Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pros vs G.I. Joes

Wisconsin National Guard Sgt. Sara Roeske, left, of the 112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment in Madison belts out the vocals as Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby and running back Ryan Grant play “Guitar Hero” on Friday during the Pros vs. G.I. Joes program in the Lambeau Field Atrium. Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette

Green Bay Packers players take on Wisconsin National Guard soldiers in 'Guitar Hero,' 'Call of Duty 4' at Lambeau Field


Doris Lange hadn’t seen her son since March.

Army Spc. Brett Lange is stationed in Camp Bucca, Iraq, but his mother got a chance to see him electronically battle some Green Bay Packers players on Friday.

“Brett’s the main guy,” said the mom from Milton. “Brett’s the biggest attraction.”

Nearly 100 people watched as families like the Langes cheered on their loved ones from the Wisconsin National Guard as they played “Guitar Hero” and “Call of Duty 4” against Packers players at an event called “Pros vs. G.I. Joes” on Friday at the Lambeau Field Atrium.

WPS Health Insurance sponsored the event by presenting a $4,000 check to the nonprofit program that gives troops stationed overseas the chance to play online video games against their local NFL team.

“It’s a terrific opportunity for us to give back to these soldiers and families who sacrifice so much for our country,” said Brian Brugger, WPS senior vice president.

Packers kicker Mason Crosby, running back Ryan Grant, defensive lineman B.J. Raji and defensive end Jarius Wynn signed autographs and took photos in between playing games on an Xbox 360. Players said it was a time to relax and support the troops.

“They’re getting time off from a war zone. It really kind of puts stuff into perspective,” Crosby said.

Army Sgt. Robert Spors of Janesville, Pfc. Trent Lien of Blair, Pfc. Bryan Schneider of Milwaukee and Lange, of Milton, played at the USO Center at Camp Virginia in Kuwait. The soldiers from A Company of the 132nd Brigade Support Battalion talked with family via videoconference before and after the games.

Lange, 23, said he misses the entire NFL season and the event gave him a chance to stay in touch with the players.

“It was definitely nice getting to see our family members. It was a real treat for us,” he said.

Angela Lange, 25, of Chicago, said her little brother is a big gamer and they played a lot as kids.

“He would push the buttons and I would read the strategy guide,” she said.

About 30 members of the Wisconsin National Guard cheered on the competitors.

Cadet Jonathan Fleming, 21, of Jefferson, performed lip-syncing to “I Love Rock ‘N Roll” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts during “Guitar Hero,” one of his favorite games.

“I wanted to come out there and sing for the Packers. I’m willing to put myself on the line,” he said.

Photos from Friday's "Pros vs. G.I. Joes" event at Lambeau Field.

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