5 tips on a family fun day at Bucs training camp
The Tampa Bay Bucs are trying to improve on their season last year when they made it to the playoffs but ultimately lost to the eventual Super Bowl champs, the New York Giants. The team has taken up residence at the Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World for training camp through this Thursday, Aug. 14 (preseason got off to a good start with a win this past weekend). And like spring training in baseball, this is your opportunity to see the players a little up close and personal. We asked Joe Smith, a sportswriter for the "Times," to give us a little inside knowledge on how to make your trip over to training camp good for you and your kids. -- Sherry Robinson
SIGNING SPOTS – The best time to get autographs is after the morning practices, which typically end around 11 a.m. The optimal spot is along the green fence in front of the grandstand bleachers, which overlook the practice field closest to the baseball stadium. Selected players will be signing there each day. Another place, where you can take your chances, is along the gate behind the stands, closest to the lockerroom.
BEST SEATS – The covered bleachers by the first practice field give you shade, but the seats in the end zones on each field often bring you closer to the action.
SNACK TIME – There are concession stands behind the seats in the end zone, but you can also grab a burger at the Wide World of Sports Café, which is a short walk from the field and includes a kids menu.
WAYS TO BEAT THE HEAT – There are shady spots in the bleachers, as well as tree covered areas on the sidelines of the back practice field. But if you want a quick breather, take a step inside the air conditioned basketball gym, which is next door. Always remember to have your sunscreen, a hat and stay hydrated.
FAN OF THE DAY – Each morning, the Bucs mascot (a sword-wielding pirate named Captain Fear) will pick a kid as Fan of the Day. The winner will have an opportunity to get an autograph and photo with Jon Gruden, and interact with some players as they come off the field.
- Joe Smith, Times staff writer