I began writing this article, thinking of all the memories of every game I’ve been to – The one’s home and away. It was fun bringing up past highlights in my mind, but I kept going back to one game. The one game that started me down the path of truly becoming a die-hard Buccaneers fan! It wasn’t a playoff game. It wasn’t even a game with any significance. It was a preseason game against the New Orleans Saints back on Saturday, August 18, 1979! The Bucs won the game 14-7. I remember going home happy because we won, but I didn’t realize at that time the impact going to that game would have on me.
“The closer we got to it, the bigger it looked.”
My friend’s dad owned a restaurant called Quidos, and I was asked if I’d like to go. Of course, I did!! I got to my friend’s house, and we took a car to the restaurant. As we pulled into the parking lot, I saw this huge Winnebago (driveable camper), and my friend’s Dad said, “let’s go!” I remember the excitement as we drove to the stadium while talking about the Bucs and how I had watched every game on television. As we got closer to Tampa Stadium, I hustled towards the front as the driver yelled, “There it is!” I could only stare in awe at its magnificence. I saw the stadium lights poking up over the horizon, and I remember it so vividly as we drove down Dale Mabry towards the Old Sombrero. The closer we got to it, the bigger it looked. It looked like an ancient Roman coliseum or at least some type of gladiatorial arena.
“My adrenaline was flying!”
We pulled into the tailgating area and parked. I remember seeing four picnic tables filled with so much food! Hot dogs, potato chips, potato salad, and wings. If you name a restaurant food, it was probably there! I remember walking through the tunnel, and as I walked, I could see the field and the players warming up! My adrenaline was flying as we found our seats! I yelled and cheered the whole game so much so that I ended up getting a sore throat, but it was worth it!
“There are so many life lessons that I’ve learned throughout my fandom!”
I didn’t have a good childhood growing up, so I really only had two things that kept me going and out of serious trouble: God and my Bucs! To be honest, I really don’t have memories of the actual game; 1979 was a long time ago! All I know is that going to that game really started my dedication to my beloved team, and I went to every home game that I could scrape up money for! Win or lose – I just kept going and going! God used the Buccaneers to help me understand life and how to cope with disappointment, failure, and perseverance – It helped me get through it all! Football, to me, is way more than just a sport! There are so many life lessons that I’ve learned throughout my fandom!
Well, I hope you enjoyed my flashback to how my life was changed by being a Bucs fan and that it causes you to reflect on your moments, and how they have influenced your life!
As always, Go Bucs!