Seven weeks and counting. That’s how long until our gridiron heroes officially began the chase of bringing a Super Bowl Championship to its fans.
The grass is freshly cut. The field is perfectly lined with white paint. The sun beams so brightly it feels like one hundred degrees. Sweat pours down the back of my neck, but the hair on my arms stands up like I’m standing at the bus stop in the cold on a cold winter’s day. But I’m not cold, I’m excited. Football season is here! By the end of this week, every NFL team will have opened their training camp for the 2013 season and my annual trek to Latrobe, Pennsylvania to see my Pittsburgh Steelers is on deck.
I look forward to this trip every year. it’s the one opportunity I have to get close to the players and coaches I root for every sunday from late august until hopefully early February. This is the highlight of the season for me because it’s not easy or cheap to get a ticket to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh for a meaningful game.
Actually, I’ve only been to one Steelers regular season game. It was in mid October at Sun Life Stadium in Miami during the 2010 season, (A good season for fans of the Black and Gold as they went on to play in the Super Bowl at the end of the season) but I sat all the way in the nose bleeds. The picture above was taken during pre-game warm up, before I had to take my seats at the top of the stadium.
That’s why training camp is more fun and memorable than going to a game. I get to stand on the sidelines and watch cornerback Ike Taylor chase down wide receiver Antonio Brown on a post route and hear the trash talk between the two of them. On the other end of the field I can hear the legendary defensive coordinator Dick Labeau talk strategy with his prize pupil Troy Polamalu. Most importantly for me and other fans we get to bond with each other and our heroes while wishing them a great season we all hope will end with bring home the Lombardi Trophy for the seventh time in the team’s history.
Most professional sports should open up their training camps to fans like the NFL does. The closest is Major League Baseball when they hold their Spring Training in Florida and Arizona. If basketball and hockey would do the same, maybe they’d see their popularity grow. In the case of the NBA it’d be better to market more teams as opposed to just players, which has turned many fans away. In the NHL’s case it would just bring in more interest period. Training camp in the NFL just goes to show why football has become America’s game.
Here is a link of the dates in which all NFL teams will open up camp. http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000215798/article/nfl-training-camp-schedule-with-dates-and-locations