GREEN BAY, Wisc. – Green Bay may be a bit of a drive from our area, probably like 10 hours by car, quicker if you don’t make any extended stops.
But it is worth it for anyone who is a football fan, or sports fan in general.
Aside from the tradition of the Packers franchise, this organization gets it. Players and fans interact every day before and after practice. The traditional bike ride by the players to and from practice is a great way for the franchise to reach out to its fans, young and old alike.
“They like their Packers here, that’s for sure,” said Quinten Rollins, the Wilmington High School and Miami of Ohio graduate who was drafted in the second round this spring by the Packers.
The kids get a thrilling walk alongside a professional football player from their favorite franchise. The parents and grandparents are scurrying to get photos from all angles.
The Hall of Fame, located in the Lambeau Field Atrium, has been closed since late 2013 and won’t open until late August but certainly would be a must-see on a visit to Green Bay.
The Green Bay area itself has a population of a little over 100,000 but seems much smaller than that. Things around the stadium were a only slightly hectic on the first day of practice and I can only imagine what it would be like on game day.
Lake Michigan is not that far away, so charter fishing and a great view of one of the Great Lakes is well within reach.
There are plenty of interesting things to do other than football, or after football. The area has an old-town feel to it, with blue-collar work places all around. Plus, not unexpectedly, there’s green and yellow everywhere. There is no doubt this is Packer Country.
Even if you weren’t a Packers fan, it’s worth a couple days as a sports or football fan.
• Sarah Quick is the assistant director of public relations for the Packers. She is a native of Middletown, Ohio, and graduated from Ursuline Academy in Cincinnati.
Her brother Matt Koenig is the current athletic director at Bethel-Tate High School. Koenig was previously the AD at Kings High School, during a time when Wilmington High School played in the Fort Ancient Valley Conference.
• The ushers who work the practice area around Lambeau Field are amazing. Every time I passed an usher, they said “Hi or Hello” or had some kind of greeting.
I’ve seen ushers who never uttered a good word to anyone, so this was refreshing.
• The first two days of practice for the Packers were contested in shorts and helmets, no other pads. The first day of practice in full pads is scheduled for Saturday.
“Players look different in pads,” said head coach Mike McCarthy. “Padded practice is the closest you can get to a game.”
Mark Huber may be reached at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports.