For a decade now, in what is certainly an annual tradition for the Campbell family, we welcome each new Buffalo Bills season by attending the first (and several more) training camp practices.
The practices are held at St. John Fisher College (our old stomping grounds … Ian was practically born there!) and are full of so many fun things to do and see—all for only a couple bucks![1. The event is free, but you have to be shuttled there on busses. Adults (12 and up) pay $1 each to ride the bus. Not too bad!]
The allure of this event is not just football. Sure, that’s the main draw, and we Campbells are always excited about Buffalo Bills football. (It’s true. We may have a problem…) But beyond watching the players practice in groups and as a team, sometimes only a few feet away from you, there are activities galore!
The Campbell kids (and many others) love the Interactive Zone. This is a section of the campus dedicated to inflatable, football-themed fun! You can run through inflated obstacle courses, kick field goals through photographic goal posts, throw touchdowns into giant images of CJ Spiller and Stevie Johnson, and many more super-fun activities. (We often end up spending as much time here as we do watching football!)
There are several other vendors at the Training Camp, also, and most of them have some sort of giveaways. One of our first stops every year is the “Plinko”-style game at the Verizon booth. Some of their prizes include mini-footballs (handy for autographs!), stickers resembling “eye blacks”, and this year, bead necklaces in the Bills’ team colors.
Speaking of autographs, certainly one highlight for the older boys is flagging down players and coaches to sign anything and everything they can think of. The players will often come over to the fences where the eager fans are lined up with their Sharpees and jerseys, footballs, programs, and every other sign-able thing.
The Bills also have a tent set up where three or four lines are formed for scheduled autograph sessions for specific players. This year the Campbell kids got photos and autographs of the QBs and some of the DBs in the Autograph Tent.
It’s not just limited to players, though. This year the boys even managed to flag down Peter King of Sports Illustrated (and a few other publications/media outlets) and get him to sign an item or two. Bills reporter, Chris Brown, and a few other lesser-known media members have also penned their names to one or more of the Campbell brothers’ possessions!
Bills Training Camp is definitely one of the highlights of the summer for us. It also signals the end of summer, and the beginning of fall. (The best season of them all!)
What will 2013 hold for this Buffalo Bills team? Not sure. There’s been so much change here. (Did you read my post from early July about this year’s Bills team?) It really does seem promising. At least it will be different.
In the end, it’s just fun. Like training camp. Fun!
Kirsten said today, “Sports are weird. They just… try to get this ball across these painted lines…”
Yep. Pretty much. 🙂
But we still find the fun.