Camp Calendar: A Fan's Do's 'n' don't's
If you plan on attending any of the sessions at Saint Vincent, there are certain things you need to know (and some others that will just make it more fun)
Sunday, July 25, 2010
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Kickoff: Camp opens for all players Friday when they must report and take their annual run test. A roster of 80 players is expected to report, provided the No. 1 and No. 2 draft picks, center Maurkice Pouncey and linebacker Jason Worilds, sign their contracts by then. They are their only unsigned players.
Where: Saint Vincent College, Route 30, Latrobe, the Steelers' 45th summer at the school which has undergone many changes to its campus the past few years, including roads in, out and around.
Getting there: From Pittsburgh, take the Parkway East to the Monroeville interchange on the Turnpike. Go east to the Irwin exchange (No. 67). Take Route 30 East about 17 miles to the entrance to Saint Vincent College and follow the signs. ... From Route 70, exit at New Stanton and take 119 North to Route 30, then head east. From Harrisburg and points East, take the Turnpike to exit 91, Donegal. Turn left onto PA Route 31 East, 1/4 mile to left turn at PA Route 711 North, 14 miles to left turn at U.S. Route 30 West, 10 miles to right turn at Saint Vincent. ... From Erie and points North, take I-79 South to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, head east and follow directions from Pittsburgh. ... By air, the Westmoreland County Airport is across Route 30 from the campus. ... By rail, Amtrak (800-872-7245) offers passenger service with stops in Latrobe.
Parking: There's plenty of free parking at designated areas near the Steelers' practice fields.
Practices: They are open free to the public only in the afternoon, normally between 2:55 and 5. All practices are scheduled at Saint Vincent College, except for one night practice, Aug 6 at Latrobe Stadium at 7 p.m. There may be no public practice Aug. 7 because there are plans for players to attend Dick LeBeau's induction that day into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Weather and unforeseen circumstances can alter the schedule and those changes will be noted on Post-Gazette.com. The first open practice is Saturday, the last one open to the public Aug. 18, with the team breaking camp Aug. 20.
Getting around: Campus opens to fans 90 minutes before the start of an open practice. There are restricted areas. An information booth is near the field, and campus security can answer questions.
Where to watch: The Steelers practice on four fields situated in a natural amphitheater. Fans can watch from the hillsides or along a fence that rings the practice fields. There is bleacher seating at three-year-old Chuck Noll Field that overlooks the main practice areas. Also, there are handicap accessible areas.
What to bring: Blanket, lawn chair, binoculars, sunglasses, I pod, sunblock, food, kids, soft drinks, water, snacks, still camera, friends, pen, autograph book, Terrible Towel.
Refreshments: There are snack bars outside, and at the college's indoor facility. Fans also can bring in refreshments.
Souvenirs: A Steelers merchandise trailer inside the Steelers Experience on the hill above the practice fields will sell just about anything you want. Various souvenirs, merchandise and exclusive training camp items are also sold on campus and at the college bookstore. And, of course, they can supply you with all those Super Bowl t-shirts and hats.
Banned: Alcohol, drugs, whistles, nudity (unless tastefully done), video cameras (taking video on cell phones is discouraged but hard to stop), profanity, stalkers, graffiti, pets, pests, Baltimore Ravens scouts, hovering helicopters and hot-air balloons, Santonio Holmes and Bob Ligashesky.
To get autographs, photos: The Steelers do not hold an official Photo Day as they did for many years, but they will sign autographs 15 minutes before their night practice at Latrobe Stadium. Unlike other teams such as the Baltimore Ravens, they do not limit autographs to certain age groups. The best time for photos or autographs is after practice on campus. Some players will ask fans to wait until after they shower. Players and coaches normally are cooperative, but at times they have bad days or were just chewed out by a coach and don't want to be bothered, so be a little understanding. And it helps if you know the name of the player you ask for an autograph.
Steelers Experience: Even if you're not a Steeler, you can pretend to be one -- punt, pass, kick, and be timed in the 40-yard dash. Kids of all ages can test their skills or just try the various exercises at the Steelers Experience. You can run, kick, throw, catch, visit a mock locker room, get your photo taken looking like a Steeler and get your face painted as if it's game day and you want to attract the TV cameras. Try your hands at interactive games and activities. Experience will be open -- and free -- when the Steelers practice in the afternoon at St. Vincent College. Hours are 1:30 p.m. until one hour after practice ends on the baseball field above the football fields on days the Steelers practice.
Information: Steelers offices at UPMC Sports Performance Complex (412-432-7800) and at Saint Vincent College (724-539-8515).
Where to stay: Among the motels and hotels within a 15-mile radius of Latrobe: In Latrobe is the Wingate Inn, 724-539-0400. Near Greensburg are the Four Points Sheraton, 724-836-6060; Hampton Inn, 724-838-8800; Comfort Inn, 724-838-7070; Knights Inn, 724-836-7100; Super 8, 724-838-8080, and the Inn at Mountain View, 724-691-0570. There are several hotels in the Ligonier area as well.
Afternoon workouts generally run from 2:55-5 p.m. The campus opens to fans at 1:30 p.m. only on days when there is a 2:55 practice. Please remember that weather could cause practice to be canceled without notice. The schedule is subject to change.
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