For fans, camp is a summer tradition


*The Steelers are celebrating their 50th training camp at Saint Vincent College this summer. As a part of that celebration, we will be sharing training camp memories from players, coaches, staff and fans, leading up to the start of the 2015 Steelers Training Camp.
It's a summer tradition for so many Steelers fans. Once training camp begins, they pack up and head to Saint Vincent College. Some coming from just minutes away in nearby Greensburg, while others fly across the country from California to sit on the hillside and watch the team practice at Chuck Noll Field.

Fifty years of Steelers football at Saint Vincent College.

There are children and grandparents, generations who grew up making training camp part of their summer vacation plans. They come decked out in jerseys, from the old school to the newest draft picks.

They line the sidewalk heading to the practice field, ready to snap a picture of their favorite player, get an autograph before or after practice, or just a high five and smile.

From the day camp starts in late July, until the final day, they come in droves, and have been doing so for years, with the numbers escalating in the 1970s and growing still today.

With this being the 50th season of holding camp at Saint Vincent College, some training camp regulars shared what they love about the entire training camp experience.

Ralph Calise, New York

"This is my 19th year at Steelers Training Camp. I really enjoy most meeting the players and coaches up close and personal after the practices. Everyone is so nice. The highlight for me was walking with Greg Lloyd, coming from the dorm area, after getting lost while walking around campus. It was my first year going there and he signed my jersey while I was walking with him.

"We always get there early and run for a good spot for autographs. Having Coach Mike Tomlin refer to my friend Greg Lepani and I as his 'Brooklyn Boys' when we told him that is where were from was amazing.

"I go every year knowing that the next year will bring something different or better while being in the presence of my favorite sports team, the Pittsburgh Steelers."

Samantha Wilhite, Ohio

"This year will be my seventh year coming to camp, something my parents do with us every year. All of training camp is awesome. However, my favorite part is getting pictures and autographs with Ben Roethlisberger.

"I go every year because it has become a family tradition for us. My family and I are diehard Steelers fans. Training camp is by far one of my favorite times of the year."  

Shari Bodin, Maryland
"The first time I went to camp was in 1995. From the moment you first drive down Monastery Road and see the church spires you know you are truly in a special place. Saint Vincent is the best training camp location in the NFL and it's as if it was pre-ordained that it would be the home of the NFL's team with the most championships.  You can feel the history and know that a lot of legendary Pittsburgh Steelers have walked where you get to walk. During the time that I have been coming, Saint Vincent's has changed but the college and the team have somehow managed to keep that wholesome, intimate setting that only Steelers fans truly know. From sitting on a hillside watching offensive linemen blocking to bruising running backs, spectacular catches and hard hitting defensive blows that echo. It is what football is all about to me. The hope of another championship starts there.*   *"The main reason for coming is the hope of seeing the beginning of a possible championship team. You can't beat the nostalgia and the energy that you feel because you know that the season is just around the corner.  It's the happiest football place on earth."

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