Welcome to Cheesehead Origins, an offseason series geared toward showcasing Packer fans with interesting fandom origin stories! CheeseheadTV is devoted to Packer fans worldwide, and we want to hear (and share) your stories.
Those of you who have followed Cheesehead TV’s various platforms for any amount of time are certainly familiar with this week’s featured guest.
Perri Goldstein is a co-host of the fantastic Pack’s What She Said here on CHTV’s network of podcast, and has developed a large following on Twitter over the last several years.
A diehard 27-year-old Packer fan, Perri has actually never lived in Wisconsin; she lives in New York City, where she works in healthcare (and is also a huge Mets fan, though she says the Packers are number one in her heart).
So when I reached out to her, I was interested, of course, in learning about how a woman in New York with no connection to the state of Wisconsin became a fan. I also wanted to hear what led to her taking the leap to get into podcasting and content creation–a leap that has resulted in some tremendous success.
For many of us, our fandom was influenced significantly by our parents, and the same is true for Perri. But like Perri herself, her dad did not have any connection to Green Bay or Wisconsin.
“My dad grew up on Long Island in New York, so we have no real ties to Wisconsin,” she said. “But when you’re eight years old and watching Bart Starr win Super Bowl I, the Ice Bowl and Super Bowl II it was impossible for him not to fall in love with the team.”
It was in that time that Perri’s father decided he was going to cheer for the Packers. And even throughout the tough couple decades that followed, his fandom never wavered.
When he became a father, he passed that fandom down to Perri and her sister.
“We really had no choice, we were always going to be Packer fans,” said Perri. “One time when I was young, probably eight or nine myself, my uncle was trying to teach me the ‘J-E-T’S JETS JETS JETS’ chant. My dad pulled me aside and said, ‘What do we say in this house?’ and I replied ‘Go Pack Go!’”
As Perri and her sister grew up they also grew to love the team just as much as their father.
“It’s brought he three of us even closer than we already are, which I think only reinforces our fandom further,” she said.
There have been many Packers-related moments in her life that Perri counts among her most precious memories.She specifically lists the Super Bowl win in 2010 and the Hail Mary in Detroit, which she got to watch with her family while home from college.
But for the most part, her favorite memories are found in the ordinary.
“[…On] Sunday afternoons… my dad and I would spend the day on the couch and he’d teach me the game,” she said. “I used to tell him how much I hated when the running back just ran into a pile of defensive linemen. I thought it was so stupid, why not just run around? He’d laugh and explain he strategy to me. To this day he still says ‘you hate that play’ whenever that happens. We also used to do our own touchdown celebrations for different players, like making ourselves fish for Jermichael Finley. Those are the things I remember most.”
Since Perri moved back to New York, she and her father have been able to spend every season opener together, something she looks forward to every year.
As a child, Perri did not really consider the fact that she would grow into as big of a diehard as she did. As such, she thinks her fandom bloomed a bit later than it did for most people.
“For one, growing up, girls weren’t welcome in football circles, so to speak,” she said. “If I ever tried to talk about the Packers at school or with guy friends I was laughed at, so I never really felt like I could be a huge fan except with my dad.”
When Perri went to college, she had to make a conscious decision to watch the games, as her father wasn’t there with her. It was then that she really realized just how much she loved football and wanted to watch.
It also kept her close to her dad while she was away for school.
“We started texting through games and still do to this day,” said Perri. “[We] text nonstop through every single game when we’re not together.”
Senior year in college marked a big shift in Perri’s life. Coming off a year of studying abroad, she struggled with re-acclimating to life on a college campus.
“For whatever reason, having the Packers to watch every week that fall really grounded me,” she said. “It eased my anxiety. They gave me something every week that brought me unconditional joy (it also helped that it was the Run the Table season).”
That season Perri started a Twitter account specifically to be able to follow Packers-related news, watch the post-game press conferences and become more informed as a fan.
“I had zero intention of ever even tweeting when I made it,” she said. “I just wanted it for information.”
Of course, as Perri said, she “couldn’t help” herself, and began getting plugged into conversations herself.
Even then, it took a few years before Perri decided she would start getting involved in the realm of podcasting. It just so happened that in 2019 she met CheeseheadTV co-founder Aaron Nagler through Packers fandom in New YorK City. He gave her an offer to do some work for CheeseheadTV.
“I thought maybe a weekly article, I’d start small,” she said. “Instead he introduced me to Maggie Loney and gave us the platform to start Pack’s What She Said!”
Maggie (coincidentally another one of the absolute best people on Twitter) turned out to be a perfect match for Perri. Perri had little to no following on Twitter at the time and had never done any kind of content work, but Maggie already had some experience and was able to do a lot to help the two create the structure for the show early on.
“We pretty quickly realized how well we got along and worked together and what the baseline of our show was going to be, which is to elevate women’s voices in sports,” she said. “Once we had that we knew we’d be able to hit the ground running.”
But three months after the show began, the world changed. The pandemic hit, and everyone was stuck at home.
One of the few positives that came out of the situation was Perri getting to know Maggie even better and for the two of them to devote more time to their show, growing their platform significantly.
The two spent a lot of time together virtually planning the show, interviewing guests and watching Packers film, and it had a significant impact on Perri.
“I have gained so many amazing friends and connections through the podcast and have had some incredible opportunities, which I am grateful for,” she said.
With a lull in the pandemic during the summer of 2021, Perri had the chance to make her very first trip to Green Bay and Lambeau Field for training camp.
“It was something I was hoping to do with my dad for the first time, since he’s never been, but the opportunity came up for Maggie and I to go to training camp, so I saw the stadium for the first time with her,” she said. “And that was so special. Maggie and I aren’t just podcast co-hosts but she has become one of my closest and dearest friends since Pack’s What She Said started. And of course our love for this team is what bonded us initially, so to see the football Mecca for the first time and have her understand why I was so emotional and teary-eyed was amazing.”
That week marked more than just a first visit to that “football Mecca” for Perri. It was also a chance for her to finally meet many people she had spoken to via the Podcast and interacted with on Twitter.
“All the Packers content creators were there that week and we all got to be together in person for the first time,” she said. “That, to me, is what I’ll always remember about my first time in Green Bay, getting the chance to enjoy that very special place with people who I adore and have gotten so close with.”
Back in New York, Perri is fortunate in that she doesn’t find many obstacles to get to see the Packers play. She prioritizes seeing the Packers in any way she can, and all her friends know that Packers come first on football Sundays (and Mondays and Thursdays).
“Sometimes I’ll watch at bars with people, most of the time I watch at home,” she said. “Because New York attracts people from all over the country, most of my friends root for teams from all over, which is really fun.”
She has even had the opportunity to visit CheeseheadTV’s studio at LiveX to come in for a couple watch parties with Aaron and Corey Behnke, which she said has been a blast.
So what lies ahead for Perri? Expect to see her excitedly tweeting about the Packers this fall as always, and for more episodes of Pack’s What She Said. For now, she’s content taking it one day at a time.
“Maggie and I have always said we will do this for as long as it makes us happy; whatever comes from it, if anything, will always be secondary to that.”
Huge thanks to Perri Goldstein for taking part in this week’s edition of Cheesehead Origins! We’ve got three or four more of these columns left before training camp starts and HELLO WISCONSIN returns. Thank you to all for reading along!
Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.