Panthers training camp 2013: Your primer for Spartanburg

Streeter Lecka

Are you going to Panthers training camp this year? If you answered yes to that question, please consult this handy guide to make your trip memorable.

In case you haven't heard yet, Panthers training camp is just around the corner. It starts on July 25th, to be exact. That's when the team reports to Wofford College for another fun-filled three weeks of practice, team bonding, fan interaction and miscellaneous shenanigans.

The first practice is on the 26th, which is a Friday. If you're interested in attending with your fellow CSR members, we will host our second annual meet-up on the 27th and 28th. If you'd like more details on the plans we have for our meet and greet, you can consult the official CSR Training Camp Meet-Up Page for all the information you will need to come meet your favorite CSR superstars (read: me).

If you're planning to visit training camp during the CSR meet-up or any other time, it would probably help if you knew a few things about Spartanburg, such as where Wofford College is located, where to eat, which hotels you can sleep in and what the weather will be like. That's what this handy guide is for, so be sure to bookmark this page in your internet browser of choice for future reference.

Locating Wofford College

Wofford College is located close to the center of Spartanburg and is easily accessible from several streets in the city, such as Pine Street and East Main Street (or WO Ezell Blvd, depending on which side of town you're on). Below are directions to the college, from the Panthers official website:

From Atlanta via I-85 North - Take I-85 North to exit 72 (I-585). At the end of the exit ramp, turn right toward Spartanburg. Cross over Business I-85. I-585 becomes Pine Street into Spartanburg. After crossing over Business I-85, turn right onto Twitty Street and into training camp at the second stoplight. Free parking is provided at the top of the hill on the right of Twitty Street. The practice fields are on the left.

From Charlotte via I-85 South - Take I-85 South to exit 72 (I-585). At the end of the exit ramp, turn left toward Spartanburg. Cross over Business I-85. I-585 becomes Pine Street into Spartanburg. After crossing over Business I-85, turn right onto Twitty Street and into training camp at the second stoplight. Free parking is provided at the top of the hill on the right of Twitty Street. The practice fields are on the left.

And, here's a virtual map of the school grounds from Panthers.com in PDF format.

Note: You can also consult Google Maps to get directions from your current location, or you can use your GPS if you're one of those fancy rich people who don't know how to read a map.

Where to stay in Spartanburg

You should probably stay in a hotel. I don't recommend that you sleep on the ground outside the practice facility. Team officials will probably frown upon that, and it's just a bad idea unless you're a squirrel or something. (You're not a squirrel, are you?)

Here's a map with hotels near Wofford College:


View Larger Map

Note: You're not required to choose any of these hotels. They are merely a suggestion for you because I'm a nice guy.

If you're the kind of person who likes to avoid hotels but still needs a place to stay for a few nights, you can rent a cabin at Pine Ridge Campground. It's located just outside of Spartanburg in the booming metropolis of Roebuck, and it's only a 15 minute drive from Wofford. It's also owned by a member of CSR, so if you want to skip the hotel scene you can still spend a few nights in the Spartanburg area while supporting a fellow CSR member at the same time. Plus, according to their website they have ice cream on site. How can you say no to that?

Where to eat in Spartanburg

One thing that Spartanburg does have is an abundance of restaurants. There are literally millions of them...LITERALLY!

If you're a first time visitor to Spartanburg, I highly recommend that you eat at The Beacon. It's one of the most legendary places in Sparkle City, and everyone should eat there at some point in their lives. Pro tip: eat at The Beacon AFTER practice. Trust me, you don't want to be sitting in the stands with all those people in the Spartanburg summer sun with a load of Beacon Chow in your belly. It's just a bad idea, unless you're into vomiting.

There are plenty of other places to eat and drink, including but not limited to the following: The Mellow Mushroom, Wild Wing Cafe, RJ Rockers and Delaney's Irish Pub. There's also a new place in Spartanburg called Monster Subs that's owned and operated by a fellow CSR member, so if you want a sub sandwich I would recommend you check him out.

Here's a map with restaurants near Wofford College:


View Larger Map

Note: Again, you're not required to eat at any of these establishments. You can pack a sack lunch of PB&J if you want. This is just me being a nice guy again.

The weather in Spartanburg

This is the fun part of training camp -- dealing with the weather. I'll just say it bluntly: it's hot in Spartanburg during the summer, y'all. And when I say hot, I mean HOT.

Picture this:

You're sitting among thousands of fellow humanoids on a metal bench that's directly under the sun. In fact, the sun is literally sitting on your shoulders as you sit on that bench. You're sweating, but the sweat isn't evaporating -- it's just sitting there, hanging out on your body like it's ironically in some kind of hipster night club with all its sweaty friends. You feel like your chest is being held in a vise because the air is so dense that it just grips you and hangs on, clutching for its life as you try to escape its grasp.

Your posterior region feels as if it's sitting in a boiling cauldron of ball sweat and tears while cannibalistic hell demons wait for your body to reach medium well. You search for water, but there is none to be found. You cry out to the heavens begging for relief, hoping against all hope that a rain cloud will suddenly appear out of thin air; you know in your mind that it won't happen. You get desperate. You search for shade to get out of the blazing ball of fire that you used to call the sun, but now it's "that asshole in the sky who won't go away". There is no shade, man. There is no shade. You start to cry. You don't even care about football anymore. You hate the Panthers for having their training camp in this sadistic hell hole they call Spartanburg.

You cry out to the heavens begging for relief, hoping against all hope that a rain cloud will suddenly appear out of thin air; you know in your mind that it won't happen.

But your loyalty makes you stay. You figure they can't practice too much longer. I mean, it's only the third day of practice, right? So you deal with it. You complain to the guy sitting next to you the whole time though, and eventually he starts complaining too. It finally gets to the point where y'all want to punch each other in the face. You bond. You exchange Twitter handles and start tweeting cute stuff like "hanging out in the heat with my new friend @XX_Panthers_Rule_4eva_XX". You start to hate your new friend because he isn't sweating as much as you. You get jealous. You stop talking to him, and you start bargaining with God for relief. "I'll stop being an asshole if you make the heat go away," you'll say. "Please, I'm begging you. Make it go away!"

He won't listen.

Your relief finally comes when practice is over. Now you're drenched in sweat and tears and you curse every person and thing around you as you waddle to your car. You're waddling because once you tried to take your first step you realized that the back of your legs are sun burnt from being exposed to the searing hot metal for three hours, and the front of your legs are sun burnt from being exposed to the sun. "Why didn't I bring sunblock?" you'll lament, only seconds later you realize that you DID bring sunblock -- it just wasn't strong enough to keep the sun from leaving its thumbprint on your scorched body.

You make it to your car and turn on the air conditioner. You breathe a sigh of relief once you figure out that you will survive. You promise yourself that you'll never come back to this god forsaken place because no one should have to suffer this much to watch a bunch of grown men play football when they don't even keep score.

Do you mean it when you say you'll never return? Of course not. Will you be back tomorrow? You bet you will -- you're a Panthers fan, after all.

And that, my friends, is what July/August weather is like in Spartanburg.

Well, that pretty much covers everything you need to know about going to training camp in Spartanburg. Remember, the CSR meet-up will be the first weekend of camp -- the 27th and 28th -- so if you're going to be there that weekend be sure to look for us. We'd love to meet you!

Editor's note: Wofford College photo courtesy of Panthers.com

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