9:45 a.m. (CDT) May 12, 2011
Day Three of the ‘Packers’ Tailgate Tour’ began with another surprise stop at a school, this one at Hayward Senior High School (www.haywardhigh.net).
More than 600 students were on hand to hear the players discuss the value of teamwork, a subject that Dorsey Levens discussed.
“Football is a great team sport, because you have to count on the other 10 players each and every play,” he explained. “It’s like a small community being a team, because you have to work together.
“Any team sport is valuable because it also gives you great friendships for life, and you should lean on that when you need to. Your teammates become your brothers and sisters, and you can have them for support later in life.”
Gilbert Brown spoke of sportsmanship as well, and said it sometimes is difficult.
“It’s hard to punch a guy in the mouth and later shake his hand,” he explained. “But it’s the right thing to do. It’s the way it is in sports.”
He also told the students to not take anything for granted because life is too short, and used a personal illustration for it.
“My father passed away in 1992 — too young — and one thing that really bothered me is that I really never told him how much I loved him,” he said. “I took it for granted because I thought I would have time. Don’t make that mistake with important things in your life.”
Mark Murphy and the players also took the opportunity to recognize longtime special education teacher and assistant football coach John Jaeckel for his support of the Packers and tireless work at the school and in the community. Jaeckel was recently diagnosed with ALS, but continues to work hard and serves as an inspiration to the students and families in the area.
Assistant principal Paul Coenen felt the students and staff enjoyed the spontaneity of the visit.
“This was a great chance to breathe before the final stretch here,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t get a chance to smile much because we’re always on a schedule. This gave us some great smiles and will help down the stretch.”
The tour continued south on its way to Eau Claire for the tailgate party tonight to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters Northwestern Wisconsin.
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Tailgate Tour