The energy was at a fever pitch on Sunday morning as more than 300 ladies, decked out head to toe in Steelers apparel, took part in the Steelers Women’s Training Camp Presented by Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.
The annual event, held on the fields at St. Vincent College prior to the team’s practice, drew women from 20 states and Canada who know their football. In addition to doing drills, they watched the team’s highlight film and capped the day with practice.
“It really impresses me how much they know,” said former Steelers wide receiver Yancey Thigpen, who was among those conducting drills for the camp. “Being a Steelers fan my entire life, and traveling all around the world and seeing how many Steelers fans there are, this is impressive.
“I have experienced being around the real hardcore male Steelers fans, and I knew the team had an impressive female following, but this is huge right here. I have never been around so many loud, crazy and knowledge female Steelers fans.”
Thigpen, along with Matt Bahr, Edmund Nelson, Mike Schneck, Mike Tomczak and Craig Wolfley, along wiith members of the Pittsburgh Passion, taught the women not just the basics of the positions they played, but the finer points to give them a better overall understanding of the game.
“You learn something new each year,” said camp regular Susan Sampsell, originally from the Pittsburgh area but now living in Fairfax, Virginia. “They have different alumni every year that come and teach us. You can watch a football game and say now I know why they did that.
“Plus the camaraderie that we have here, the true fan support. These women know football better than most men I know. It’s lots of fun. I grew up a tomboy so I love this.”
Thigpen has conducted drills at the team’s Men’s Fantasy Camp in the past, but working with the ladies was a new experience and he enjoyed it.
“They are hyped,” said Thigpen. “They make a little more noise than the guys. It’s fun. It’s very interesting.
“You tend to not want to be so critical of the women. I am going to act like I am being tough, but I am really a creampuff out here with these ladies.”