I went all of my childhood, and most of my adult life thus far, without ever going to a professional sports game. As I have mentioned in previous articles, I was never interested in sports as a child. Not to mention that my parents also lacked any desire to watch or participate in sports as well. The closest I’ve come would be a Harlem Globetrotters “game” that I went to as a small child and I would call that more of a performance than an actual game being played. So never had I known the energy or the roar of an arena full of hardcore fans. It was an amazing experience to say the least.
I waded through an ocean of people of all ages and creeds, guided by a search the number on the back of my ticket and my friend ahead of me, a veteran of Amalie Arena. He had invited me to the Tampa Bay Lightning versus the Los Angeles Kings, as he had an extra ticket and he had missed my birthday. The most astonishing thing about the game was not the 15 dollar drinks but how everyone there was united against the opposite team. If you were a fan of the Lightning, you were a friend to everyone around you. Together they would stand and cheer on this team, reveling in their unity against the other team. It was on a scale unlike anything I had seen before and it opened my eyes to what it would be like to be a sports fan.