Interested in signing up for the group chat? Fill out the form at the bottom of this story.
GREEN BAY - I was standing on the rubber track that encloses Lambeau Field late last Thursday night, inches from the hallowed grass, nothing but me and those lights. You’d think it was daytime, it was so bright. There was a coolness in the August air. A quiet calm in the stadium. The 70,000 or so fans who’d just watched the Green Bay Packers open their preseason against the Houston Texans had long since filed out of the parking lots.
This is a recurrent feeling that never gets old, no matter how long I do this job. Six seasons into the Packers beat, I’m still in awe of an empty stadium hours before or after a game. The vastness. The solitary. It’s a sight, I think, everybody should get a chance to see. In fact, last Thursday, I pulled out my cell phone to snap a picture and sent it to my brother, just to share what I was looking at.
It isn’t uncommon for me to find myself on the beat — could be in the locker room, on the practice field, on the road — and wishing I could share pieces of the experience with my readers. These are the tidbits you don’t see in the newspaper or online, in video or even Twitter.
What am I thinking as I report the story you’ll later read? What am I seeing? What am I hearing? If only there was a way to convey these things directly to you, without the nastiness of social media, the distance of video, the third-person formality of articles.
Now, there is.
Over the next 90 days, we’re testing group text chats between me and some of our most engaged readers. We’re reaching out directly to diehard Packers fans, the ones who wish they could be with the team every day, but can’t. We’re hoping that’s you.
Without question, this will be a more intimate experience following the Packers. We’re pulling back the curtain more than ever, revealing a behind-the-scenes look at our process. But you’ll also get a chance to ask me questions directly.
No waiting to see what’s in the next day’s newspaper. No getting lost in the Twitter mentions. When you send me a text, no random stranger will see your phone number. This is a conversation just between you and me.
And the best part: it’s free.
I know, I know, giving someone your phone number can be uncomfortable. Rest assured, your number travels no further than our group text test. We’ll never give or sell your number to a third party. You will not be spammed. You will not be flooded with special offers, or any requests to spend money. And if at any point you decide this isn’t for you, you can opt out as freely as you opted in. No hard feelings.
This is your chance to get in on the ground floor of what we hope is a new way to draw closer to our readers while supporting our work. I hear all the time from Packers fans, "What’s it like to have this dream job?" Well, I’d like to take you along for the ride.
To opt into the group chat, enter your number below, confirm it on your phone, and we’re connected. Help us test out new ways to of connecting with readers, of making the experience of following our Green Bay Packers coverage better than ever, and hopefully we’ll have some fun along the way.