June 03, 2004



What's that in the picture above? Why, it's a ticket to Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals at the Forum in Tampa That Is Named for a St. Petersburg Company.

Yep, I'm going. And so is the sombrero.

I couldn't be more stoked. I may be a bit distracted at work today.

But I won't be alone.


Albert, a friend at work who is a diehard Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan who wears at least one visible article of Bucs clothing every day, has taken it upon himself to, as he says, "Show some unity in the community."



By shaving a lightning bolt into his hair.

Other friends are taking note.

Willie Drye, author of Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 and an avid historian of southern culture, makes this keen observation:

Hey Jeff:

It's nice that the Flames have, um, caught fire in Calgary.

I'll bet a lot of people have forgotten that the team entered the NHL way back in 1972 as the Atlanta Flames. The team's name, as I understand it, came from the fire that leveled the city during the Civil War and later provided a dramatic moment in that movie starring Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable. Frankly, I've never thought that movie was worth a damn.

Anyway, the Flames burned out pretty quickly in Atlanta -- in those days, it was hard to draw fans in a part of the country where the winters were too hot for kids to play pond hockey -- and so the team blazed a trail to Canada.

It would be years before the NHL tried again to spark interest in the South. But when the league finally did decide in 1992 to re-light a fire in the southern market, the Bolts were born.

So you have two of the South's pioneer professional franchises in this year's Stanley Cup. It seems to have ignited some interest in Tampa Bay. I hope it doesn't prove to be a fleeting flash, however. That's what happened a few years ago when the Carolina Hurricanes made to the the Cup finals. The crowds were big then, but it seems they've gone with the wind since then.


Point well made, Willie.

Posted by Jeff at June 3, 2004 08:14 AM | TrackBack