Each year as the UTEP football team buses leave for Camp Socorro, it's made out to be a merry ride to a week or so of "nothing but football" and "team bonding."
I've not heard many players come back and say how much they liked it.
Coaches, back to the first Camp Socorro coach, Charlie Bailey, have shown the numbers that it doesn't cost more to spend time on the campus of New Mexico Tech than it does to spend it in El Paso. The football program, either way, has to house and feed the players. No, dorms aren't free.
Perhaps it costs UTEP some extra money in renting facilities? But it is a nice serene place - a lot of trees, a green golf course and much more cooling rain than around here in early August El Paso.
It used to be the team would have grueling practices away from the attention of fans and the like. That's why players hated it. And if newspaper reporters got a tad out of line with reports back home they were liable to be taped to a tree and left there a while. It was boot camp. It probably still is, although Coach Mike Price seems to have added some after-practice fun time.
All that said, I bet if you take a poll of players next week, the vast majority will have wished they'd stayed in El Paso and worked out at the Sun Bowl or Glory Field - and then had the early evening hours to roam free. Or later, if they didn't get caught.
Yes, the cost is about the same, here or there. The coaches get the undivided attention of about 100 guys - 24/7 if they really want to play drill sergeant. (Freshmen can't quit and go home from up there).
But the fact remains, I've never heard anybody say they can't wait to get back to Camp Socorro next year - except coaching staffs.