This past Friday I took my annual visit to Lehigh Universityto check out Philadelphia Eagle’s training camp. This year I brought along my uncle Hank and his life-long friend Roy. Both are owners in our fantasy football league. I tied in the trip to camp and lunch at P.J. Whelihan’s as reward for help with a furniture move.
The food and atmosphere at P.J.’s was as good as advertised. Cold beer,juicy burgers and more TV’s than you can count, helped bide our time till the afternoon session of camp. The Eagles have switched practice programs this summer to include shorts and pads in the 8:00 am session and full pads and contact in the heat of the day, beginning at 2:35 pm.I assume this will help with those late summer games that are played in the afternoon and not 8am.
As we arrived at the Goodman Campus of Lehigh, both Hank and Roy could not believe the amount of people who took the pilgrimage to see their beloved Eagles stretch and play catch. With close to 5000 in attendance on this Friday, it is clear that Training Camp has become a big part of the Eagles brand. A giant tent of merchandise for kids, women and of course men’s clothing greets you as you enter the practice field.
This is the prime opportunity for the Eagles to generate sales from this event. Admission to training camp is free and the Eagles charge a nominal fee to enter the KidsZone, a fun NFL experience type setting where kids can run, jump, kick and throw like a Pro.
Excellent seating is available with grandstands surrounding the training complex. We caught special teams on a satellite field before heading over to the main field. Sitting across from the East grandstand offered us excellent seats as we viewed 7 on 7 passing drills and full squad passing plays. This lasted about 90 minutes and by 4:30 we had had our sun quota for the day. The facility has zero shade, so bring the sunscreen and dress light. I have made the mistake in the past of sneaking out before work or after lunch in slacks. This is not advised.
I highly recommend getting your fantasy team owners together for a trip to the LehighValley. Great golf, brew pubs,grand prix style cart racing, a full-service casino and a free music festival make for a great vacation. Camp runs till August 14th.