June 02, 2004



With the NHL Stanley Cup Finals knotted at two games each, hockey fever continues to grow in Tampa.

On Monday night, I went with my son to the plaza of The Forum In Tampa Which Is Named For A St. Petersburg Company. There, he and I joined thousands of fellow fans who set up chairs and blankets in order to watch the broadcast of Game 4 projected on the wall of an adjacent parking garage.

We got there just in time to see the resulting cheers when Tampa Bay scored the game's only goal. Fans had been given "Thunder Stix" so they could whap them together at the appropriately time.

This seemed as good as any:


It was an odd sight: a forest of white plastic tubes being waved and whacked and generally thrust in a rejoiceful manner.


The overstuffed couches were a nice touch, I thought.


My boy got into the action. He looks thrilled, doesn't he?


It was a perfect night for such an activity. There was more humidity than a steam bath in hell, but the fun of the game was enough to make you forget you were panting like a St. Bernard.


It was alarming how clear the picture was on the side of the building.

But the Forum wasn't the only one to get into the projection business:


A neighbor down the street set up his PowerPoint projector in front of his garage door and invited his friends to bring their lawn chairs. They tapped a keg, propped their feet up and had a grand time as the kids scurried about. The next night, they watched the movie "Miracle" and finished the keg. They've been watching every game this way. It's great to see a neighborhood join together over something like this.

I wrote in April about how the town was getting behind the team. Now Bolts fever is manifesting itself in other ways as well:


Various banners can be seen around town. Tampa General Hospital hung this one a couple weeks ago. Even went to the trouble of illuminating it.


It was only a matter of time until makeshift souvenir stands started popping up. This one has been at the corner of Lumsden and Lithia Pinecrest for a couple weeks. During Bucs season, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting one of these tents.


And, of course, there are the ubiquitous flags flying from car windows.

Posted by Jeff at June 2, 2004 07:12 AM | TrackBack