As one might expect from a red blooded American boy such as myself. I am a big fan of the funny shaped brown ball that gets throws around in the fall and winter. I played football in grade school, Junior High and High School. I even considered playing at the collegiate level, but thankfully realized that was a really stupid idea for a number of reasons. I left football behind and rediscovered another childhood love, the bicycle. I am much better for it 🙂 However, I still enjoy football as a spectator. Since I have been living in Seattle for nearly 15 years, I am a Seahawks fan. I was thrilled when they won the Superbowl in a terribly lopsided game against the hapless Denver Broncos. I hope that this year is as successful as last year. However, there is one team that has a tradition vastly superior to any other professional football team. That is the Green Bay Packers.
Kids and their parents show up early in advance of training camp practices with their bikes and wait for the players to arrive at about 7:30 am. When the players emerge, in full football regalia, they are met with dozens of kids and their bikes. They then choose a bike and ride it from the stadium across the street to the practice facility accompanied by the the bike’s owner. It sounds like a weird gimmick, but it dates back to the Vince Lombardi era in the 60’s and possibly beyond. For those who are unaware, Vince Lombardi is to the NFL what George Washington is to America. The Superbowl trophy is officially known as the Vince Lombardi trophy. Green Bay idolizes their Packers. It is truly a community team, the only publicly owned football team. This tradition is great for the community. It gets the kids up close to their idols, all you need is a bike. Obviously this is also great for cycling. A new bike lane was opened this year commemorating the route. With any luck this tradition will continue and grow to the community and region beyond. In my opinion the best part of the whole tradition is the site of massive professional football players struggling to ride child sized bicycles.