I’ve always enjoyed football. I loved attending the games when I was a student at Bloomingdale HS. There is something magical and exciting: the bright lights, the rush in the air, the smell of warm french fries. I have never been to a real football game though. Well what I mean is a NFL or college game. Lucky for me a very sweet and gracious man (he knows who he is) offered two free tickets to see the Bucs vs. Atlanta Falcons two weekends ago.
I remember as a little girl my mom bought me an orange buc’s cheerleader costume with matching cream and orange pom poms. I loved that uniform and I still have it. Though the colors have changed I’ve always been a Bucs fan. Still not knowing what to expect I was a little nervous going to my first live game. I carefully selected my outfit: a red polo and white shorts. I asked Joe why he wasn’t wearing the Buc’s color. Looking at his shirt he remarked “but this is pewter.”
“Pewter?” I laughed at him. “Pewter isn’t a Bucs color.”
Joe shooed me away from the computer and did a Google search. He typed in “Bucs colors”. Pewter popped up. Whoops. My bad. Festive in our garb we headed over to Raymond James Stadium. I was ready for some football ya’ll!
My co-worker Elena lives a few blocks over from the stadium and she let us park at her house for free. Quick-stepping to the stadium, I saw a rush of people in herds heading to the game. Everyone showed support for the team. I saw lots of Bucs jerseys with the name of their favorite player on the back. People walked up and down the side-walk hawking or buying tickets. I clutched my tickets in hand, smiling. I was so grateful to watch a live Bucs game.
Finally we got up to the front of the stadium and patiently waited our turn in the chaotic and jagged line to have our bags checked. While we waited the NOAA Hurricane Hunters of Macdill Airforce Base flew did a fly over above us in the air. The crowd around me roared and cheered on as a trail of smoke was left in their wake.
Joe and I finally made it our seats. With an amazing view of the field I looked over at Joe and exclaimed, “We are lucky to have such marvelous seats!” Our seats were on the ground floor to the right of the goal post. I could see the players and cheerleaders in plain sight! (Thanks again to the man who gave us the tickets. What awesome seats we had!) The stadium was packed full of fans. I could already tell this was going to be lots of fun.
Most people view me as a girly girl. And I am. They would have never expected me in the bleachers at a football game yelling out, clapping, and cheering along with the crowd. Well in the most classy way possible I did such the thing. Every touch down the Bucs made I was up on my feet clapping. Missed a first down (yes I know what a first down is). You better believe I booed in disappointment.
Joe was your typical guy enjoying the game. He was even impressed that I knew what was going on and what team to cheer for. Ok, I am not that stupid when it comes to sports. Yes both teams have red but I do know some things about football like who the Bucs are. The helmet was a giveaway! Pssh…who does Joe think he is? This girly girl knows a thing or two about sports. Don’t ever doubt the blonds in pink, we’ll surprise you from time to time.
About ten minutes before half time Joe and I had stadium food for lunch. Between the cheering and the cold weather, those chicken fingers and french fries hit the spot. What is about concession stand fries? They are always so delicious! After the half time show performance which featured a group of adorable and sweet elementary school aged cheerleaders, we continued to watch the game into the 3rd and 4th period. There were a few tense moments as the Bucs held the lead.
I kept watching the clock waiting for our win. Then the Atlanta took the ball and scored a touch down, shooting them ahead. The Bucs fought hard to advance. I kept cheering them and had my fingers crossed.
Final score was 23 – 24. The Bucs lost by one point! I was so upset. Wiping the dirt off my white shorts I got up and shrugged away my disappointment. Cementing ourselves with the masses of red and white, we headed back to Joe’s truck. I wasn’t all that upset about the lose. I had a first class, incredible time at my first live NFL football game. I will definitely come back to another game.