When Lightning Strikes, Build A Sense Of Community

Let’s get one thing very straight…I am not a sports fan.


I sort of want to blame my father for my overall lack of interest even though he actually loves sports. I know, it’s Father’s Day on Sunday and I do wish him a very happy one, but as a child, if there was a University of Michigan football game that conflicted with a special event there was a lot of discussion about whether he would be there.

I may never live down the fact that I decided to get married to my first husband on the day of the Michigan-Ohio State football game in November 1988.  My mother, the ever so smart woman that she was, threw my father a tailgate party at the hotel where all of our guests were staying in lieu of him possibly following through on the idea of chartering a plane to go to the game in Columbus and thinking he could still make it back in time for the wedding. So much for the day being all about me.2012_12_29_08_48_230699

He was also very involved for many years in our community’s Little League…VERY INVOLVED !

And if there was a sporting event on Sunday afternoon that ran late, we couldn’t go out to dinner until it was over.

Side note: My mom had a general rule about the kitchen being closed most Sunday nights..have I mentioned she was really smart?

Don’t get me wrong, my father did a lot of stuff with us as kids and until we became teenagers with the typical teenage angst and attitudes, he set aside at least one afternoon a month to take me and my siblings separately to an activity of our choice. We joke about his sports’ obsessions now, however, at the time I really didn’t get it. It’s amazing what years of therapy can do to help, right?

So call me crazy but…I resented sports by the age of 6. I suppose it also didn’t help that I was not the most coordinated child and still have terrible depth perception. I blame that on being born cross-eyed and to all the boys that teased me about it in elementary school, sorry if karma has paid you a visit but you kind of brought it on yourselves.

Yeah, sports weren’t, aren’t and probably never will be my thing.

Well, that’s not 100% true but I will get to that in a minute.

It is true that I don’t like watching sports and I really don’t understand most of the rules.


I mentioned in a recent blog my inability after 14 years of watching my son play soccer both at school and on competitive teams that I still don’t know how to tell when a player is off sides.

In addition…
I think baseball is like watching paint dry…
I have no clue where the puck is through most of a hockey game…
I don’t get spending 4 or 5 hours trying to put a little ball in 18 holes or watching a car go round and round a track (I do, however, think horse racing is beautiful and my friend Laura will appreciate me saying that especially since today is her birthday)…
I don’t like the idea that a lot of athletes use their status to feel entitled or it gives them the right to be above common decency and the law…
And I will never be able to justify in my head why athletes make more than teachers and nurses.

All that being said, I live in Tampa Bay and all three of the major sports teams…Lightning, Buccaneers and Rays…work very hard these days at raising the profile of our region especially when you have them involved in initiatives like Give And Grub, a fantastic non-profit food truck with a mission to fight hunger.  

When I moved here almost 20 years ago, the Bucs were by no means a winning team (ok, no need to talk about whether or not they have been the past few years), the Lightning were toddlers (the franchise was only 3 years old although holding their own by making it to the playoffs in 1996) and the Rays were still just a twinkle in some soon to be owner’s eyes (their first season was 1998).

This was not a diehard sports town/region…yet.

Slowly but surely, Tampa Bay has put itself on the map as a legitimate place for fans to be, well, fans. And after watching the Stanley Cup playoffs and finals over the past several weeks unfold in the national spotlight, it does seem they are finally taking us seriously.

Yes, I said us.

I watched more minutes of hockey in the past month or so than I previously watched in my entire life. I grew up in Detroit and lived in New York for many years so I know about hockey towns. I just went and read a book when my father or now ex-husband were watching a particular game.

Another side note: My first date with the ex? A U of M – Notre Dame hockey game. Yeah, it was a sign, I know.

I’m thinking the biggest reason I willingly sat through all of the recent games was because I understand now more than ever how important it all is to the future of the place I now call home. Before I owned my baked goods company for the years I did and now work as the Director of Strategic Relationships for OJ Mortgage, I guess I wasn’t really invested in Tampa Bay. I volunteered at my kids’ schools and engaged in a lot of fundraising for our local Jewish Community Center but I would be kidding myself if I said any of that helped the overall region grow.

Truth be told, I never thought I was here for the long haul. When my first husband moved us here in 1995, I thought we’d stay 10 years tops. After he made the money he thought he would in Real Estate development, I figured we would move to Northern California and open a cute little bed and breakfast where I would cook fabulous food with local ingredients and he would manage the finances and wine cellar.

I think I still cook fabulous food, do a pretty good job at managing the finances in my second marriage and keep enough wine on hand should a group of friends come for dinner at the last minute. But it is unlikely I will ever own a B&B in Napa or Sonoma. It’s all good, though, I have plenty of other dreams to work on.

As I watched the final minutes of Game 6 the other night knowing the Chicago Black Hawks were likely going to win 2-0 and claim the Stanley Cup title, I also watched Tampa Bay’s pride swell on social media. “Great effort”, “Intense series”, “Way to go Bolts”, “Here’s to next season”, “Always The Thunder” and many other very positive comments filled my news feed.

There didn’t seem to be any bitterness or blame. I’m guessing it’s because we still won a lot of recognition and credibility, that is, with the exception it seems from Suntrust Bank that didn’t feel it was necessary to light up the top of their very prominent downtown building in Lightning colors during the games. Boo Suntrust

Topher Morrison is the Managing Director of Key Person of Influence USA and definitely understands a thing or two about raising your profile in your community and, more importantly, supporting your community. Kudos to him for displaying the photo above the way he did…I am sure Sykes Enterprises appreciated the Tweet, Suntrust not so much.

My husband, of course, the fierce independent mortgage broker that he is said it’s just one more reason not to trust big banks for your mortgage needs. Gotta love the big guy for always finding his own silver lining.

And besides, who needs Suntrust when Wallet Hub recently ranked Tampa Bay as #4 in the nation for hockey fans … #GoBolts !

Sports may not be my “thing”, but a sense of community definitely is and will remain one whether I stay in Tampa Bay or not. I just needed about two decades to figure it out.

So here’s to Lightning striking, Buccaneers invading and Rays…ummmm…stinging????….again and again. And here’s to all of our communities getting bigger, stronger, better.

That’s it for now…#BlackerOut !










Filed under Call Me Crazy, Community Building, Tampa Bay

58 responses to “When Lightning Strikes, Build A Sense Of Community

  1. Wow! you watch more sports than I ever did. I still haven’t figured out soccer or football. I don’t mind baseball though because I live in Dodger land. Fun story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a lover of basketball and now because of my wife I watch football (she will always be a NY Jets fan)…..we both had watched the hockey games like never before. My wife of course routing for the Rangers until they were out but was actually a fun time. Basketball is my sport to watch because unlike baseball it is constant action like hockey. Golf while fun to play is tiring to watch lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ….um…maybe a happy marriage will make you do the impossible for your other, too?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. hehehe Sports are just not for everyone. As a youth sports coach, I’ve met parents on both sides of the fence. All that matters is that you love and support your child, of course. I wasn’t watching the big games this week either so I feel you on that one. Back when I used to write for Yahoo! Sports, I had to know everything that was happening at all times in the sports I covered. I found that I started to lose some of the enjoyment after a long time of doing this. It became a chore instead of a hobby. I know exactly what you mean about the sense of community though. I do truly believe that is what attracts so many sports fans to be sports fans in the first place. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely love and support both of my kids even if it means sitting outside on a soccer field in 90+ degree temperatures. That said, those “sports” days are officially behind me although I did recently spend an entire day outside in those temperatures on a film set helping my daughter with her senior thesis. A mother’s work is never done!


  5. SG

    Totally get this! I’m not a sports fan at all- well, I like baseball (a lot!), but football, soccer, hockey (and other back and forth types of sport) just don’t interest me! lol

    Liked by 1 person

  6. LIke you, I am not a sports fan, although everyone in my family is. My mother (even at 99) still faithfully watches the Blue Jay and yells at the pitcher when he, as she calls it, “stinks”. I get that the sense of community is very part of the sports world, however, I guess mental calisthenics was more my thing. My former husband was not a sports fanatic, so that never was a part of our world. The only sport I occasionally enjoy watching is Basketball because it is quick, and for me at least, easy to watch. Congrats on becoming “invested” in your Tampa Bay teams.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love to watch sports and force hubby to watch with me. Use it as down time from a busy life style. Yup got mixed up on goals a few times, n cheered for the other team by mistake, blame it on the wine I drank at those games lol!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was never into watching sports until I remarried 14 years ago. My first husband wasn’t interested. During the many years I was single again, I wasn’t interested. But my now and forever husband loves sports and I enjoy sharing his enthusiasm.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, by the way, when I got married the first time, it was on the day that Iowa where we both went to college, was in the Rose Bowl. Not appreciated by some of our friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Beth, you’re looking at this whole thing wrong. Baseball: bring your hat and binoculars. You can people watch as you’re eating a warm pretzel or roasted almonds. Hockey: get on the glass, sister! It’s more fun if you go when it’s hot out. You can freeze to death and bang on the glass when the lights and MC go berserk. Talk about community! Football: lmao. I know more about college players than I ever did in college, and I don’t watch a game (I’m usually working). But hey, I can keep up in conversation. Of course, as a coach, I’m kind of expected to watch. If only the freaking sports casters would watch as much tennis….

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish I shared your enthusiasm Liz!!!!!!!! I will say that I can tolerate basketball without getting bored and have actually made the statement that if Tampa had a professional team I would buy season tickets. Mayor Buckhorn, get on it please 🙂


  11. gin

    My father was the same way. I hated sports forever too. Naturally I married a sports fan. Over the years I’ve actually learned to enjoy most of it…except football. That still makes no sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Not a sports fan either, but I do appreciate the ability of the athletes. I just don’t get why they are paid so much either…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Yea, I am with you… I love to play certain sports and of course I love to watch my kids play.. but you won’t catch me watching sports on TV… If I watch it… I would prefer to watch live with a group of people, not for the love of the game, but to get out and do something fun with friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I always felt like watching baseball was a lot like watching paint drying, too. The only thing worse is watching golf! LOL. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My dad always played sports on local teams – both hockey and baseball so he was away most nights. Then my mom got him football season tickets and it was all over. It does build a great sense of community and local pride though and I am all for that. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Liz…I think many of us grew up with fathers who were somewhat obsessed with sports and the line is really right down the middle of those who went along for the ride with them and those, like us, thought they were just a little insane 🙂


  16. danielauslan

    Wow! We must be soul mates or something. I went to U of M and attended write a few football games. I also hated sports and sucked at them as a kid. And I live in Florida now, too! Miami. Even though I hated sports growing up, I now have an appreciation for them. They really do give people a commonality and foster pride in your community. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Go Blue Daniela!!!!! I actually did very much appreciate all of the energy and spirit in college…just don’t make me sit outside in the freezing cold at a football game 🙂


  17. Your hockey puck comment reminded me of my watch my first in-person University of Florida Gators football game. I had no clue was 99% of the time. Being in the nose-bleed section could have contributed, but it solidified my choice to not be a football fan. I used to play baseball when I was a kid, but I don’t care for most sports either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I guess it doesn’t help I am very near-sighted Jackie. And I went to college in Michigan so sitting outside on cold, rainy or snowy days just made no sense. I sold my student tickets every year for a big profit and enjoyed be warm and dry at a local bar 🙂


  18. lbbray

    We are die hard Arkansas Razorback people. When I was a child, we lived in Oklahoma City. During football games on television or the radio, we kids WERE LOCKED OUT OF THE HOUSE and only let in during half time. I understand the mania. So glad you managed to find a sense of humor about the whole thing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You were locked out of the house? Ok, my father might have gone in another a room if he wanted to watch a game and not be disturbed…I can’t imagine him locking us out of an entire house!


  19. Wasn’t it neat to see how Tampa Bay did come together to cheer for the Lightning! We’ve made such strides as a sports town. (Even if Suntrust missed that..ha!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • I really am very happy for Tampa Bay Lora…it’s been a long time in the making and watching the community come together through sports, blogging, business or fundraisers has made me truly feel like this is, indeed, home.


  20. Wow I think you know a lot more about sports that you think! lol I like some sports, but not really a “fan” of any particular one. I agree they do bring a community together and overall are very positive. My son is addicted to soccer which I have been really liking as of late!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I am not a big fan of watching sport I would rather be playing! I love playing waterpolo but I have never been to a professional game.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I am also not a huge sports fan myself, with the exception that I am a diehard New Orleans Saints fan from the time I was a toddler. I can’t always make it through a game, though.
    I wasn’t involved in sports until I was in the 5th grade – and then my parents signed me up for softball and soccer. I did it because I thought it was “cool” and I would make friends…but GOSH did it SUCK! I was the chubby kid who couldn’t keep up with running laps, and everyone was way more experienced at the sports (having been involved since they were 5-6 years old). Sports to me are super boring and I don’t even know how I managed not to die of boredom during our own games LOL!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fortunately I figured out that just because I wasn’t good at sports didn’t mean I couldn’t be fit…that is as long as I don’t have to run. Running is definitely not for me either!


  23. I totally agree with you that Baseball is like watching paint dry. Good for you for supporting your community while learning to watch sports!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Having a sports team really builds a true sense of community any athlete can ever imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Beth, thanks for the great post and for joining us at #MidLifeLuv. We’re very glad to get to know you and your blog! (after 20 years of marriage to a golf fanatic, the sound of sports on the TV makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.)

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Being born and raised in Europe, I used to watch soccer a lot – and when we were getting together with friends we had a wonderful time! Now I’m not that interested anymore and I don’t think I could sit through an entire match 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I am not a sports watching fan. I am happy to have some ‘me’ time while everyone else enjoys the game.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I, too, live in Tampa Bay (Clearwater) and saw everyone, including me, who like you, isn’t a huge sports fan, get on the Lightning bandwagon. I do love my Buccaneers, though. Thanks for stopping by my blog and I’m glad to have met a fellow Tampa Bay neighbor.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. sizzlesue15

    Sounds like you love your sport. Community is important though so thank you for sharing with us at #anythinggoes

    Liked by 1 person

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