Football

Camp Tales – Vol. 1

It was the year 2000, I had just turned 22-years-old and like most of my friends, I was about to begin my first post-college job. Except I wasn’t interviewing with insurance companies or cardboard box manufactures or board of trade firms. Instead, I was living in Albany, New York, playing for the New York Football Giants.

I had no idea what to expect from my first NFL training camp – the closest I had ever come to an NFL camp was driving up to Platteville, Wisconsin one summer only to see Jim McMahon taking a piss in a garbage can. I was 7-years-old…something like that cannot be unremembered.

4 years of high school training camp in the mid 90’s was as uncomfortable as a Cody Parkey Today Show interview: Two-a-days, full pads, full contact, extra conditioning, and no water breaks – all while being told you were a pussy. Like a 15-year old needs to question his self confidence even more.

Training camp in college was much easier; mostly due to the fact that I was now strictly a kicker/punter. This was the type of shit I could handle – no hitting, rarely a full pad practice, and a specialist period that accounted for exactly 1/12 of the total practice time. Kick for ten minutes with the team, go to a side field and kick some more, then socialize – teammates, coaches, managers, trainers – finding literally anyone who would listen.

As I arrived in Albany as the 3rd specialist alongside Brad Maynard and Brad Daluiso, I was overwhelmed by the fact that I had no idea where I was going or what in the fuck I was doing. After a few days, I eased myself into the monotony of an actual, real life, NFL training camp: the morning session for specialists would be reserved for individual work on a side field, while the afternoon session included an early special teams team period. After the special teams period was over, we would head back to our side field for some more individual work, after that we were free to leave. So, to recap, we would basically walk back to the locker room 25 minutes into practice and our day was done. We would then make our way back to the dorms and sit around for hours until team dinner in the cafeteria.

What made these boring afternoons exponentially better was that when we arrived back into our rooms, the extremely fappable Angie Harmon was often there waiting for her fiancé, Jason Sehorn to return from practice. Until he did, Daluiso, Maynard, Angie Harmon, and I would sit there for hours on these shitty, used ass, SUNY-Albany owned couches watching TV and talking about who the fuck knows what. I do recall her saying that Calista Flockhart needs to eat a cheeseburger and that her dad still cuts articles about here from the newspaper and puts them in scrapbook. Other than that, my afternoons were filled by watching her watch TV and try to hide my erection. For the record, she was extremely gorgeous of course, but she was also very kind and borderline funny for a girl. I also remember thinking, like every guy in the world does about the boyfriend of a hot girl; what is she doing with this clown? Aside from his good looks, athleticism, and millions in the bank, what does he have going on that I don’t? It’s amazing to look back and think I was truly convinced that if I could just continue to make her laugh, she eventually couldn’t resist the 165 pound kicker with a non-guaranteed contract who was going to be cut six weeks from now.

So, in conclusion: high school training camp is the absolute worst. Training camp for kickers is the best. And I used to think Angie Harmon was going to dump Jason Sehorn and start fucking me instead. Fast forward almost 20 years later and I am selling industrial warehouses by O’Hare airport and writing football blogs on a hockey website. Sweet!

Sidenote: I apologize if you began reading this with the assumption that you were going to get some super informative Bears training camp talk – I’ll have that for you as well, but I’ll also be sharing my personal experiences from various training camps I’ve been in over the years.

 

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