This following context was from one of our message board
members, who had the opportunity to attend Lions practice and share this story.
The message was slightly edited for formatting purposes.
I got to visit training camp today ...
Very cool experience. I was able to go to the practice facility as part of a
crew for a new reality series that will air on UPN in the fall called 'home
delivery'. Anyway, they try to make people's dreams come true. The story here
was about a little boy, Jimmie Armes, with underdeveloped arms and legs who
always wanted to meet the Lions. Channel 4 in Detroit is doing a story on it
today for the evening news in sports. Very cool experience. Saw a bit of
practice, which was cool, and got to meet some players. Got a full tour of the
practice facility including the locker rooms, weight rooms, etc. even let us
toss the ball around on the indoor field for about 20 mins.
Anyway, a few observations:
-The players have big hearts. When they heard this kid was coming, the players all pitched in their own money (w/ no coercing from the mgmt. they did this on their own) and went out and bought the kid a big screen TV, an Xbox, and a play station. I thought this was extremely giving and thoughtful of them. The lions gave him an autographed ball, a autographed Joey jersey, and let him 'break practice' by leading the '1-2-3 go lions' cheer out of the center of the huddle. One of the coolest things was that none of the players were trying to leave. They all went up and individually introduced themselves to the boy and hung around w/ him and his parents for much longer than I expected. They were all very nice.
-Joey Harrington is 100% class. He was, by far, the most involved w/ the kid. He took him on a guided tour of the facility. Took time to play catch w/ him which was neat. I was surprised to see that Jimmie could actually throw and catch a ball, even though he didn't have much for arms. Joey asked Jimmie if he had ever been to a Lions game (which no one else did). When Jimmie said no, he called the PR director for the Lions over and arranged right then for Jimmie and his parents to come to a game this season and sit in Joey's seats. I can't say enough about how impressed I was with Joey's character. Overall, I think he spent 30-40 minutes of his time w/ Jimmie. Talking with him, taking him around, just making him feel good.
-The facilities in Allen Park are really great. the weight room is amazing. any weight you can imagine, TV's everywhere, and a bumping sound system. Inside they have a full-sized field w/ field turf. Outside they have 2 full-sized grass fields.
-Locker room is nice, but not extravagant. every player has a locker area (no doors) w/ their name above it. Lockers are arranged by position. All the WR's are in one area, D-line in another, etc. atmosphere was very similar to regular sports locker room. Guys joking around, etc.
Anyway, very cool. Players seemed very happy to be able to help make Jimmie feel special, and I heard several players say that they get a lot out if it as well and really enjoy meeting people like Jimmie.
Anyway, figured I would share. Sorry so long. If you have questions, I will try to answer what I remember. I will be back on Friday morning. I didn't see much of practice, so can't comment on much. Just 10 mins of no-pads special teams/kick returns. No. 15 (I can't remember who that is) dropped a kickoff. Drummond looked quick. Don't know how interesting this is to all of you, but it was very cool for me. - dumblionsfan