During a summer vacation in Wisconsin when I was 10 or 11, I convinced Mom and Grandma to stop the van in Green Bay so that I could see the Packers sweating through a training camp practice. But what really struck me wasn’t the practice, it was what happened after the practice: Local kids lined up on their bikes and waited for the players, who would hand the kids their helmets and hop on the bikes to ride back to the locker room, while the kids hustled to keep up alongside them. I hadn’t known until that day that it’s a longstanding tradition in Green Bay that the local kids get to interact with the players like that at training camp, but when I saw it my thought was that the kids in Green Bay are the luckiest kids on earth.
Packers receiver Greg Jennings says the players feel lucky, too.
In an interview on NBC SportsTalk, Jennings was asked about his favorite tradition about football in Green Bay, and he answered, “For me it probably is the bikes.”
“Just seeing how you can light up a kid’s day,” Jennings said. “You can impact a life in so many different ways, and you have a 300-plus pound lineman running up to a kid and saying, ‘I want your bike,’ that impression will go a long way and that’s a memory that will last him a lifetime.”
There’s no professional sports team in America that has a relationship with its community like the Packers have with Green Bay.