Former running back for the Green Bay Packers Ahman Green stopped by Preble Sports Academy to deliver a personal message to young football players. (July 9, 2014)
"What's your favorite color?"
"How many yards did you run in a season?"
"What was your touchdown dance?"
Those were all questions former Packers running back Ahman Green answered Wednesday morning.
He made a special appearance at Green Bay Preble High School's Gauthier Family Stadium, 2222 Deckner Ave., where third through fifth-graders practiced football as part of the Preble School Sports Academy. Green talked about the importance of kids working hard while still making time for fun.
"It's summertime," Green said to the students. "Go outside, be outside."
During his speech, Green reflected on his childhood, which he noted was filled with all sorts of sports including baseball, football, rugby and volleyball.
At age 12, Green said he asked his parents if he could take a year off from athletics. They agreed and the next year was spent "just being a kid." Green returned with a new-found hunger to play sports and succeed. Green said all parents should consider a decision like his, and he emphasized the importance of kids simply having fun.
"The number one reason why I did sports was because it was fun," Green said.
Green, who retired from the NFL in 2011, said he enjoys seeing the look on kids' faces when something "clicks."
"When they bring a former athlete in, that might definitely grab their attention," Green said. "Even though I'm saying the same thing their coach said or their mom and dad said at home, they just grab on because it's me, it's Ahman Green or because it's Aaron Rodgers, it's Clay Matthews or whoever they follow."
Nearly 1,000 kids are enrolled in Preble Sports Academy, said Matt Weller, activities director of Edison Middle School.
"Kids need models to look up to, and we don't think there are many models more strong than Ahman Green who can demonstrate that you can play hard and still have fun with the game," Weller said.
The free program is designed to help students develop through sports and to offer experiences that are accessible to all families. Preble Sports Academy is an extension of the Green Bay School District's summer school program and runs Monday through Friday for six weeks throughout June and July. It is open to students in third through twelfth grades and incorporates a number of area schools.
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