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Panthers Training Camp Tips


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#1 Jeremy Igo

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 07:31 AM

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A WHOLE PIE!

You've read the announcement. You've seen the schedule.

 

Now, I will give you the inside scoop on the Panthers Training Camp. I have seen a lot of rookie fan mistakes out there, and I aim to clean it up.

 

Camp begins with the Back to Football festivities at Gibbs Stadium. Be sure to arrive early, there are lots of great things to see and hear before practice begins. Typically there is live entertainment including a band as well as an appearance by a few select topcats. This takes place in front of the stadium close to the parking areas.

 

Practice takes place inside of Gibbs Stadium. Most people head for the seats closest to the parking. However, I feel like the best seating for Gibbs Stadium is on the east side of the field, especially if you are looking for player autographs. These bleachers are adjacent to where the players enter and leave the practice. The lower corner of these bleachers are prime autograph real estate.

 

You will be in the sun a bit more, but as the practice is later in the evening, that may not matter much to you.

 

Gibbs_Stadium.jpg

 

Most of the practices at Training Camp are done on the three practice fields adjacent to Gibbs Stadium. There are a few key things here you should know...

 

AUTOGRAPHS

The autograph area is along the fence near where the players enter and exit the locker rooms (pictured below). The key here is to position yourself in the right area. Typically the closer to the locker rooms the better. A you move farther away from them, the likelihood of an autograph decreases. Even farther away and you chances of getting an autograph drop to zero, as this would force the players to go far out of their way to get to you.

 

Preferential autograph treatment is given to kids, as it should be. My advice is to stand next to a kid, wait for that kid to get his or her autograph, then also get yours signed as well. If a player stops to sign once, he typically will sign a few within the same group of people. DO NOT push a kid out of the way or try to get yours first, you will be chastised by other fans, and probably me.

 

Players/Coaches I have seen give the most Autographs: Cam Newton, Deangelo Williams, Ron Rivera, Luke Kuechly.

 

Practice Viewing

Once you arrive at camp, take note of where the blue lifts with the video cameras are situated. Take note on where the video cameras are pointed. This will give you a heads up on which field the main action of the day is located.

 

Most fans will simply sit on the hill. This is a convenient way to watch all of practice in a leisurely manner from an elevated location. The only downside to the hill is the limited shade, so consider bringing an umbrella, and don't forget your sun screen.

 

In the morning, if practices are on the two conjoined fields, my advice is to head to the trees after applying your mosquito repellant. You will be in the shade for a good part of the practice and also will have a great view of the action. I am not kidding on the mosquito repellent. You have been warned.

 

Main_Fields.jpg

 

Photography

If you are interested in taking photos at camp, I recommend a digital SLR camera with a lens that is capable of 300mm shooting at least. Quarterbacks are easy to photograph, they are stationary and predictable. Other skill positions can be much trickier. During wide receiver drills, the players will typically all run the same route, one after another. Watch the first route, then use that to determine and plan ahead the angle you would like your capture to be.

 

Etiquette

There are a couple things that fans do that tend to bother me at practices.

 

Don't yell at the players during practice. They are there, in many cases, fighting for their job. They will not respond to you. Not because they don't hear you, but because they are working.

 

Know the players names if you want an autograph. Yelling "Hey 88" will likely annoy more than impress, making a signed jersey unlikely.

 

Where to Eat

Most people will tell you to stop by the Beacon for a burger and fries. This is fine and something everyone must do at some point. My favorite.place, however, is closer to the training Camp. Wade's is a smorgasbord type restaurant. The best thing about it is the fact that when you purchase an entree, you get as many sides as you like. They are all amazing.

 

The Pizza Inn is also a great place to go, especially if you grew up in the 80s. It is a virtual time warp including table top pac-man and 19 inch picture tube televisions, The chocolate pudding typically has a half inch skin on it, roll it up as a snack on the way home.



#2 lola

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 07:52 AM

You are awesome. Thank you.


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#3 OnlyPantherFaninMaine

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 08:05 AM

Every year I yearn to attend training camp down there and every year I just can't make it. One day!

#4 CatMan72

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 10:29 AM

Good stuff Jeremy, here are a few more tips on autographs from someone who has been highly successful. I'm a grown-ass man who has had Steve Smith sign things for me on numerous occasions and take pictures (and if you know Smitty, that's saying something) simply because I'm not an ass about it. 

 

  1. If you find yourself pushing past children to get an autograph, you need to seriously re-evaluate your priorities and possibly seek professional counseling... no need to continue reading at this point. 
  2. If a guy ignores you or even says "no", deal with it. Autographs are courtesy, not an obligation and you are not entitled. If your not selling it on eBay to buy your wife some false teeth it shouldn't be that big of a deal... move on. Whatever you do, don't be a dick about it... you would be surprised how well these guys remember people who get salty and you'll quickly find yourself black listed. 
  3. Don't expect to have more than one thing signed and don't expect them to use your special glitter pen if they already have a pen in their hand. If you have some expensive merchandise that you want signed for display with a special pen (ex. silver pen on the black numbers) it should be worth it to you to wait for more controlled setting and possibly even pay a fee and stand in line at a signing to get exactly what you want. 

 

 

 


Edited by CatMan72, 18 July 2014 - 10:31 AM.


#5 BigBoss

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 11:20 AM

My advice. If you want an autograph, and you paid gas money to get there, do want you can to get one. Don't hit the children, but just remember, what did they sacrifice to get an autograph? You are older and will die sooner, therefore need to allowed these simple pleasures sooner than later so you can have some semblance of happiness to make up for all those hard hours you have worked through out the week (kids are on summer vacation, what work?) When I was 11, I had to tough my way next to some adults and I didn't complain, nor did they and we both got stuff signed.

 

Don't get me wrong, nothing against kids, I hope all end up getting some autographs. But why should they get it over you? Because their kids? psh. You've been standing out there in that blistering heat also, everybody deserves fair shot.

- Sincerely, somebody who is impartial



#6 thomas96

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 11:46 AM

My advice. If you want an autograph, and you paid gas money to get there, do want you can to get one. Don't hit the children, but just remember, what did they sacrifice to get an autograph? You are older and will die sooner, therefore need to allowed these simple pleasures sooner than later so you can have some semblance of happiness to make up for all those hard hours you have worked through out the week (kids are on summer vacation, what work?) When I was 11, I had to tough my way next to some adults and I didn't complain, nor did they and we both got stuff signed.

 

Don't get me wrong, nothing against kids, I hope all end up getting some autographs. But why should they get it over you? Because their kids? psh. You've been standing out there in that blistering heat also, everybody deserves fair shot.

- Sincerely, somebody who is impartial

 

No. Grown ass men should not care that much about an autograph. Kids look up to these players and should get theirs first.



#7 BigBoss

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 11:59 AM

To each their own! :)



#8 TalonNC

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 12:29 PM

Visit 1: Kids first..

Visit 2: I'll let a few kids in front

Visit 3: If i havent got my gloves signed ...sorry but **k a kid.. learn that there are winners and losers in life and today you take a L.

 

 

 



#9 KendrickPanther

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 01:46 PM

If someone really cares about getting an autograph they have every right to stand there looking silly with the children. Just don't be a jerk about it. Some parents use their kids for autographs and that is the same thing to me. They just avoid the shame of standing there begging someone younger than them for a second of their time.

 

Cam does not sign for every single person. On any given day there is 2-7 thousand people that would love to have a Cam Newton autograph. Waiting in the prime spots with nothing to do for hours helps your chances but it guarantees you nothing. I would gladly trade a signature to enjoy my day in the sun watching guys fight for their livelihood. Cam did say he prefers to sign for people that are excited, but don't make an ass of yourself.

 

In Gibbs Stadium Zod pointed out the prime Autograph side. This is true but in 2013 they taped off the best seats for "VIPs". There are still many good seats but the supply is much smaller than the demand. You must arrive early.

 

If you send your children into the fray, keep a close eye on them. Don't let them disrespect adults or other children. And don't let them get bullied. People go nuts for Autographs, my 5 year old was excited at first but soon became frightened. It can be a mele like that time Tom Cruise pulled that kid over a fence.

 

Watch your kids with the markers too. My 5 year old drew a line on her Panthers Jersey with a sharpie with all the pushing and shoving. Byron Bell took off his shoes to give to the kids and people started trying to push her out of the way. When she received the shoe she tried to put it on the ground because she is 5. So just keep an eye out for their behavior and safety.

 

Fair warning. Even the most excited kids lose interest during practice. If you are on the hill they will run around in packs like feral animals. Bringing a football or Frisbee to toss around is a great idea if they find some open space.

 

Some of the best days to go are during the rain. It's very relaxing. If you wear under armour type clothes then getting a little wet shouldn't bother you. Just leave the electronics in the car.

 

There are drinks and hot dogs on site. They are fairly low priced and fairly low quality. (relative to sporting events)

 

I would never recommend going to training camp with expectations for an autograph. There are just better ways to get them. Don't be the guy that drives 6 hours for an autograph and holds a grudge when you don't get one. Veterans sign the fewest autographs in my experience. 

 

She got this for being polite and encouraging.

4Ew4xUW.jpg


Edited by KendrickPanther, 18 July 2014 - 01:49 PM.


#10 Irv

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 02:06 PM

My understanding with training camp is that whatever Floppin does you do the opposite.



#11 Captain Morgan

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 02:25 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

She got this for being polite and encouraging.

4Ew4xUW.jpg

 

 

 

she is adorable.  Was she excited about getting a smelly shoe?



#12 PandaPancake

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 02:46 PM

she is adorable. Was she excited about getting a smelly shoe?


Can you blame her for putting down that shoe?

Also can I borrow her to get autographs?

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#13 ViaVeritasVita

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 04:36 PM

if i was not on a mission trip, i would be planning to be there for Fan Fest and as many practices as work would allow... alas... i was called away to El Salvador until August 6th. enjoy the festivities everyone!



#14 Mr. Scot

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 05:11 PM

Tip: Spartanburg is frigging hot.



#15 shelbypanther

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 09:48 PM

Wade's is definitely a solid place, best damned peanut butter pie you'll find anywhere, daggone good fried chicken and beef bbq hash too.

 

The Beacon lost JC, and basically lost its' appeal, which is sad, but the man was an icon and institution in the Upstate.  You can still get the usual heartburn eating there, but it just isn't the same, not by a longshot.




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