My first game experience was as an 11 or 12 year old. Our inaugural season... my uncle took me to see us take on the Bucs in Clemson at Death Valley. I remember driving in thinking how awesome all the tiger paws covering the campus roads were. We got there, he met with some friends and we tossed a football around before the game. I remember his friends had a really hot, slightly older daughter, and she seemed to take a liking to me, at least that's how it played out in my head, lol.
Gametime, and we were sitting a few rowsdown from the very top of the stadium, lol... needless to say, the view wasn't all that great, but I LOVED IT. I still had the hope that we would win this game and go on an unprecedented, unexpected winning streak and go on to win the Superbowl in our first season, lol. I was 12 - ANYTHING WAS POSSIBLE. I remember looking for specific guys the entire game. I locked in on Tyrone Poole as soon as we drafted him because of his size. I loved him. I was always the smallest kid in my class to that point (didn't really hit a growth spurt until the summer before high school). I remember I spotted him and would watch even as he walked to the sidelines thinking, "if he can do it, I can eventually do it." I watched Sam Mills and Lamar Lathon. I had some Lathon cards from when he was with the Oilers, and even then, I remember being enamored with his athleticism and size combo, unfortunately, he was injured for a good part of his career with us and never fully realized his potential. I also focused on Brett Maxie, as I loved his style of play AND he was on the cover of my program for the game that day, which I still have.
I also focused on Mark Carrier on offense. I was still hoping Kerry Collins would be the MAN, but I don't think he was starting yet, at this point. My real focus offensively was on running back. As that was my favorite position at the time and what I excelled at... and it just so happens, our man at the time, Derrick Moore, had broke off a huge run that day and the whole stadium was electrified as he got behind the defense. It was amazing. We felt like we had something and as a 12 year old, I thought he could become our Barry Sanders (as IIRC, he was Barry's backup when we acquired him). I also vividly remember Kasay hitting the upright on an extra point... his kick was like a sonic boom, felt and heard around the stadium, and when that ball hit the post the goal shook the earth and continued to shake for minutes after he hit it, lol. I was thinking, "THAT is a powerful kick."
I felt like it was heaven at the time. We lost, but we played great and I was proud as I left. I watched the players walk through the tunnel and everyone still cheered because of their valiant effort. We finally had something to call our own.
And then we left, and I remember we sat in traffic FOREVER, lol. Good times.
A winner is you!
Come to think of it, didn't you win the first ticket give away that I did but couldn't go? You're one lucky s.o.b.
- Proudiddy PIE'd this