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What Do The Green Bay Packers and Bicycles Have in Common?

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This is a departure from my normal posts, but I just had to share a heartwarming experience I had last week.

The Green Bay Packers have an awesome long-standing tradition that began under Vince Lombardi’s leadership. During Packers training camp, players ride children’s bikes from the players’ locker room to the practice field . . . and back after practice. Chosen children get to carry the player’s helmet.

Last Saturday was the 13th annual Packers Family Night Game. With $5.00 tickets and a full day of activities topped off with fireworks after the game, Family Night draws a lot of families to Lambeau Field. This year’s event sold out with more than 63,000 attending.

Many of those families showed up at Friday night’s practice. They swarmed the path from the locker room to the practice field.

About an hour before practice, kids begin lining up outside the locker room with their bikes. That night, our son was in the group waiting for the players to arrive, hoping he’d get picked.

Green Bay Packers Training Camp Practice

We were in town visiting family. A good friend hooked us up with a bike and helped our son find his spot in the queue.

We tried to guard his heart about getting chosen by one of the players. Some of the guys develop a relationship with a specific child, and ride that child’s bike to and from every training camp practice.

Our friend’s son and daughter are biking buddies with Donny Barclay and Brad Jones.. They’re both down-to-earth, great guys who have hung out with their family outside of practice too. 

Don Barclay, Green Bay Packers

Donny Barclay

 Because of these relationships, we told our son not to expect to be picked. He just needed to soak in the moment and enjoy being part of the process.

Our family found a spot and camped out behind the fence.

I kept thinking of my son . . . hoping he’d get chosen.

The players arrive . . . 

Green Bay Packers

Matthew Mulligan – Tight End

Talking to the kids . . .

Green Bay Packer Training Camp Practice

Sam Barrington

On girl’s bikes . . . a real man!

Breen Bay Packer Training Camp Practice

Evan Dietrich-Smith

On tiny bikes . . .

Green Bay Packer Training Camp Practice

Brad Jones

 

And teeny-tiny bikes . . .

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On Razors . . .

Green Bay Packer Training Camp Practice

Randall Cobb

With kids riding pegs on the back

Clay Matthews - Green Bay Packer Training Camp

Clay Matthews

Kids running alongside . . .

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Carrying helmets almost as big as they are . . .

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Rollerblading kids . . .

Green Bay Packer Training Camp Practice

Angelo Pease

High-fiving the owners . . . (Packers are owned by the fans)

Green Bay Packer Training Camp Practice

Then into view comes . . . our son! Yippee!

Green Bay Packer Training Camp Practice

Running beside Davon House . . . glowing from the inside out. I could hug Davon for choosing him!

Green Bay Packer Training Camp Practice

Two knee injuries . . . and his knees are screaming. But look at that uncontainable, uncontrollable smile on his face!

Davon talked to him all the way . . . asked our son questions about himself and signed an autograph for him later. He told him if he came back to another practice, he’d ride with him again.

The Packers have fought a lot of tough battles on the field, but what I witnessed that night made them heroes in my eyes. Any man who can humble himself to uplift a child and make him/her feel special is a real man . . . the kind of man our world needs more of. 

The Green Bay Packers and bicycles have kids in common . . . and it’s a beautiful thing.

In a culture where children are often mistreated, used, and neglected, the sight I saw at the Packers training camp was so encouraging and touched my heart in the deepest places.

These big, bad, tough men gave this momma another reason to love the Green Bay Packers.

Their behavior that night reminds me of another man I know. His name is Jesus Christ. In a culture where children were treated as second-class citizens, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me . . .” (Luke 18:16). I can admire and respect a man like that.

A video of another training camp practice:

Video of Packers riding bikes to practice

Are you a Packer fan? Why?

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Thanks for coming by. It’s always good to have you here!

Lisa

8 Comments

  1. Joe Siccardi says:

    Great job. Kudos to the Packers and the kids. Go Pack!

  2. Jess says:

    You hit the nail on the head… these guys are great and to keep riding bikes…. really a cool thing! EDS #62 (pictured above) has been riding my youngest son’s bike for the past 3 years…. and as seen…. has been riding it tiny and all! What a trooper! My son absolutely LOVES going to practice to see EDS and run along side him carrying his helmet and gloves. Big THANKS to EDS who instead of picking another child’s bike when practice got done early and my child was not around, walked my son’s bike up the rode until he found my son, who was in tears thinking he would not see EDS and give Evan a birthday treat he worked so hard on(cut out cookies decorated with #62 on the jersey by himself) and was excited to give EDS his cookies!

  3. Stacie Mason says:

    I was just trying to google when this annual event takes place, and your blog post came up. Oh my goodness, as a die-hard Packer fan, this post just made my day. What a memory! Thanks for sharing!!!!!

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