Packergeek goes to training camp

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In all my years as a big-time Packer fan, I had never been to training camp…until last Friday (8/7). On our way up to Door County, I persuaded my wife to allow a brief detour to Lambeau. I have a homing device or something that just pulls me toward Lambeau whenever I’m in northeastern WI. Anyway, I knew we would be arriving right toward the end of the practice (I’d checked the schedule) and I kept telling my wife that my 2 year old would go nuts. He already loves Lambeau and all things Packers mostly because he’s my son and has no choice, but also because of a kids book we often read called Go Pack Go (http://www.amazon.com/Go-Pack-Aimee-Aryal/dp/1932888942) – Anyway, I was acting as though making this stop was for purely altruistic reasons when in reality, I was also pumped to see it myself.

We arrived shortly before practice ended (though practice was indoors due to the rain) and we positioned ourselves by the kids with the bikes to see some of the players. It was very cool. My son and I found a spot where few others were standing and he extended his arm to give high fives to all the players. A two-year-old slapping five with Breno Giacomini is something to see. My son was super excited and really, I was too – lots of fun. The best part I thought was that the kids weren’t the only ones smiling – lots of the players (Jennings, Driver especially) were hamming it up and having a good time with it.

Afterward, I called Brother Steve so my son could tell Uncle Steve what he saw. Steve picked up and I just said, “Dude, Ben wants to tell you what he saw”. Ben said: “big, huge, huge, giant, big strong guys”. Steve, was a bit concerned about what Ben had seen until Ben then blurted out “Donald Driver”. When he realized where we’d been, brother Steve, far from the homeland, was quite jealous.

But what a neat experience. And man was it easy to just park, walk across the street and slap high fives with some of the best-known athletes around. This experience made me think of something that I couldn’t shake until we got to Door County: there is a reason training camp is popular, the Packers are popular and the Lambeau mystique is alive and well…the team just does it right and it has for years. We should all feel lucky to be a real part of this organization. Sure not everything the team has done has been smart, but there is a constant undercurrent of class that keeps this organization separate from many others.

(Hopefully I can get some of the pictures we took up soon…)

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8 Responses to “Packergeek goes to training camp”

  1. Cate Says:

    It is something special, isn’t it. The way this state, and Green Bay especially, embraces this team, well, it warms my heart.

    Next time take the stadium tour; it’s pretty impressive!

  2. Trav Says:

    Andy – Nice story. Got a good laugh out of the call to Steve. I still want to do the same with my son as he is starting to get more and more into not just playing sports, but also being a spectator and all the surroundings of it. I can only imagine his reaction to practice, Lambeau, etc. based on his jaw dropping reaction to Miller Park two years ago.

    On a separate topic: a career that never really got a chance to start:

    http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/53508277.html

  3. Trav Says:

    Also, nice to see that things in Raider Nation are nice and cordial:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=4405681

    While I will be the first to admit there is a long list of co-workers I would like to do the same to, the fact that things actually came to blows is amazing.

  4. awhayes Says:

    Trav – you guys have to get there at some point, it’s just fun. Your son would love it I’m sure. Best part is that we got in and out of there in a short time – really easy.

    thanks for the Harrell link – I’ll need to post something on that. Oakland is a pathetic franchise.

  5. Trav Says:

    Wheels are in motion already for a road trip before soccer gets into full swing in the next 2 weeks. You motivated me….

    Having gone to Norberts, I am very familar with the area and can hit up some of the old haunts on campus for some food, etc.

    Best part about training camp was when I was up there before classes had started. The players lived in the dorm (VMC) directly across the street from our house. Some of the best nights my senior year were on the front porch: having a few beers with some rookie o-linemen who were new to the area (they were later cut), talking with Robert Brooks and Sanjay Beach over a bottle of Jack Daniels during a party on our front lawn, watching Sterling Sharpe hit on my roommate’s girlfriend (while my roommate was standing right there. Best part of the story: he’s from Chicago and is a diehard Bears fan. We still give him crap to this day about it).

    Wow, I miss college now…

  6. Cindy V Says:

    I love going to training camp. I’ve been attending for several years now–always picking up a training camp t-shirt to add to the collection of Packer wear. One year I was even allowed to watch practice inside the Hutson Center. I’m anxious to see the new set up this year. I’ll be making the trek on August 25th.

  7. 56Coop Says:

    Damn you guys are lucky to be so close

  8. awhayes Says:

    Trav – sounds like you have some stories that might be best published on Packergeeks! (Let me know if you have any entertaining accounts you’d like me to throw up there.) I forgot you went to St. Norbert’s – that would have been a great place to go to college for many reasons – Packers boozing on the front lawn with you chief among them.

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