2009 Steelers Training Camp Primer

Kevin LaMantiaContributor IJuly 16, 2009

LATROBE, PENNSYLVANIA - JULY 28: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers signs autographs during training camp at St. Vincent College on July 28, 2007 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. (Photo by: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

As in years past, after a successful season, one can expect there to be an insane amount of people at Steelers Training Camp in Latrobe. This year will be no different. With so many people, one could become overwhelmed.

Well fear not, I’m here to help you out with a Steelers Training Camp Primer. In this article, you will get the basics of what you should bring, where the best spots to view practice are, hotels, and even a place to let your children run wild.

Let’s start off with Hotels, since many people that come to view the camp are out-of-towners and don’t know their way around very well. Your best bet is to get a hotel in either Latrobe itself or one in Greensburg.

Depending on your budget, I would recommend the Sheraton right next to route 30 in Greensburg. If your budget is a little tight this year, I’d recommend staying at Comfort Inn closer to Latrobe that might be easier on the wallet. Either way, you can Google hotels in either town for another one, there are plenty.

If you’re flying to Pittsburgh International Airport, take PA-60 South towards Pittsburgh/Pennsylvania Turnpike I-79 East. Merge onto US-22 E/US-30 E. Then you will merge onto I-376 East/US-22 East via exit 6A towards Monroeville. You then merge onto I-76 East/PA Turnpike East. Stay on the Turnpike for about 11 miles or so, until you come to the Irwin/Greensburg exit. The toll is $.95. Continue down US-30 East and you’ll end up in Greensburg, and then Latrobe further down the road. Use MapQuest for direct directions to your hotel.

What to bring to camp is the next logical question. I recommend bringing chairs or a blanket to sit on. Always, I repeat always bring sun screen. It can get pretty hot in Latrobe for Training Camp. Also bring refreshments. I find it best to bring some water and little snacks. You might want to bring a pair of binoculars with you and a camera to take pictures.

Don’t bring video cameras since they are forbidden. Also, you might want to bring a cooler to keep drinks cool, don't bring beer though, as it's not allowed. I know, football without beer, just doesn’t seem right.

Depending on what you’re trying to do at camp, you’ll want to show up early. The gates are opened at 1:30pm to the public. I’ll tell you now, if you want autographs, bring some running shoes. As soon as the gates open, it’s a sprint for the autograph area. You’re being forewarned.

Also, to get autographs, you will miss practice more than likely. People will sit in their spots for the whole two hour practice. Remember that players only sign after practice, so don’t be upset if your favorite player just walks past and into the locker room.

Most will sign, but some players just might not of had a good practice and don’t want to be bothered.

If you are going to watch camp, you’ll want a good spot to sit and watch. Ever since they built the new bleacher stands at St. Vincent College, practices have been mostly played out in front of them. If you get there early, grab a seat, it’s a great view.

If you prefer sitting on the grass, there are two hills on either side of the stands. These are also great places to sit and watch. Especially the side with the pine trees, they sometimes give a little shade. Just sit higher up to see over the tents on the field.

Also, if you just so happen to know one of the workers at camp, ask them if they can get you a wrist band to watch practice on the field. From someone who was lucky enough to get down there, it was awesome!

Just remember to get to camp early for a good parking spot along with good seats or a good autograph location.

For your kids, if you have them, they also provide a Steelers Experience play area. There are all kinds of things for children to play around with here. They can clock their 40 times along with take pictures of their head in a Steelers cutout, amongst other fun stuff. If I had children, they would absolutely enjoy this, if I was younger, I would have enjoyed it too.

If Training Camp isn’t all you have come to town for, there are other things to do. There is Idlewild Amusement park in Ligonier on US-30, which is nice for the kids and also has a water park that is very nice. There is the Westmoreland Mall in Greensburg on US-30. And there are a multitude of sports bars around. Players sometime go to Sharky’s in Latrobe. If you’re a fan of hot wings, check out Dino’s Sports Bar. Best wings I have ever eaten. I recommend the sweet and hot wings.

The best part is everything is right on US-30, so you can’t get lost.

So for the people that plan on heading to a Steelers Camp for the first time, I hope this helps you. For those who have been there before and notice something I might have forgotten, please help out and post in the comments section.

Enjoy Steelers Training Camp 2009!