Jul 24, 2014; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan speaks to the media following training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
It’s Saturday morning and the alarm goes off at 7:30AM capping off a night of little sleep. I get my Jets stuff on and bring my backpack and it is off to Cortland, NY. Unfortunately I live in Eastern Long Island (exit 62 off of the Long Island Expressway) and a long day awaits. Going up to Jets’ training camp with my Dad is a yearly tradition as I have written about often and one that I cherish, but the Jets are starting to put a strain on the fun of this ritual.
After a couple of rest stops, lunch at the infamous Roscoe Diner and plenty of satellite radio we make it to the hotel in Syracuse around 2PM. Unpacking and a small time to relax come and go before it is time to head to Cortland. We arrive at the facility at 4:30PM and wait on the line then go hold seats at 5:15 for the 7:15 scrimmage. The scrimmage lasts about an hour and 15 minutes before it turns into autographs and fireworks (neither of which strike my fancy). After a brief stop at one of the few remaining A&W restaurants for a root beer float we get back to the hotel at around 10PM. A write-up of last night’s scrimmage took almost 2 hours (which you can find here), then time to unwind and sleep before waking up at 7AM again.
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After breakfast, it was back on the road for another long journey home. I got home at 3PM. I am exhausted right now. So to recap, including stops, meals and the like we were on the road for nearly 14 hours to see a scrimmage that lasted an hour and 15 minutes. With a hotel room, meals, and gas the trip cost around $400. Again for just an hour and 15 minutes of football. This isn’t just my experience, this is the experience of many of those attending.
It is time for the Jets to come home for training camp. If they want to get away from the player’s homes in New Jersey than come to SUNY Stony Brook on Long Island. It has good facilities, is off the beaten path and selfishly for me only 15 minutes from home. I think practically the best way to go is to just use their state-of-the-art facility that they built in Florham Park. Most teams have gone away from traditional camps and back to their own facilities because they have the whole set up they need already there. There is no need to transport things or to recreate an atmosphere they already have.
Rex Ryan likes his teams to build chemistry by sharing a dorm room and being away from home so Stony Brook (who already put a bid in to host training camp in 2009 and last year) would be his choice. Florham Park would be best for the organization but either way Cortland’s charm has worn off for me and it is time to move back home for the Jets.