This article is one reason why I think Jason Wilde is one of the best sportswriters in America. No, that’s not hyperbole. He reports on the ride Ken DeBauche and Justin Beaver took together to Green Bay to try out for the Packers and even manages to work in the make of Beaver’s girlfriend’s car in the lede. Fantastic.
Riding shotgun in Justin Beaver’s girlfriend’s Mercury Mystique Thursday afternoon, Ken DeBauche found himself thinking about all the times he had made the very same drive between Madison and his hometown of Suamico — starting up on Highway 151, shortcutting on Highway 26 and finishing up on U.S. 41 — by himself over the years.
“I just told Justin, ‘I can’t even count the number of times I’ve done this,’ ” DeBauche said.
But this time, the drive was different. This time, it was a work trip.
The former University of Wisconsin punter was on his way to Friday’s opening practice of the Green Bay Packers’ post-draft rookie orientation camp. He signed with his hometown NFL team shortly after the draft ended on Sunday.
So while he knew all the ins and outs (“The the first thing I told Justin was not to go 1 mile an hour over 30 in Rosendale”) and was enjoying the company (“We thought we’d try to save a little gas money and car pool,” he said of Beaver, the former UW-Whitewater running back who will be trying out for the Packers today), DeBauche knew this was more than just a homecoming.
The details are so telling. These two young guys will be attending a tryout to play in the richest sport in the world. But things are so uncertain going in that they decide to carpool to save money. And DeBauche’s familiarity with the area conveys that the tryout for him is so much more than just another tryout. Really, you should read the whole thing.
For more on rookie orientation camp go here.