Sunday, August 21, 2011

2011 Patriots Training Camp - Another Photo Essay

One thing that always seems to get the kids excited includes a confined area games of skill and bouncy houses.  Whether it's a friend's birthday party or the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, I can always count on at least an hour of fight-less, whine-less exuberance.  That's great - a nice day, a little exercise, no yelling about video was all good.  Throw a couple of footballs to cloth receivers and everyone willb e tired tonight.

The New England Patriots 2011 Training Camp wrapped up this weekend, and with the promise of the same bouncy houses that provide the kids hours of entertainment, we just had to go.  Maybe we'll see newcomers Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco and Shaun Ellis, along with Tom Brady and Wes Welker...who knows.  What follows is the JMR picture essay - so successfully executed in the Three Sheets to Epcot Center journal from last year - but refined into the photojournalist equivalent of Pulitzer prize winning visuals.

You got it.  The Welcome sign as we walk around the field.  This sign was ignored by the usher who yelled at us for mistakenly heading into the VIP section of the seats - in the end zone of all places.  She then proceeded to scold us for turning the wrong way into the press area.  For crying out loud!  Give me a break, lady.

Our first stop was the autograph tent.  The Patriots Cheerleaders thought they recognized the person taking the photograph here, but I told them that it wasn't me.  I then shuffled my daughter in between the Cheerleaders.  They proceeded to tell DLG that she was beautiful and wrote that  she should "Keep Dancing."  This made her day, least until she had to take a picture with Pat the Patriot later on.

G, who was standing in line with me, didn't want to take a picture with the Cheerleaders, but definitely wanted to take a picture with Joe Andruzzi.  When G told the former offensive lineman that he wanted to be a running back on his Pop Warner football team, Andruzzi's response was "Stick with the Offensive line, son."  That smile turned upside down pretty quick after that.  Seeing the sad look on his face Andruzzi then told him he could play what ever position he wanted so long as he worked hard.  Obviously he has young children with that deft handling of the 7 year old ego.

This is what we saw a LOT of.  Players milling around, not doing much.  It makes perfect sense.  I could have been a scout for the Jets for all they knew, don't give any plays away.  Bill Belichick didn't seem concerned either way as he was gabbing with an assistant almost the whole time that we were out there.   A couple of things to note - Brandon Tate and Edelman took a lot of the punt snaps.  Danny Woodhead was NOT out there (his head was probably still ringing from that hit the other night).  And Haynesworth was out there looking kind of spry.  Who knows what that all means?

These are pictures of three children who are all able to throw the football better than Wes Welker - Jesus.  We were watching Brady and Welker warming up as the Special Teams were out on the field working on punt coverage.  Welker would catch the ball and then shot put it back to Brady.  Even C remarked that Welker seemed to throw a little "girlish" - and this with his sister throwing the football in a flowery dress.  One thing LC noticed was that Brady seemed much taller in person.  Assuming she wasn't swooning, I wanted to remark it was the male Uggs that added a couple of inches.

We watched some practice and ran through some obstacle course style of bouncy houses.  Everyone was having fun at this point.  But this photograph was actually our signal that our time was up and that our window was closing.  I had to cajole C into taking this picture.  G literally ran away from me and DLG hesitantly took the picture but only if Mom was standing next to her.  Even then, the tears welling up in her eyes subtly indicated to me that she was unhappy.  When I asked it it was time to go, I received four enthusiastic "yes." 

Luckily for us, after watching a little more practice, we hit the road.  Not 5 minutes after getting inside to our next destination, the rains came.  Lucky us.  All those people we saw in Autograph Alley though scattered like ants when their hill was disturbed.  People were waiting in line when we got their at 11:30.  We got the restaurant at 3 and the line was still queued up.  Then just like that, the autographs were gone.

Any way, we all jumped in the car and tried to dodge the raindrops with varying degrees of success.  And the hall mark of the kids having a good time, they asked me if they could go again tomorrow.  I had to explain to them that Camp is just a couple of days long and today was the last day.  We then talked about the Patriots for the next 15 minutes. 

And another season begins.

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