Packers v. Vikings housemates share friendship, feuds

Tanya Marsh

Tanya Marsh

Dirty dishes, overflowing trashcans and empty rolls of toilet paper are the usual sources of tension between roommates. But for juniors Stefanie Fauth and Maggie Heiliger, the conflict is football.

“Football season is only half the year, so we have half of it to patch things up and get really close before football season starts again,” said Fauth, an English education major from Miller.

Fauth, a hardcore Vikings fan, and Heiliger, a nut for the Packers, are in their second year as roommates, and they’re learning how to deal with their football rivalry effectively.

Before moving in together, the girls knew how each felt about their team. But they didn’t realize just how heated things would become.

“My freshman year I went home a lot on weekends when the games were, so the rivalry didn’t really appear until after we moved in together [sophomore year],” Faust said. “It was kind of a surprise.”

It wasn’t just surprising – “it was tense,” Faust said.

To combat the tension the girls experienced last year, they’ve changed some things this year.

“We had to make a pact because last year got ugly,” Faust said.

Heiliger explained, “We can’t make fun of each other. It takes a lot of self-restraint.”

Faust said though rationally discussing the games is allowed, the two have agreed to “not calling the other one when their team loses; not laughing when discussing the football team; never to taunt or say derogatory things.”

“We should have signed a contract,” said Heiliger, a sociology major from Sibley, Iowa.

Another thing that keeps the roommate relationship smoother is avoiding watching the games together.

“We haven’t watched a lot of them together,” Faust said.

“Because we almost kill each other,” Heiliger finished.

Together or separately, though, game day is a big deal.

Heiliger said, “Game day we have all our crap out and we go absolutely crazy. People don’t like to watch games with us.”

Faust agreed, commenting that third roommate Hannah Stapleton, who remains neutral in the football feud, says the screaming “hurts her eardrums.”

She blames most of the decibels on Heiliger.

“She yells more than my dad, and my dog hides behind the chair when he yells,” Faust said. “Maggie is such a girly-girl – except for football. Then you’d swear she was a guy.”

Heiliger doesn’t take offense to this but agrees – “I can argue with all the boys,” she said.

Beyond the yelling, Heiliger takes out her couch-side aggression in other ways. Heiliger’s Packers paraphernalia includes a blanket, a pillow, a mug, a candle and dozens of little Packers helmets. But one item stands out from the rest: a foam brick of cheese.

“It’s a stress reliever,” she said. “Throw the cheese brick at the TV.”

Apparently the lighter-weight cheese is a good idea for Heiliger.

“Last year I broke [former roommate] Mariah’s picture frames throwing my pillow at the TV. I was pretty mad,” she said.

Much of Heiliger’s Packers gear came as gifts, and Faust is hoping to expand her somewhat limited collection of Vikings gear this Christmas.

“For Christmas, I have ‘anything Vikings’ on my list,” she said.

She’s off to a good start.

“My mom buys me an ornament every year, and this year she got me this,” Faust said, displaying a football-shaped ornament with the Vikings insignia on it.

“We have a Packers tree at my house,” countered Heiliger.

Despite the deep-seated rivalry, Faust actually credits Heiliger for introducing her to football.

“I started watching it with her [my freshman year], and suddenly it made sense from a woman’s point of view,” Faust said.

Because of this introduction to football, Faust said, “I almost fell into the Packers trap, and then I realized I would have gotten shot. My dad’s a diehard Vikings fan.”

Heiliger’s team devotion can also be traced back to her father.

“My dad was a Packers fan and around seventh grade I started watching it, just to argue with all the boys at school who loved the Vikings,” she said.

And with this year’s pact in place, both girls are learning to love living with someone with a shared passion.

“She’s never as excited as when she’s watching a game,” Faust said, smiling at Heiliger. “And that’s how it should be. You need something you can be excited about where it doesn’t really matter if you win or lose.”

#1.885613:3512047730.jpg:Rivals.jpg:Stefanie Faust, left, and Maggie Heiliger remain friends and roommates despite their love of the Vikings and Packers, respectively.:Mike Carlson