Come (Fantasy) Camping – The End

This entry was posted by on Friday, 21 June, 2019 at

Sunday morning they offered religious services for those who wanted to attend. Craig Wolfley would actually lead the non-denominational service himself. I slept in. I have no idea what attendance was like. Sunday was also the “combine competition” between the teams. I did not get all “geared up” like I did for Saturday. Between my hamstring and my general soreness, I did not plan on participating. I arrived at the cafeteria and found only 3 others at my table. 2 of them were completely hung over…the guys from Chicago. They talked about Sharkey’s and said after breakfast they were going back to bed. I guess they were not going to be of any help at the combine. I finished up and walked down to the field. Before I got hurt, I had wanted to compete in the WR competition. They would set the jugs machine to throw deep passes into the endzone. I thought this would be pretty cool.

 

I arrived down on the field and looked around for my team. Not finding anyone, I came across the guy who iced down the same time I did with the trainers. We got to talking. He was from the Philly area and his wife was in education too. We exchanged numbers, he was planning on definitely coming next year. The combine competition was about to begin. About the only thing I thought I’d be able to do was the QB challenge. I had hoped it would be a little more elaborate then a blow-up target with holes. It was the same one they use at the Steelers Fan Fest. I checked in with the intern running the event and no one from my team had entered. It started to rain a bit, they thought they might have to shut down the event due to the electric used to keep the target inflated. Hearing this I quickly jumped towards the front of the line. I would go third. There were several target holes, but I knew I would go for the 20 point one, the toughest one. There would be 4 throws. I did receive one warm up throw, it went too high. No problem. I got the distance. The first throw that counted went right into the hole, and somehow bounced out! I said, is this one of those carnival game where the ball doesn’t actually fit through? I was assured it would. Second throw, a little to the left…but the nose of the ball again made the target hole. Frustrated, this time I put more mustard on it. It went high. But it was very close. I took a little off on my last throw. It was almost the same exact results as the first. I got a nice little round of applause since I was pretty damn accurate. I just turned around and said, well if it were darts, I would have had a nice grouping. Disappointed I couldn’t rack up any points, and with the rain falling harder, I headed back to the dorms to pack up before the final gathering. Sure enough who joined me in the walk back? Tunch Ilkin. He joked, he spent plenty of time at St Vincent as both a player and with his radio show. He could just look up and tell if heavy rain was coming in. He said as a player they loved it to cool them off, while hosting his show…not so much.

I packed up my stuff and went to load the car. I had to shake my head and laugh at myself when I got there. Apparently, I got so caught up with meeting Dawson when I first arrived I never rolled up the driver’s side window. Two major rain storms went through Latrobe that weekend, and all of it seemed to go through that window. Luckily it was my wife’s car! On my next trip back to the car I brought towels from the dorm to dry everything off. My wife would find these towels a few days later in the back seat and I had to confess. I went back and dropped off the dorm key. I had the same feeling I had when I left college for good in 1988. I drove the car over to the reception area for one last gathering.

 

I saw the guy I talked to from the field earlier, and he invited me over to his table. There was another guy there too, he was from Ohio. He had been to the camp a few times before. Wolfley started the festivities by saying they had a lost and found and accumulated quite a few lost items. I shouted out “Did you find my hamstring?” That got a pretty good laugh from the crowd. Lunch was served buffet style. I will say the food was good all weekend long. I settled back at the table and they were raffling off autographed memorabilia. One of the items that came up was a Cam Heyward autographed helmet. The numbers were read, nope not even close. However, I barely had time to dwell in my disappointment as the next item, a Jerome Bettis autographed helmet matched my ticket number! Damn, I won something. As I went up to grab my prize, I had an idea. Maybe the guy who won the Heyward helmet would want to swap. I went over and asked, but I am not sure he believed me. He was definitely getting the better of the deal. His friend next to him said take it, you are getting a Hall of Fame’r. I showed the guy my Facebook profile pic of me in my Heyward jersey. I actually wore that jersey the first night at camp too. The guy eventually switched, but I got a sense he either thought he was being taken, he really didn’t care, or had no idea who Heyward or Bettis were. Anyway, I got the helmet I wanted.

It was all soon over, and the gentleman who runs the Fantasy Camp for the Steelers closed it out with “see you all again next year”. With that, I said my goodbyes to the guys at my table. I prepped myself for the long ride home. God, I hate the GW Bridge.


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