Players riding bikes to and from practice during Packers Training Camp is one of the greatest traditions in the NFL.
First instituted by Vince Lombardi, the thought was that this would bring the players and fans closer. Embracing the team concept that Lombardi emphasized on the playing field, this would also enforce the team concept to the Packer faithful. Without the support of the fans, the team would not exist. Without the team, fans would be forced to cheer for another team, one that didn’t reside in their backyards. They were united as one.
It was a stroke of genius by Lombardi, and has since become a tradition unlike any other.
As a result, there are countless stories about the impact of a player riding a fan’s bike. Memories that last a lifetime for the person because a Packer picked their bike to ride to practice. Jogging alongside the player, carrying their helmet, and all the while thinking about the stories they can tell their children about their experience at Packers Training Camp. That is what makes this tradition so great.
A few months ago, one of our loyal readers shared her children’s experiences during Training Camp. I’m going to let her tell her story in her words.
When K first started riding with Donny Barclay, he immediately liked him because he would TALK to K and wanted to know about him. About the 3rd time they rode together, he asked K how he got there everyday. K said his mom brought him. Donny asked if I was there because he would like to meet me. Alot of the guys ride with the same kid and really never get to know them, or their families. We were very impressed that Donny really cared! After that, K asked me if we could have him over to dinner. So we had Donny, his now wife Brea, his brother Beau, and Brad Jones over for a big family dinner. We had SO much fun. Since then we have gotten to be really close with them.Going back a few years, I will never forget Donald Driver. His first year here in GB, he was always the last one back up to the locker room because he would take his time and talk to everyone and sign for everyone. My now almost 21 yr old had a little Longaberger basket she would collect autographs on. She was very little so my brother had her on his shoulders. Donald looked up at the long haired toothless little girl and said,”A tisket, a tasket, let me sign that basket!” He then took a picture with her. Fast forward to the summer she was 18. She had 9 hour spine surgery in early July so at training camp she was in a wheelchair and would go watch. She took that old picture of her and Donald with. A friend told him about her and her picture. He signed it for her. Made her summer!The impact they have the ability to make on a child is astounding!
John Rehor is a writer at PackersTalk.com.
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio. ---------------------
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio.You can follow John on twitter at jrehor or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.