We are big football fans. And by "big" I mean HUGE.
So imagine my sheer delight when Jen from the local Make a Wish office called. She said they had some tickets for the upcoming preseason game of the Buccaneers versus the Patriots and would we like to come? Duh. The only question would be how many tickets.
I knew the little kids wouldn't have a clue what was going on but I also didn't want them to miss out on such a cool opportunity. I also knew my Dad and nephew would like to go too so we ordered the tickets and waited 2 long days until it was time for the game!
During that time, I did "football school" for the little kids. I told them about the lines on the field and some of the major things they'd see/hear at a game. They were excited.
We all arrived in our Buccaneer's shirts. (It was at that point that Jen saw us and realized she'd called the right family she said.) They then gave us all a new t-shirt to wear (Zoe still wears hers every night as a pj top). And we headed in. We had Manny in his wheel chair as he has a lot of supplies. He went in through the "handicap access" gate and they were very sweet and kind to us. The rest of the family headed up the escalator and Manny and I went up the elevator. In the elevator, there was a volunteer for guest services who immediately started to help us. We didn't ask for help ... he just offered. He arranged for me to have a seat near the group where he could stay in his wheelchair if we wanted. And if not, we'd at least have a place to park his chair.
What we were completely unprepared for was ... the tickets from Make a Wish were on the goalline ... FRONTROW! There probably wasn't a better seat in the house!
I'd never been to a pro game before ... and neither had my dad "Papa". He was the one who had taught me the love of the game and he looked like he was in "awe" of the whole situation. We were sooo glad we got to share this very cool experience with him!
I spent part of the time up top with Manny in his chair and the second half of the game on the front row holding him. We chatted with cheerleaders and Captain Fear. We waved at reporters and players. We had people throw beads at us (it's a pirate thing). We were so close it felt like we could hear the players talking! We saw Tom Brady in a huddle right in front of us. (The next play was a very cool sack by the way!) We all sat there with our jaws on the ground trying to absorb the moment.
The kids? They thought it was cool but had no clue just HOW cool the whole thing was. The magnitude was lost on them but that's OK. They enjoyed it for a while. And now they've actually started watching a few games with us on TV.
It eventually started to drizzle... just enough to need our rainjackets that we brought and just enough to drop the temperature enough to make it pleasant. The breeze was just right. The night was perfect.
We stayed until the very last snap of the game. We didn't want to miss even one play. And we didn't.
I cannot begin to express my thankfulness for this really cool experience for our family. We don't even know who to thank from the Bucs exactly but we're grateful nonetheless. Thanks to the Make a Wish local office for thinking of us.
And if you would like to see the pics from the night, there are a few highlights on this link.
Thanks for the memories!!