Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Patriots Training Camp 2009

So who's ready for some football? Even though summer has seemingly only just arrived this week, the boys of autumn are ready to strap on the pads for training camp. The Patriots have announced that training camp will open on Thursday, July 30 and run through August 18. As of now, the schedule is for two-a-days each day from July 30 to August 5 with morning practice from 9:30 to 11:15 AM and afternoon practice from 3:45 to 5:30 PM. 

Based on past years, you can lay good odds that the schedule is going to change (either that or Coach Belichick is really going to work these guys from the get go). The schedule is always tentative based on the desires of the coaching staff and oftentimes the weather. Therefore, if you're interested in going to see practice, by all means check the schedule on the Patriots web site and double-check it by calling the team's hot line at 508-549-0001.

The practice is free to attend, and the parking is free as well. There are concession stands that sell food, drinks, and beer. Be prepared to pay normal stadium prices for food and beverages, however, if you buy it there. In past years parking has been in lot 22 along the west side of the stadium and it's a short walk over to the fields.

Along the west side of the stadium has also been the Patriots Experience, filled with interactive games that allow fans to test their kicking, passing, and tackling skills on a variety of obstacle courses, football tosses, and other similar challenges. It's a popular draw for kids. And while you're in the area, you may also want to check out the stores and restaurants at the ever-expanding Patriot Place or combine a trip to Training Camp with a visit to the Hall at Patriot Place, which is an absolute must for Pats fans. (For a good, cheap meal, I highly recommend Five Guys Burgers at Patriot Place.) 

There are bleachers along the side of one practice fields on which to sit. Another popular spot is on the hillside that lies behind the end zones of the practice field and in front of the stadium. The players enter and leave the field near that hillside, so it's a good spot to get autographs, and players will often sign along the front row of the bleachers when practice is over. Wherever you sit, you're pretty close to the action. If you have a camera with a good zoom lens, you should get some good shots. 

For more tips on enhancing your experience at Patriots Training Camp--and for all the information you'd ever want to know about spectator sports around Boston--check out The Die-Hard Sports Fan's Guide to Boston

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