New Orleans Saints fans always look forward to the first day of training camp that is open to the public. No matter how hot it is, even if there is a chance of rain, Who Dats line up for miles to get into the “Shrine on Airline”. Some fans even camp out the night before which is a tradition for some families.
But this year, fans might be disappointed that there will be fewer opportunities to visit training camp. Official dates have not been set, but half of training camp will take place at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. This is not the first time the Saints have moved part of training camp. They were at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi and in California in 2009 and 2011, so they are used to different scenery for training camp.
But this is the first I have heard of an NFL team holding training camp at a resort. I am curious to see what the layout will look like. Will players be running routes on the golf course? Are team meetings going to be held in the hot tub? Will the team be treated to Country Club food for every meal? Sounds good to me!
The main reason behind the move is for a change in temperature. Each summer, the headlines always highlight the extreme heat, which can sometimes reach above 100 degrees. This can be tough on players and coaches, making it hard to focus and also a major health hazard. Not to mention the frequent summer thunderstorms in South Louisiana.
Why The Greenbrier, you ask? Sean Payton claims he fell in love with it while caddying for his buddy and PGA Pro Ryan Palmer last summer.
There are a quite a few benefits of moving training camp. The mild temperatures are a big help as far as getting players to be fully invested in practice. It also gives the team a chance to practice playing away from home and work on how they handle travel situations and away games.
For Saints fans that worry about not being able to see the Saints in action, do not fear. I believe the Saints will still stay in Metairie for the open portion of training camp. The team does deserve some private time, however, and I think a resort would be a great place for this. It will be similar to a retreat, which I think would be good for the Saints, especially since the team is very young this year. Some players could take the opportunity to mature and develop into leaders since several of the veterans are gone.
With Sean Payton in his element at The Greenbrier, he will be in high spirits; full of energy and a positive attitude. This will be contagious and the team will be ready for the season.
Rain or blazing heat, you can always count on Saints fans to be at training camp in their black and gold. Maybe the Saints will even find some black and gold fans in West Virginia this year.