It is a wonderful day for Patriots fans. Training camp is underway at Gillette Stadium, with a practice Thursday morning and a second session this afternoon. It is time to get excited about the upcoming season for the Patriots.
I can't remember a season since 2001 that the Patriots have had so much uncertainty at so many positions, which should make this year extremely interesting.
I do know what to expect when I head to training camp on Saturday: some stretching, and maybe a few plays on offense and defense. When it comes down do it, I have basically seen nothing in all of the years I have gone to training camp.
I started going to camp every year with Pete Carroll's first season in 1997, at Bryant College, in Rhode Island. The experience hasn't changed much since that first season. I saw coaches yelling at players. I saw players running drills. I have seen the Patriots practice special teams as well. This is about as exciting as watching NOVA on PBS.
I really thought the experience would change when they moved training camp to Foxborough. The only thing that changed is they now sell food and drinks with the same prices as a regular season game. When I have sat on the grass I have actually seen vendors trying to sell me drinks. I find that a little strange at a free practice. You would think that the Patriots would maybe discount their prices for refreshments, but that's just not the case.
So, just like last last year, my wife says we are going to training camp on Saturday. We both look at each other and ask why. It is just what we do as die-hard Pats fans. My whole family will be dressed in Patriots gear. We will try to maybe get a glimpse of Tom Brady. I would like my three-year old son to meet his namesake. Unless I show up two hours before camp begins, that is very unlikely.
So for fans who have never been, I would recommend going. I just wouldn't expect to be entertained. As Allen Iverson famously said, "It's just practice."