As you may know, Saint Vincent College is home to The Pittsburgh Steelers and has been since 1966, thanks to Steelers founder Arthur J. Rooney. Not only do we host Steelers Training Camp every year, but Men’s Fantasy Camp and Women’s Training Camp as well. These camps are a lot of fun for anyone who is a Steelers fan. Men and women get the opportunity to go through training camp similar to what the Steelers go through on the exact fields they use. Former players and coaches make appearances, the participants grow to become friends, they get a great workout and experience a day in the life of a Steeler. Event and Conference Services recently coordinated the men’s camp, while the women have their turn at the beginning of August.
As the event staff, we work with the Steelers to ensure a fun weekend for these fans. We provide accommodations for approximately 300 people in student housing. There are multiple pods (housing blocks with a common living area) per floor, and it seems to be the most fun way to house everyone. They all get to sit in the living rooms and hang out with each other as late as they please. We make sure that they are well fed for every meal at our cafeteria so they are ready to go for practice and satisfied after. We are lucky enough to reserve the football fields for the participants, so they get to train exactly where their favorite players do. They have a great time.
Check-in day is always a blast for this camp. Many of these men have been coming to Fantasy Camp for years and have formed great bonds. Helping them reconnect and seeing the excitement on their faces when they learn which buddy is in their pod is great. The lobby becomes filled with laughs and excitement. The men are in a fantastic mood, ready to receive their room assignments and keys. The greatest part of check-in is trying to act professional when you’re handing a real Steelers player his room key, pretending like you don’t even notice who is standing in front of you. Of course, once they leave all of us at registration giggle, look at each other with a grin and quickly get back to business.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Kevin Greene talks to the Men’s Fantasy Camp participants.
Seeing all of the fans dressed in black and gold from head to toe, ready to relive their glory days back when they would score the winning touchdown or make a great tackle, fills the entire campus with excitement. Seeing them on the field lets everyone know that it’s that time of year, where we get to host our favorite guys, the Pittsburgh Steelers, once again. I hope to see you all in August when the pros show up and we get down to business.