• Bears open training camp in Bourbonnais, Ill., July 25; Packers in De Pere, Wis., July 26
By Doug Halberstadt
By my own admission, the last time I got genuinely excited about anything sports-related was well more than a month ago. That’s when the Chicago Blackhawks scored two goals in 17 seconds to beat the Boston Bruins for the National Hockey League championship and their second Stanley Cup in the last four years.
Since then, it’s been less than thrilling for me as a sports fan. I can’t seem to get jazzed about baseball, either nationally or locally. The Cubs, Sox, Brewers and Aviators aren’t setting their world ablaze. Three of the four are stuck at the bottom of their divisions, and the Cubs aren’t much better, just a few games ahead of Milwaukee in the standings.
It’s all about to change, though! Finally, something that gets my heart pumping again — the Chicago Bears begin training camp tomorrow (Thursday, July 25). The Packers start Friday (July 26).
For the 12th consecutive year, the Bears will make Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., their home for the next month or so as they prepare for the upcoming 2013 National Football League season. During the first couple of weeks, the Bears will practice from 9 until 11:30 a.m. each day. The sessions are free of charge and open to the public. The only exception is Tuesday, July 30. There is no practice scheduled for that day, and training camp will be closed to the fans.
They’ll be in Carolina Friday night, Aug. 9, to take on the Panthers in the first of four preseason games. Their first preseason home game is the following Thursday night. They’ll face the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field in front of a nationally-televised audience. That game will be broadcast on ESPN.
They go on the road Aug. 23 to meet the Oakland Raiders in what is usually viewed as the most important preseason game. Typically, the starters get their most on-field time during that third game. They’ll wrap up the exhibition portion of their schedule against the Cleveland Browns Aug. 29. They open up the regular season at noon, Sunday, Sept. 8, in Chicago against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Packers will be in De Pere, Wis., on the campus of St. Norbert College for the 56th consecutive year when they begin training camp. The relationship between the private college and the Green Bay Packers marks the longest continual use of any training camp facility by an NFL team. The Packers use their own practice and team meeting facilities at Lambeau Field during training camp, with the college serving as housing headquarters.
Green Bay opens up their preseason schedule in front of their home fans in Lambeau Field Friday night, Aug. 9, against the Arizona Cardinals. They begin the regular season on the road Sunday, Sept. 8, against the San Francisco 49ers.
I couldn’t be happier that professional football is back and that it is much closer to kicking off the regular season. Finally, something to get the sports blood flowing again and wake me up from this summer slumber!
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the July 24-30, 2013, issue