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Old 07-25-2007, 04:20 AM   #1
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Default Fans at Camp Tomlin: It rains on their parade ... sigh

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

By Tyler Batiste, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

All the hype surrounding Steelers fans' first opportunity to see coach Mike Tomlin in action was literally washed away yesterday when thunderstorms pounded the Latrobe area just before 3 p.m.

The afternoon practice session was slated to begin at 2:55 p.m., but showers forced practice to be postponed 35 minutes and moved indoors to the basketball gym at Saint Vincent's College.

The session was supposed to be the first one opened to the public but those plans changed after the shift indoors.

That disappointed many Steelers fans who had their day scheduled around getting their first glimpse of a new era in Steelers history.

Patrick O'Hare was visiting the Pittsburgh area from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., along with his son, grandson and nephew.

O'Hare said he wanted the kids to get a taste of the NFL training-camp experience, but that will not happen because they have to leave for Fort Lauderdale this morning.

"We're a little disappointed, but that's the way things happen," O'Hare said. "It was nice just getting here and seeing some of the facilities."

Among the new amenities fans saw for the first time yesterday were the new aluminum bench seats for 1,050 at the base of the slope in front of Saint Benedict Hall.

Unfortunately for spectators, the seats and the rest of the facility, now called Chuck Noll Field, were not put to good use yesterday.

Sean McCants, originally from the Pittsburgh area, drove from Kentucky for the beginning of camp.

"We got to see [the players] a little bit while they were in the exercise room," McCants said. "I don't think it's a wasted day. We're a little disappointed about not seeing them practice, though."

McCants, 36, said he attended many Steelers training camps when he was younger and wanted his 11-year-old son, Kyle, to experience it for the first time. He still plans on attending another afternoon practice later this week.

McCants added that while he was a bit disheartened about the decision to move camp inside and close it to the public, he understood why it was made.

"I'm sure the chance of injuries goes up when the field is wet and stuff like that," he said.

On the other hand, Jim Weber thought the field was in good enough condition to hold an outdoor practice.

"I coach football. My kids would be out there practicing right now," Weber said about 15 minutes after the team began practice inside.

Weber, an assistant football coach at Richwood High School in Richwood, W.Va., drove four hours to Saint Vincent with his son, Benjamin, 11, and his two friends, Ryan and Craig.

"Probably won't come back this week, but we'll come back later in the summer," he said.

Uniontown natives Cara Fabian and Barbara Wise drove this weekend from Baltimore and Ocean City, Md., respectively, to attend the first public practice.

Their jobs as real estate appraisers won't allow them to stay in town for the next practice open to the public, which is scheduled at 2:55 p.m. today.

"We love our Steelers. We're very disappointed," Wise said.

Fabian and Wise did not leave Latrobe empty-handed, picking up souvenirs such as Steelers drinking glasses and a Steelers dog drinking bowl.

Despite the first-day letdown for fans, there will be many more opportunities to see the Steelers in action before the season begins.

Training camp runs through Aug. 17, and most of the scheduled afternoon practices will be open to the public.
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Old 07-25-2007, 04:25 AM   #2
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Default Re: Fans at Camp Tomlin: It rains on their parade ... sigh

I wish that my family lived a little closer to where I could attend some practices, sounds like it would be a blast.
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Old 07-25-2007, 01:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: Fans at Camp Tomlin: It rains on their parade ... sigh

Yesterday was the 1st time I got to go to the 1st practice of camp. It was a little disapointing that it rain just because it was my dad's 1st time to get to go. I have been there a couple of times so I know how much fun it is to watch the guys work as hard as they do. I hoping to make it to one of the night practices for the 1st time this though. I've heard those are even better.
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Old 07-25-2007, 04:50 PM   #4
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Default Re: Fans at Camp Tomlin: It rains on their parade ... sigh

I hear ya rog. XT, myself and a couple of buds were there, too, and had to run like hell when the security guards yelled for everyone to find cover as there were severe t-storms approaching. We all huddled under a group of trees (not the best place to hover during a storm - LOL!) and were still getting soaked and as we noticed others leaving to run for their cars, after 20 minutes of the rain not letting up - we followed suit. I didn't feel so bad when I arrived home and heard on the news that Coach Tomlin had moved the guys to the inside facility. We're going to take another shot at it next week.
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Old 07-25-2007, 04:55 PM   #5
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Default Re: Fans at Camp Tomlin: It rains on their parade ... sigh

We plan to be there next Wednesday and for the Thursday night practice. My high school reunion is over the weekend so we are coming to western Pa a couple of days early to check out training camp. (Jerome is saving us a table Wednesday night......)
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Old 07-25-2007, 05:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Fans at Camp Tomlin: It rains on their parade ... sigh

And I am stuck here in California

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