Posted by Emily Colliflower Friday, April 20, 2012
I know it was a little while ago but when it was announced that training camp would be held at the Castle rather than McDaniel College this year, a part of me died inside. I understood it not being at McDaniel last year because of the lockout and was excited to go back this upcoming summer.
I have a slightly different viewpoint than most on training camp because I live in Westminster. Not a summer went by growing up that I didn’t go at least once up to the college to watch training camp with my dad. It wasn’t strange to see players around town.
During the Ravens season of Hard Knocks, I still think it’s cool seeing Johansson’s on TV when those episodes are replayed. And I can honestly say it was going to training camp all the time, not necessarily watching the games although those helped, that really made me become such a huge Ravens fan.
I distinctly remember one year when my dad took me and my older brother and younger sister that there were two businessmen leaving and when they walked past us they handed us their passes. These passes were for this tent that had free food and they allowed you access to a special area for autographs. Two passes, three kids; the eldest got the passes but my sister and I traded footballs and to get autographs for some reason.
It was the season after Jamal Lewis ran for over 2,000 yards so needless to say; I was stoked to get his autograph on a card. But my sister got Ray Lewis on my football. A trade happened and looking back, I clearly got the better end of that deal.
Moments like that and the times where I would not be up there for autographs, but would watch Ray and Todd Heap go to the small roped off section where the smallest of kids stood. They couldn't see over the higher gates and would likely get hurt with all of the pushing and shoving. But Ray and Todd and others would sign for every single one of them. Some players would joke around and ask you to solve a math question before giving you your autograph.
And don’t even get me started on the kids area, because to this day I wish I was a kid again and could go play over there.
You could say I’m just being nostalgic but I am already going to dread the summer without training camp.
It just won’t be the same.
I guess I am also trying to say that I really hope Steve Biscotti & Co. will bring it back. While many memories are made attending Ravens games, they happen at training camp too.
It is there where you are more likely to see your idol up close and personal.