Let’s just get this part out of the way. I am not a sports fan. I have nothing against sports, I just don’t care to watch them, don’t understand what is happening during games, and don’t even know what sport a team is part of when I hear a common team name. I can get caught up in a game at a sports bar, but when I leave I forget about it. Having watched random games at a few sports bars I have thought that if I got into a sport it would be hockey or rugby (no idea what is ever happening in rugby, but it’s fun to watch).
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to go to a Tampa Bay Lightning game and told we had great seats on the Tampa Bay Club level. Sounds shiny but I didn’t know what that meant. I deduced it meant food was supplied, but that’s about it. Who would say no to that? Not me. Plus, what could be more Florida than a Lightning game?
The day of the game came and we headed out. Parking in the area was $25 – steep but considering we were getting to go to the game for free I couldn’t complain. There may be less expensive parking, but we didn’t see it. Then again, we didn’t look too hard. So we parked and walked over to the game. I was already feeling a bit out of my element; most of the people walking around were wearing Lightning gear. But it was pretty cool, people were getting hyped up before the game even started.
The crowds were massive but the place was well organized and we got inside before I knew it. We were given directions to the suite and I was amazed at how nice and helpful everyone was.
When we got to the suite it was pretty impressive. There were about 20 people per suite. The front half was a few rows of very comfortable chairs and behind that was a small room where snacks like pizza, soft pretzels and wings were served as well as beer and wine. Not bad.
The game started a few minutes after we got there so I bypassed the goodies to see the show. I gotta say – they put on a good show. Before the game even began they had people hyping up the crowd and then introducing the home team. It was like the opening of a rock concert with light shows and the whole bit. They even had a lightning machine on the ceiling which amused me to no end.
This was all fine and dandy, but the point was the hockey game, and I don’t care for sports so sounds like a long night, right? Nope, meet the newest Lightning fan. The game was incredibly fun to watch, it’s much better in person than on TV. I can compare – I’ve seen it at sports bars after all. I thought I’d be lost but the game is easy enough to keep track of and super fun to watch. Now I see what all the hype was about!
There were a few people who left before the game ended, I assume to get out before the traffic. There was no way I would have been dragged out before the end of the game. It was one to zero and what if the other team got a point? Then a few minutes before the game ran out of time Tampa Bay scored another point and I heard someone yell. Oops, that was me. I think that makes me an official fan.
If the opportunity comes up I will definitely go to another game. Being on the Tampa Bay Club level was nice, but to be honest, it wasn’t why I enjoyed the night, I really liked watching the game. So if ever you get a chance, do go to a hockey game even if you don’t know yet that you are a fan. Of course, it needs to be a Tampa Bay Lightning game or it probably doesn’t count.
Here’s what you need to know to play tourist:
401 Channelside Drive
Tampa, FL 33602