Monday, August 1, 2011

Bicycles and the Packers

Below is a video that describes a long-time event that is one more link between the Green Bay Packers, their community and the beloved fan base - players riding children's bikes to practice.

My son got to experience it first hand as camp opened last Saturday night. I spent a couple of training camps at Green Bay as a little boy, but didn't bring my bike and just looked for autographs. But this time I encouraged my son to bring his and the opportunity was there with former Iowa Hawkeye, Bryan Bulaga.
 We took advantage of knowing some of the Packer personnel as well as Bryan. They made it happen for my son to offer the the bike to the second year offensive lineman. But the bike was too small for Bulaga and he walked along and talked to us as my son rode his bike in front. But the tradition for the little Packer fans grows stronger every year. Lined up inside a series of cattle gates, the players emerge from their locker room in Lambeau Field. Little boys and girls shout each player, respectfully by name. "Mr. Bulaga. Mr. Matthews!" And the players would look for a bike that would best fit their frame. Whether the player rides the bike with the owner on the back, or the owner walking along side carrying their helmet, each find much pleasure in the experience.
 But Bulaga walked along with my son leading the way. As I walked along I could hear many fans respectfully ask for autographs or pictures. But since Bryan was walking he couldn't afford to stop and sign or he would never reach the practice facility. I also could hear a few shout to Bryan, "Go Hawks," as one woman from Cedar Falls walked with us for a few steps hoping Bulaga would sign the football she brought with her. "Meet me at the gate and I'll get it signed," said Bryan.
But this is very organized. Packer security is very respectful to the young boys and girls while making sure the Packers get into the practice facility to start their session on time. Those same boys and girls park their bikes at the entrance of the fields waiting for the night to end and the Packers to ride back to the stadium.

video

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