After a hearty breakfast at the Janesville staple, Citrus Café, an invigorating school visit kicked off Friday events as the tour made its way across southern Wisconsin by stopping at Delevan-Darien High School. The home of the Comets soon felt like home to the Packers as making good decisions was discussed with the students and presented a $2,000 check for the school’s physical education program.
Students in the packed gym also heard a compelling story from Blake Martinez about being bullied.
“I was bullied for being what they called a dumb jock,” he said. “I took it to heart and really worked hard with academics and graduated early from Stanford with an engineering degree.
“All of you should take your education seriously. It will really help you.”
A woman student who plays on the football team sought some advice of how to deal with unkindness from other players. Kenny Clark, who had a woman as a teammate in high school, recommended a direct approach.
“Go out and prove them wrong,” he said. “Make some plays and make them look bad. Don’t let anyone shatter your dreams.”
Ty Montgomery was asked about his fantasy football value by one of the students who wanted to draft him, where specifically should he be drafted.
“I know the so-called experts haven’t said much about me, so no one will be taking me early,” he said. “Get your quarterback early, and draft me later. I’ll be a steal and we can win a championship together.”
And, today’s school visit featured another physical challenge, this on the heels of the basketball shooting contest yesterday at Southwestern High School in Hazel Green (Montgomery and Freeman didn’t perform well). Two gymnasts asked if any players could perform a cartwheel. Bubba Franks happily obliged and deftly performed the classic move.
“I have a little gymnastics background,” Franks said later with a smile, revealing he participated in classes as a youngster at the YMCA. “I was thinking about turning it into a backflip, but ended up passing on it.”
Another Tailgate Tour company visit was on the docket and the tour members enjoyed the opportunity to tour the massive Amazon fulfillment center in Kenosha, Wis. With a staff of 3,000, the center ships out more than 200 million packages annually.
“That’s an impressive operation. A snapshot of where automation is going. They have 1.1 million square feet under one roof,” said a captivated Rob Davis, who took in the tour wearing the “hat” of his current role as senior director of people and culture at Pierce Manufacturing, an Oshkosh Corporation Company. “I was able to engage in conversations that are now things that I look at on a daily basis, particularly with their workforce and how they treat their employees. People are the secret sauce to your success.”
The tour members are enjoying some quiet time before tonight’s event at the UW-Milwaukee Panthers Arena to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.