WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
A year ago this week, Tampa was celebrating the Stanley Cup victory by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
I was as caught up as anyone in the hoopla.
I sat outdoors to watch television with thousands of other crazy people. I had strangers sending me photos of people in Calgary getting drive-by tattoos on their buttocks. I was lucky enough to go to Game 5 of the finals. I saw friends carve lightning bolts into their scalps. I watched Game 6 roll into the wee hours of the morning. I hung out outside Game 7 of the finals. I ate good-luck Mexican food on their behalf. I went to the victory parade. Almost got run over by the Stanley Cup.
This year? Well, there's been no hockey to cheer on because of a lockout that smeared away what should have been the Lightning's victory lap season. All I know is, the kids aren't doing this any more. That's the biggest loss here.
In the place where jubilation once prevailed, there was a victory celebration of sorts yesterday on the anniversary of the Game 7 finals win.
But it didn't much feel like a party.
The Lightning hosted a free lunch in the plaza of The Forum That Dare Not Speak Its Name. I went over to take a look.
Hmmm. Plenty of parking. Bad omen.
Where's all the people? Are we at the wrong St. Pete Times Forum?
Ladies and gentlemen, the loneliest Zamboni on the planet.
Team souvenirs weren't exactly moving swiftly.
Well, at least the Forum staff got to have a little fun.
The promise of free food always attracts at least a few people.
Not a bad chow line, as chow lines go.
It was nice for Melvin Van Peebles to cook up what Rommie labeled as "Sweet Sweetback's Badass Hot Dogs."
It was an interesting crowd to say the least.
Good to see Leon Redbone out and about.
Britney and Kevin Federline: The Later Years.
Chiquita La Rue even made an appearance.
Upstairs at a private reception in the XO Club, the ownership group was showcasing the 9 trophies it won last year, including the Stanley Cup and the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship trophy.
It was quite the impressive array of hardware.
The array of talent engraved onto the Conn Smythe trophy was dazzling.
The Great One is on there, of course.
As is goalie Patrick Roy.
Super Mario is on there for back-to-back playoff MVP performances.
You might remember that Brad Richards won it last year. This is the photo I shot of him during the victory parade.
Of course, the Cup stood out among the rest.
Jay and Silent Bob dropped by to check out the Lightning names engraved on the side.
And there they are.
No doubt about it: Chicks dig the Cup.
Posted by Jeff at June 8, 2005 07:33 AM