The Annual Bike Ride is a Green Bay Packers Tradition

One of the most enduring, and endearing, of the Green Bay Packers’ traditions is the annual training camp bike ride.

Begun in the Vince Lombardi days, and held on the first day of training camp, local kids line up outside the practice area with their bicycles in the hope that a Packer player will choose them and their bicycle, for a traditional ride to the stadium. The kids come along for the ride, either getting a “seater,” or walking/jogging beside their player. Fans lined the streets collecting high-fives and making the kids feel even more special. It’s an incredible grassroots community event, and truly illustrates the unique community-based that is the foundation of the Packers.

The event has even led to some enduring relationships, with some players choosing the same child every year for the bike ride, and extending that into home visits and phone calls.

The video above shows the bike right after the 2013 training camp. As you can see, some of the kids and their bikes, are very small which makes that a lot of fun as the players pedal or push their bikes while still wearing their cleats. I haven’t seen a player on a tricycle yet, but some of the bikes aren’t much bigger!

A Storage Shed is a Must for Wisconsin Sports Enthusiasts

wood shed plans, 1300You can never have enough storage space, and once your basement and attic fill up with sports equipment, and your garage is so full that you can longer fit a car inside, the next step is to build an outdoor storage building or shed. That way, you can put your car back in your garage. The time and aggravation you will save in not having to scrape off your windshield on our cold Wisconsin winters will be well worth the effort you put into building a storage shed.

You’re probably wondering how to build a storage shed. If that’s the case, what you need are a good set of shed plans. A set of storage shed plans can often be purchased at a building supply store, along with the lumber that you need. However, if you want some variety and flexibility in the type of storage structure you want, then you should probably buy a package of plans. There are some good packages available online, including MyShedPlans. This product includes thousands of different wood shed plans, plus a number of plans in which other building products can be used.

Some of the shed blueprints are more detailed than others. Personally, I’d recommend you use a highly detailed plan. That way you can follow the recommended sequence of building and you’ll also receive a materials purchase list. It will make it much easier to produce the type of shed that you can be proud of. And more importantly, a shed that will keep your sports equipment, bikes, trikes, skis, windsurfers, snowmobiles and scooters safe from thieves and the nasty Wisconsin weather.

The Packers Versus Peterson Equals a Conflicted Green Bay Fan

I was a highly conflicted Green Bay Packers fan last Sunday, as I watched my beloved Packers play the Minnesota Vikings in Minnesota. The Packers needed a win for a bye week and a much needed period of rest – rest that would have allowed its banged-up roster to heal. On the other hand, Green Bay faced Adrian Peterson, a running back who has defied the odds this year in returning early from a catastrophic knee injury exactly one year ago, to achieve one of the most epic seasons of any running back in history. In fact, he was only 208 yards away from breaking the single-season rushing record and putting in the absolutely most epic season in history.

So, I found myself hoping that Peterson would run roughshod over the Packers defense, while also hoping that Green Bay would mount enough offense to win the game. As a fan, it was an exhausting task, as I was forced to cheer for both team’s offense. My typical potato chip and beer breaks were few and far between.

Peterson Too Good For His Own Good

At the end, it was Peterson’s own brilliance that may have cost him the record. With time running down and the score tied, he hammered a 27 yard run to the left to set up a 29 yard field goal with seconds remaining. Without that run, the Vikings were left with a 56-yarder – possible for kicker Blair Walsh, but not a sure thing. A missed field goal and the game would have gone into overtime, and Peterson would undoubtedly have tacked on more than those nine yards.

Playoff Matchup – Same Old Same Old?

Minnesota’s win guaranteed them a playoff spot against – surprise, surprise – the Packers – next week in Green Bay Wisconsin. With all record attempts now moot, I won’t be cheering for Peterson in that encounter. The Packers now have one week to make enough defensive adjustments to stop Minnesota’s running attack. And to correct the stupid defensive interference calls that arguably cost them two touchdowns. Truly – it it really necessary to grab a running back’s jersey at the line of scrimmage. That’s the kind of mistake the Pack cannot make next week.

On the positive side, the game will be played in the friendly confines of Lambeau field – an outdoor stadium exposed to the best that a Wisconsin winter can brew up. The Vikings, who play indoors, may not adapt to elements as well as Green Bay. And it takes the play away from the loud pro-Minnesota crowd that populates the Vikings’ stadium. The noise was so loud that it caused communication problems, and an atypical delay-of-game penalty for the Packers in the first half. You might argue that it also cost the Packers a touchdown on a third-down lame-duck pass that fell into Viking’s hands at the end of the first half. It was obviously a trapped ball, not a catch, but the Packers had used all their time-outs in avoiding delay-of game calls, and could not challenge the call. The Vikings were given the pass, they were able to continue their drive and it resulted in a touchdown.

And, defensively,  Green Bay will finally have the services of safety Charles Woodson back on defense. He’s a difference-maker and it’s hoped that difference will be felt next Saturday.

As far as losing the bye week – well, the Packers had the bye last year and didn’t play well upon their return. Losing last weekend might have been a blessing in disguise.

Antioxidants – Blueberries, Acai Berries and Recovery from Exercise

There has been a lot of research performed on antioxidants lately – and with good reason. Preliminary findings have been extremely promising, showing that antioxidants may have the ability to reduce the occurrence of heart disease and cancer. A host of other afflictions may also be positively affected by the antioxidants – even the muscle damage suffered after exercise.

Antioxidants act by reducing the ability of free radicals to damage our cells. Free radicals  are charged atoms with an excess of electrons. Because of the extra electrons, they are always attempting to become more stable. In the process, he can do damage to larger molecules such as those found in muscle tissue. In fact they can degrade the proteins in muscle to the point where cell death can occur. When this happens on a large scale, it’s called oxidative stress.

Leg PressIn reducing the ability of free radicals to damage muscle protein, it’s believed that antioxidants reduce the damage is caused by strenuous training, and improve the muscle’s ability to regenerate. Inflammation and swelling are reduced and it is believed that antioxidants help to remove waste products and increasing muscles ability to function.

Also because athletes tend to consume more oxygen through your mitochondria is believed they produce more free radicals. As a result, the positive effect of antioxidants may be even more necessary and athletes than in sedentary people.

Antioxidants can be obtained through the ingestion of fruit such as blueberries, blackberries, and Acai berries. Acai berries are found in Central and South America and contain extremely high levels of antioxidants. While there have been a number of Acai berry scams, involving false advertising and free samples, a credible source of Acai berry supplements is called Pure Acai Berry Max. It provides over 1500 mg of pure Acai berry and, while a little expensive, does appear to be a good place to buy acai berry products.

So, if you’re an athlete, check into antioxidants. Your ability to recover quickly increases your ability to train harder and compete better.

Bret Bielema Would Rather Be a Hog than a Badger

Bret Bielema Leaves the Badgers for Arkansas – Why?

It’s difficult to fathom. Wisconsin badger football head coach Bret Bielema, shortly after pummeling the Nebraska Cornhuskers 70 to 31 to win its third straight Big Ten Championships, jumped ship on the Badgers to accept the coaching job at the University of Arkansas. In so doing, he left the Badgers helmless, a month before the Rose Bowl.

In a profession in which coaches continually step up the ladder to higher profile and better paying jobs, this one is hard to fathom. Bielema’s reasoning behind the move was that coaching at Arkansas would give him a better chance of winning a national championship. Yet Wisconsin to Arkansas seems to be a negative move at best. Wisconsin is a program that was ranked the top 10 in the country at the start of the year. It’s a football program with tremendous financial resources and incredible fan support. Arkansas, which finished 4-8 this season, was only 6th in the SEC West and isn’t even a top-five job in the SEC. There is probably an increase in salary involved, but the selfishness and timing of the announcement is stunning. Taking place on the New Year’s holiday, when the entire nation is watching, the Rose Bowl is perhaps the nation’s highest profile bowl game – Bielema will not take part.

There is some speculation that Wisconsin’s apparent unwillingness to pay its assistant coaches a competitive salary is part of the decision – there was a wholesale migration of assistants last year – and this year is no exception. If that’s the case, then the administration had better revisit it’s salary packages.

The reasoning behind his move will receive a great deal of national attention during the Rose Bowl, as commentators and analysts speak at length about the man who will stand behind the bench in Bielema’s absence. That man will be Wisconsin athletic director and legendary football coach, Barry Alvarez. The man who handpicked Bielema to succeed him, Alvarez has little good to say about Bielema’s move. And neither will the media involved in the Rose Bowl.

I only hope that prospective Arkansas recruits watching the game will question the ethics and character of the man recruiting them. Bielema had held a meeting with his players telling them that they might hear some rumors, but that he wouldn’t leave. The next day, he was gone. Any guarantees that he’ll be around for the duration of their college career will be a questionable promise. And for the Arkansas athletic department – don’t turn your back. Your new head football coach has shown himself to be a man with little loyalty to past programs. Why would Arkansas be any different.