The New York Giants reported to training camp to tune up for the 2015 campaign. But you don’t have to be a player or coach to take part in camp. There are several things fans can see and do, too. I learned that firsthand over the weekend when I stopped by Giants camp.
The first thing that I noticed when I walked in was a group of people lined up to get the autograph of Rodney Hampton. Hampton was the Giants’ star running back of the 1990s. He showed up to sign autographs, take pictures, and exchange a few words with fans. Team alumni always stop by training camp, and this season was no exception.
Of course, the reason you go to training camp is to watch current players practice. And there was plenty of action to see from the viewing section. The players were split up into position groups on the field. They were doing drills specific to their positions. For example, the linemen were working on blocking, the wide receivers were catching, and the quarterbacks were executing passing plays.
Towards the end of practice, there was a scrimmage between the offense and the defense. This scrimmage is generally a fan favorite. It gives players from all places on the depth chart an opportunity to showcase their ability in a real-game scenario. One of the things that stood out was tight end Daniel Fells making a nice one-handed catch down the sideline. It’s those types of plays that can help a player make a case for a spot on the roster.
Once practice and scrimmages are over, players and fans hit the autograph line. It’s a staple of training camps around the league, and it’s a thrilling experience. All of the players walk through a roped off section of camp on their way to the showers. Fans can get autographs, pictures, and even selfies with their favorite players.
One of the other great things about camp is meeting other fans. I spoke to a few Giants die-hards, and they told me about their experience at training camp. Dylan Dratch said that he was excited to watch the scrimmage and was hoping to get Odell Beckham Jr.’s autograph. Corey Wilson, a five-year veteran of training camp, said he was just looking forward to meeting all of the new players on the team. He also wanted to watch wide receiver Victor Cruz as he comes back from an injury.
Overall, scenes like this are unfolding across America as one of the nation’s most popular sports prepares to kick off its 2015 season. Training camps provide the opportunity for players to get ready — and they give fans a great time!
Photos: J.J. Post