Seahawks training camp more than practice for fans

TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 29: Head coach Pete Carroll (L) of the Seattle Seahawks talks with quarterback Russell Wilson
TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 29: Head coach Pete Carroll (L) of the Seattle Seahawks talks with quarterback Russell Wilson /

Every season I look forward to how the team handles the Seahawks training camp experience for the fans. My experience on day two was excellent.

It was day two of eleven Seahawks training camp days open to the public. The team was beginning to gear up for the first preseason game versus the Los Angeles Chargers. As a season ticket holder, I have been given opportunities to attend camp every season. This is the seventh year I’ve been able to attend.

Each season, I look to see how the Seahawks training camp team does in terms of making it easy for us fans to navigate the journey. From the place we park our cars (Hawks Landing in Renton, normally) to the time we get back to our cars, we’ve been out in the sun for five-plus hours. I like to see how their guest service was. How did they manage the fans’ expectations, which range from ‘just wanting to be there to see our guys practice’ to ‘meeting them and getting an autograph’.

Overall, I would say that they have stayed pretty consistent with the way they have conducted business. Furthermore, I would say it was a fantastic experience where fans ages two and up can really enjoy themselves.

Here’s the process for getting into the Seahawks training camp and some tips

  1. Yes, you can still get tickets, just not through the team. Get them from a friend, or purchase them from a stranger at Hawks Landing or online. Be aware, some people are trying to sell their tickets for an exorbitant rate of $50 each! The face value, by the way, is a paltry $9 each. If you were a season ticket holder or on the Blue Pride list, you got an email about a month ago with your chance to purchase up to four tickets.
  2. The Hawks Landing folks, trying to alleviate their own liability, want you to get there after 6 a.m. The buses for the camp start to roll out at 8 a.m. I was there at ‘dark-thirty’ and there were about seven groups ahead of me. For the most part, they were all sleeping on chairs or quietly awaiting for the sun (and the doors) to come up.
  3. At 8 a.m. or so, the doors open at 910-C 10th Place, Renton. That is Hawks Landing, across from Regal Cinemas. Hopefully you parked in the garage and not on the side roads where the buses will park to take you up to the camp, right?

    You made it to the parking garage. Now what?

  4. If you are lucky (and good) enough to make it into line before the sun comes up, you will be able to go into the building to get your wristband at a leisurely pace. Otherwise, you’ll be ushered into the temporary Seahawks training camp building. There you will go through the security line where all fans will pass through a metal detector. The metal detector is a newer idea and makes the line go slowly for those who will get on the first or second buses. It is also a newer tactic meant to make it not such a frantic experience for those who waited in line since the sun was sleeping.
  5. Once you board the bus (front to back), you take a short 10-minute commute up to 12 Hawks Place where the good guys live on Lake Washington. There is no parking up there so don’t try to beat their system, they will tow you away. If the commute up to the camp is shorter than 10 minutes, you’ll be very lucky!

    You’re at the gate! Nirvana awaits!

  6. You then go off the bus and head to another line at the gate. If you’re on a bus that is past the first three or four buses, you head directly into the camp space. On your way to your final destination, there is a food truck and a pro shop with very good discounts on your 2017 Seahawks gear. Today, they had a flag that we all signed that will go directly to Paul Allen as a thank you for buying the team 20 years ago.
  7. Seating: if you are one of the lucky ones that got on the first few buses to the camp, you’ll make out like a bandit. As soon as they open the gates head to the fencing between fans’ seating and field. Plant yourself there until camp starts at 10 a.m. Wear comfortable shoes, but make sure they have good gripping soles. Otherwise you’ll slide on your rear end trying to hustle down the grassy knoll to the place where you’ll plant yourself. Trust me, it can be slick in the mornings.
  8. You watch the drills, one-on-one drills, and the group drills. Soon you’ll see the players begin doing their small (and light) scrimmaging. There is no physical contact at the first three days off training camp (you can thank the lawyers of the NFL players for removing that from the last Collective Bargaining Agreement).
  9. Finally, hopefully, if you are lucky the players will come over to the fence and you can politely ask them for an autograph. PLEASE DON’T EXPECT AN AUTOGRAPH AND YOU’LL LEAVE A HAPPY CAMPER if you actually get one. If you do get one, please thank them; they were in 80+ weather or worse and don’t have to be there signing autographs.
GAINESVILLE, FL – APRIL 9: Linebacker Ronald Powell
GAINESVILLE, FL – APRIL 9: Linebacker Ronald Powell /

Kudos for some great people

I would like to send kudos to today’s ironman, Ronald Powell. The second year linebacker stayed almost a full hour after practice signing autographs! Rookie defensive back Shaq Griffin almost outlasted Powell, but had to turn in about five minutes before Powell did.

Kudos to a few of the field team of the training camp staff. As the players were moving down the line to sign autographs, we were getting bumrushed into the fencing. I remember almost getting the life squeezed out of me a few years back when I was the last to get quarterback Russell Wilson’s John Henry. Today, they did a great job of asking 12s to take a step back, which protected this writer as well as some young kids who were standing next to me.

More kudos to the bus drivers who have to endure us loud and rightfully obnoxious 12s to and from the camp! They do a great job of making sure we get there safely (although the scuttlebutt was that one of the first buses on day one took a wrong turn and went south towards Tacoma rather than going north towards the camp…ooops).

Related Story: So how did our team look the second day of camp?

What a great way to connect with our Seahawks

Again, this is a very inexpensive opportunity to take the full family to a place where we all can enjoy our beloved team. It’s a great place to meet fellow fans of the championship Seahawks and to see old fan friends, even if it’s once a year. I have several 12s I call brothers or fellow 12s and it’s all because of Seahawks training camp. They don’t charge you to park and the $9 is a transportation fee. One day, perhaps they will open up the entire CenturyLink to a practice or two before opening day so that more of us can attend?

Please make sure to frequent one of the businesses at Hawks Landing. Get a small cup of coffee or indulge in a dozen donuts for you and your fellow 12s who are in line with you. Note: some of the restaurants will ask you to purchase something for you to use the restroom. Personally, I think that’s a small crock of …well…Panera is the only place I know that doesn’t charge you to go into their restroom. The parking garage restroom opens at 7 a.m.

Hope that helps you while you participate as a 12! This is our annual ‘retreat’ as a fan base and I hope you all get a chance to try this fun opportunity just for us! I really enjoy talking to the players, telling them that I am glad they are on our team and wishing them the best on the field for 2017!

Go Hawks!