We all remember our firsts. Our first day of school. Our first day of college. Our first NFL game. Our first training camp. I had plenty of first days of training camp growing up as a coach's son, player and coach myself, but it wasn't until 2007 when I was afforded the opportunity to see my first NFL training camp practice at the Houston Methodist Training Center. Suffice to say, I was a bit jacked up about being there that day. When that day was over, I knew it was a day I'd never forget. When I joined the Texans, I vowed I would share my first training camp story before the start of training camp every single year. With this being my last Daily Brew before the start of training camp on Wednesday, please join me for the annual retelling of the day…
Sean and John were asked to move the goal posts.
So, John is me, of course, and Sean is the esteemed Sean Pendergast, longtime outstanding radio host on our flagship SportsRadio 610. In 2007, as mid-to-late 30 somethings, we both moved back to Houston to start our radio careers together on a brand new radio station. Training camp practice was slated to open on a Saturday, in the morning, say around 8 am or so. Neither of us had been to a training camp practice or an NFL practice, for that matter, so we were a bit eager to say the least.
The night before we sat down for our quick travel plan.
"Okay, practice is at 8. It's about 12-15 minutes over to the Teal Lot near the practice facility."
"But, hey, remember traffic, too." one of us brilliant newbies proclaimed. Ah yes, of course, that vaunted Saturday morning traffic in Houston, right?
"Alright, so, let's meet here at 6:15 and that should get us there on time."
Oh, we got there on time...in about 10 minutes from when we left the station. We pull into the Teal parking lot like Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo at Wally World at approximately 6:25 am. Of course, we look at each other like "we're a couple of idiots." But, we were at least there and wouldn't be late.
We then closed our eyes to get a few winks because, well, we now had nearly 90 minutes before practice even kicked off and what else do you do to kill time? It was about ten minutes later that I heard this huge F-150 truck pull up alongside me. The guy motioned to me to roll down the window and I looked at Sean like "you know, this is how most horror movies start, no?" Regardless, I rolled down the window.
"YOU GUYS HERE TO PUT UP THE GOAL POSTS?"
It was about the last thing I thought he was going to ask, so I couldn't come up with a witty answer or anything clever, which I regret to this day.
"No, sir, that's definitely not us. We're just a bit early. We're media."
Then, he doubled down.
"Yeah, pal, I'm sure."
Five minutes later, we saw that guy walk over to erect some sort of goal post mechanism. He then drove off with a job well done.
On the first day of training camp every year, Sean and I remind each other of that story. The more I tell it, the more it'll change over the years, of course. Last year, the first tweet I saw when I woke up at 5:15 am was whether I had left for the Stadium yet...from Sean, of course.
"15 minutes, bro." I responded. I mean, who else is going to put up the goal posts?