My Trip to Tampa
I got the call from Captain Pye last WednesdayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦.two tickets on the goal line, twenty rows off the field in Tampa. Deep in the funk of a sinus infection, I hardly gave it a second thought. I live in Atlanta, my wife is 7 months pregnantÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦.not a practical trip to see a bad football team.
On the way into the doctorÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s office, I was hit with a different kind of fever. I had to see the Saints on Sunday. I called the wife for permissionÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦..green light. I called Captain Pye and told him to get the tix. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s a go. A few days to get well and I would make the drive Saturday afternoon. One last crazy football trip before I assume the prestigious title of DAD.
Captain Pye is a man that Saints fans can all relate to. Born in NOLA, there is no NFL, there are only the Saints. He is giddy after wins and suicidal after losses. My friend since 1st gradeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦..heÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s the one who drug me from being a casual observer of Saints football to joining the masochistic ranks of the die hards. He lives in Tampa now and I knew we were in for a wild Sunday. My sickness gave way to excitement Saturday morning and I hit the road.
Saturday night we attended a party full of Bucs fans to root for the Falcons. (It was very hard to doÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦at least I got to see Vick get smeared a couple of times.) Good party, great food (shrimp Creaole and collared greens, a perfect warmup for Sunday), cold beerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦it was nice. We all scream for Jake, but that was a bad throw at the end of the game.
We arrived at Raymond James around 2. It was absolutely perfect out. Blue skies, sixty degrees and windy. OUTDOOR FOOTBALLÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦it should be a law. My long sleeve saints T and gold Deuce jersey were just what the doctor ordered. We sat on the bed of the truck and started guzzling cold Corona. We noticed early on that there would not be many Saints fans. There couldnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t have been more than 200 in the entire stadium. We got our buzz on and hit the stadium.
We were seated in a sea of red. Looking all around, I saw one Saints fan. The taunting started early: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“Saints SuckÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“Sorry about your LuckÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“Thanks for comingÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“BOOOOOOOÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬?. Captain Pye and I had a talkÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦.stay quiet, root conservatively, weather the storm. Drunken passion could get us poundedÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦.keep your head on. The national anthem was fantasticÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦.the flyby was simply amazing. I had the pregame jitters, but I had my game face on.
When I saw Stecker break the line, my jaw dropped. He was running toward us. I checked the field for flags before he crossed midfield. Awesome return. No taunting from me, just a fist pump and a hug from the Captain. It would be a long day and I knew we had to keep it close to the vest. The Bucs quickly answered. What is TebuckyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s football IQ? Five yards out of bounds and heÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s throwing shoulders. How I miss Sammy Knight.
7-7 just a few minutes in.
Our offense was awful. It hurts to watch McCarthy call a game. Third and 14? How about a draw for 2 yards. He never moved the pocket, Brooks was under pressure all day. He looked confused. He threw to his check down guy every other play. He canÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t see the field and Mike just keeps sticking him in the pocket throwing slants. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s nauseating. 99.5 percent of our offense occurs within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage. Tampa just had their ears pinned back creeping closer to stop Deuce. The young D and linebacking core are starting to play better albeit against a couple of mediocre offenses. They kept us in the game and thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s all you can ask.
When CarneyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s kick sailed right, I figured we were cooked. In his defense, the wind was howling right to left, but he is a pro and that was only 37 yards. Captain Pye looked sick. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“LetÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s goÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? he said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s not over yetÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? I said, unconvinced. Then, the little beerman you have to love made a play. Horn nabbed another TD and we were in business. The stadium got quiet after coming alive half an hour earlier on GallowayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s return. You could feel the big Mo shift.
When I saw the ball pop out of PittmanÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s hand, I went crazy. Then, I saw the replay and knew that we still had time to make a stop. IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢m still not convinced that it was a fumble. Hey, we got a call. A couple hundred more and weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ll be even. During the review, a fan made the crying face at me from a couple of rows up. I tried to stay calm, but I wanted to pound him. Everyone thought it would be overturned. Not this time. My top finally blew. I was countless beers in and simmering with football fury. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“Turn around and show me how to cry again buddy!!!ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬? Strangely, he just sat down. We went down and put it in. It was amazing. Brooks capped another awful day with stats that will look respectable to anyone who didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t see the game. He made the throws when he had to, I have to give him that. They got the ball back with a half minute left, but I knew they were done. The stadium was half empty before the kick, proving my theory of those bandwagon jumping pansies in Tampa. Grow a pair and support your team, ladies. I told Captain Pye that I was preparing my road celebration. I saw the hand reach for Griese and down he went. Six seconds and counting. Teeth gritted, I assumed the gorilla pose, nearly foaming at the mouth. I ran up the stairs through the Tampa faithful. An older fan put his finger in my face. Him: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“They held Rice all dayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬?. Me: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã…Â“Good. They held Grant all day.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬?
Now for the victory dance. Captain Pye laid back to watch the show. Saints cap backwards, off with the shirt. Barechested with Deuce jersey held in my right fist, I broke into a full on drunken sprint, juking Bucs fans through the concession area. I never said a word, just ran like an idiot through them as they walked down the exit ramp. I could have run over any of them at that pointÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦I had the fury. I ran all the way to the truck and waited on the Captain. When he arrived, he was still laughing. He got to see and hear all of the reactions to the drunk, shirtless Whodat who had just gone whistling by.
Two cold Coronas leftÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦we enjoyed our victory beers and set out for the team bus to meet some players. The Saints fans and family gathered, singing and taunting. It was great, a small but spirited crowd. I got five autographs on my hat highlighted by Grant and Horn. Captain Pye shook HornÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s hand. I met Bentley's brother Kenyatta who seemed like a really good dude. It was great. What a day. Afterward, it was Mexican food and a Strawberry Margarita, followed by some of the worst bowling IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ve ever seen.
All in all, the Saints are frustrating, erratic, confusing and just plain hard to watch. But on this night, the football Gods smiled on those lovable losers from the Big Easy. Captain Pye and I have had many crazy nights, but this one was right up there. It was an absolute blastÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦.the most satisfying win IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ve seen. (I still wonder how we can look so good for five minutes and so bad the rest of the timeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦..I guess thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s just the way it is.)
Stat of the day: Saints record in away games attended by Captain Pye and Yasoon: (3-0).
We donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t deserve it, but weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ve got a shot at the postseason. Atlanta will sit their starters and we may just get a win this Sunday. HmmmmmÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â¦.CharlotteÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s only 3 hours away ;)
My Trip to Tampa
Great post Yasoon! That was a great sum up of the game. Me and my best bud of 20 years have realized driving 45 minutes to see the Saints game on TV was bad luck, so we have a new tradition. After we traveled 12 hours, stayed in a 10x10 nasty hotel room in the Quarter, spent outrageous amounts of money on tickets and gas, just to see out Saints get manhandled by the Panthers. Scary thing is, me and my bud have only missed 5 games this year, San Fran, Oakland, Kansas City, Dallas, Tampa. Call me crazy, but don;t worry guys, we sure as hell wont be watching this weekend against Atlanta. Is it Karma, is it a curse, who knows, but I will be as far away from the Saints as I can be. I\'ll take one for the team as long as the Saints put one in the \"W\" column.
My Trip to Tampa
Running through Tampa fans shirtless in a drunkin celebration.
I don\'t think I\'m allowed to say what I would give up to see that.
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