The New York Jets begin training camp here at SUNY Cortland in upstate New York with their first two practices on Friday. And as a Jets fan, you may be thinking, "I want to go to training camp, but Cortland? I don't even know where that is."
Cortland, N.Y., is about a 3½-hour drive from the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J. It's conveniently located off of Interstate 81, in between Binghamton and Syracuse.
The Jets will be using three fields during their three weeks at Cortland. One of the main fields is being worked on by Blake Hoerr and his fields and grounds department, so the Jets will be practicing primarily at the start on SUNY Cortland Stadium's Sprinturf field that the Cortland Red Dragons use for games.
All practices from Friday's two sessions through Aug. 21 are open to the public. The 6,000-seat bleachers look a bit different from Hofstra Stadium's 15,000 capacity where the Jets occasionally practiced in the past, but they provide for an up-close view of the players.
The Jets will also cater to families with their Generation Jets Fest interactive theme park and with the Jets Shop merchandise tent.
As far as football conditioning, Sal Alosi's strength and conditioning department has set up an entirely new weightroom near the stadium, with all the equipment from their training center weightroom, so that players can stay in shape through the painful yet revealing three weeks.
Despite the call for some rain in this land of hills 1,130 feet above sea level, the buzz is all around this town of 18,500.
Garry VanGorder, the executive director of the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce, said it's estimated that the three-week camp will bring nearly $4 million in to the economy of Cortland.
"We hope to give people an emotional lift when they visit Cortland and convince them that we have a lot to offer," VanGorder said. "Maybe some will even decide to get a summer home here."
Cortland has five golf courses, and they are less expensive to play than those closer to New York City. The summer brings festivals, live music, and sport camps such as lacrosse, State Cup soccer, AAU basketball tournaments, and the game between Cortland and Ithaca College for the Cortaca Jug, one of the most prominent matchups in Division III football.
Lisa Lupi, from Hollywood Restaurant, said that they have increased their staff for the next three weeks. Jodi Bell, also with the restaurant, says she will be attending practices on her days off.
The local hot spot, the Red Jug, is prepping more than ever for the Jets arrival, indicated by its signage all over town. "We have created T-shirts, banners and Jets-themed drinks for this highly anticipated event," said Red Jug owner Aaron Gray.
One Jets fan who goes to school here but lives on Long Island is ecstatic. "I've been attending Jets training camp at Hofstra ever since I was a child," he said. "I'm glad they'll be coming up here now that I'm a Cortland student."
The entire campus has been awaiting the arrival of the players, staff, and fans. Pete Koryzno, the college's director of public relations, is ready for things to kick off.
"We have been working around the clock to determine the Jets needs," Koryzno said. "We're confident that we have met them and that the three weeks will be a success."
So, fans, take a cue from Kevin James, "the King of Queens" and a Jets fan from Stony Brook, Long Island, who once played fullback for the Red Dragons. Come on up to Cortland and show your support for the Green & White.