstock, where Coston has owned Seven Bends Veterinary Hospital since 1992.

“I was just writing how-to stories — how to prevent heartworm disease, how to get rid of fleas,” said Coston. “They were awful and there was just nothing to it.” Then one week, he found himself pressed against the deadline with no how-to ideas. So Coston did the only thing he could think of — he wrote a story about something that had happened at his practice. web site how to get rid of fleas in your house

The reader response was tremendous.

“Then I thought, that’s a whole lot easier,” said Coston. “Those things happen every day.” With no end to material, he related stories every month about veterinary life for about four years. Readers suggested he compile stories into a book.

“I took some time and expanded those stories,” said Coston. “It took about a year to do that.” Much of the stories were written on the porch of the Stripers Landing condominium Coston shares with wife Cynthia. Once complete, he started shopping around for a publisher. What followed was a series of false starts and 33 rejection letters.

Then two years ago, a chance meeting with another author opened the door and Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, purchased the manuscript.

But as editors are wont to do, they requested Coston rewrite some chapters. They also suggested he add more stories about himself. The stories follow Coston from a fresh-faced college student to a veteran of veterinary practice.

Amidst stories about the animals he treated at his office, the stories about his own pets include a squirrel he rehabilitated and released and the parakeet who hated it, a cat with a head injury abandoned at his practice and a dog who would break from his chains and travel about town.

These stories were added to breathe life into the veterinarian on the page and to make him relatable to the readers. Coston said there may have been too much of that, however.

” ‘Publishers Weekly’ just did a review and the only negative comment they made was too much about the vet, not enough about the pets,” said Coston. “I thought that was ironic.” “Ask the Animals” is available at major book stores and online. Coston said he’ll also distribute it to small shops around the lake. see here how to get rid of fleas in your house

Since their sons Jace and Tucker have started college, Coston and his wife spend about three weekends per month at the lake. But they’d like to spend more.

“I wouldn’t mind at all moving to the lake full time, practicing a few days a week in a local vet’s office and writing the rest of the time,” said Coston.

If “Ask the Animals” sells well, Coston said there’s no end to material he could use to compile another book. And knowing that there are countless pet owners out there who love animals as much as he does, Coston said he hopes that will be the case.

“I think that for pet lovers, this will really speak to them. This will really touch the place in their hearts where their pets live,” said Coston. “And those are the people I want to read the book.

“Those people who don’t have a place in their hearts for their pets, they’re not going to read the book, and if they do, they won’t get it.” For more information or for purchase locations, visit www.brucecoston.com.

LAURIE EDWARDS | Laker Weekly 721.4675 (ext. 406) Laurie Edwards

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  1. bears fan -  January 12, 2013 - 11:47 am

    named after the Indian Packing company because they paid for the uniforms. Indian Packing then got bought out by ACME Packing Co.

  2. Elyn4ftball -  December 7, 2012 - 11:37 am

    Bret probably had a mid-life crises, but then , so did his fans-have a crises, I mean.

  3. Packfan360 -  September 30, 2012 - 2:05 am

    The canned meat company name was, Acme Meat Packing Co. And the full team names is The Green Bay Acme meat Packers! And a lot of football teams started with factory workers and such.

  4. Sweetchill -  May 28, 2012 - 6:38 pm

    also, if Farve stayed a Packer, Green Bay wouldnt have made it to Suber bowl XLV in the first place (let alone win it)

  5. Sweetchill -  May 28, 2012 - 6:36 pm

    A little bit of football trivia.

    If the USFL (another football league in the US) didnt fold in 1987, the Raiders would never had moved to Oakland in the first place? Theyd still be the L.A. Raiders to this day!

  6. Car Insurance Ratings -  April 8, 2011 - 4:19 pm

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  7. Big Ben is not a Raper! | Sweater Punch -  March 27, 2011 - 12:24 pm

    [...] all this being said, I am still picking the Green Bay “Canned Meat Packers” to win Super Bowl 45. These two teams seem to be as evenly matched as they come. The Packers are on [...]

  8. WillSmith -  February 15, 2011 - 2:15 pm

    UK7ZKH Hi! I’m just wondering if i can get in touch with you, since you have amazing content, and i’m thinking of running a couple co- projects! email me pls

  9. Kate -  February 10, 2011 - 10:02 am

    The Steelers are winning the Super Bowl next year! Just sayin… :)

  10. Pakrbakr12 -  February 4, 2011 - 12:37 am

    RICH, If you REALLY knew what what you were talking about, The Packers didn’t do Brett wrong. We were rabid Favre backers for many years. Brett has no one but himself to blame for what has happened to him. The last two years that he was on our Team he was anything but a “team” player. He didn’t want to come to training camp, he didn’t want to sleep in a dorm like everyone else on the team and he didn’t want to shower with the rest of the guys. A-Rod sat on the bench for three seasons waiting for his turn to play, always in Brett’s shadow. Finally,after all his waffling about whether or not he was going to play another season and saying his heart just wasn’t in it was BS so he was going to retire, was a sad day for Packer Nation. OH WAIT…he retired, then un-retired. Wanted to come back to GB but Thompson said No. He wanted to get revenge by going to the VIKES, but couldn’t so he went to the Jets (again he wasn’t a team player). He retired again, OH WAIT, he went to the enemy Vikings to get his revenge against Thompson. I guess he didn’t THINK of how THAT would hurt us Fans, but I don’t think he cared. Now he claims he’s retiring for good, but I heard he’s now going to the BEARS!! OH MY!! Brett could have left GB with a beautiful legacy, instead that legacy is tarnished. Rothlisberger did his bench time for inappropriate behavior but #4 sat on the bench with an “INJURY????”. SURELY he didn’t want to admit he did anything wrong!! He was GREAT but he let that go to his head and now he is retiring after a losing season. Poor Brett

  11. ralph -  January 31, 2011 - 11:47 am

    Okay, sounds good to me.

    The Washington Redskins are named for a terrorist group. They were originally the Boston Redskins, and the redskins were the colonialists dressed as Indians at the Boston Tea party. They conducted politically motivated violence and blamed it on others. Now the football team located in the Nation’s Capital is named for them.

    When I learned that the new Baltimore franchise would be called The Ravens, I was concerned. Poe is buried in Baltimore where he died but he was originally from Richmond, Virginia and attended the University of Virginia. Richmond is a very conservative city, and when they learned Baltimore wanted to claim Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote grisly short stories and drank far too much, they were elated. Richmond is so conservative that they eshewed racial violence during Civil Rights because it is disorderly.

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