Personal Memories - Graeme Reid
Having had a week or so to reflect, the enormity of that amazing weekend is finally sinking in. Where to start ? Let's start at the very beginning..............a very good place to start, as someone once said.
Saturday morning was a race against time to get from Edinburgh to Richmond Park. A bona fide "planes, trains and automibiles" journey which John Candy himself would have been proud of....
6am bus to Edinburgh Airport
7am flight to Stansted
8.30am Stansted Express to Liverpool St
9.45am Grab a sandwich and a bottle of coke before jumping on the Underground to Waterloo
10.20am train to Richmond
10.40am taxi to the park.
11am arrive at the park........
Made it! Look around the pitches and there's nobody there. Panic ! Fortunately I took Paul's mobile number off the website the day before and a quick call confirms they're in the car park. The taxi pulls into the car park, I jump out resplendent in my Mike Alstott shirt and the first thing I see is.................MIKE BLOODY ALSTOTT !!!
Look to the left and I see 4 cheerleaders with a bunch of guys in Bucs shirts all over them like a rash. Look to the right I see Shelton Quarles talking to Lee Roy Selmon. WHAAAAAAAAAAAT ? What planet have I arrived on ? Planet Buccaneer ?
Several photos, autographs and chats later, it's time to make new acquaintances and renew old ones within the Bucs UK. Great to see so many guys enjoying themselves. Look at all the photos from that day and all you see is smiling faces.
The games were great fun too. Having never played the sport, I was looking forward to taking the field. I managed to grab a few plays on offense and defense, making one catch for a gain of 7 or 8 yards before tripping over my own feet and tumbling to the ground. Magic.
The afternoon game looked like being a bit of a humping as the great and good from Bucpower naffed off to the pub leaving eight good strong men and a 10 year old to take on the 25 strong ranks of the UK Twats...sorry Pats, but we had the last laugh.
Not only did we fight against all the odds, outnumbered, out refereed, etc to win the match, but we also ate all their cakes! At the start they taunted us with chants of "You've only got nine men" and at the end we replied with "We only need nine men."
Saturday night was tremendous. The drink was flowing and the food was disappearing quicker than Liverpool's chances of the League title. The banter was great and with the NFL films guys working in the background and TJ Rives offering some stories from the sideline, the evening flew in. Before I knew it, we were off back to the hotel to reflect on a momentous day.
In a strange way, Sunday was almost an anti climax. After making our way to Wemberleeee, downing a few drinks and meeting and chatting with the Bucs UK members, it was time to go in front of the cameras again with fellow Buc fans. I flounced around in front of TV cameras so often that weekend, I was starting to feel like a bit of a celebrity!
I'm sure I saw a couple of papparazzi outside my house yesterday morning. Highlight of the tailgate party, though, had to be when I snaffled a Bucs banner off one of the lamp posts when it was being removed by some maintenance guy. I had to wrestle it off a Pats fan first right enough. No way that knobhead was getting it.
Unfortunately the game went as expected (I'm on film predicting 30-10 to Pats) but was still a great spectacle inside an incredible stadium. I was astonished at how quickly they managed to disperse 85,000 people. Within an hour or so of the game finishing, the last of the trains were leaving Wembley and all that was left was empty beer cups and fish and chip papers, oh yes, and a pile of steaming manure slap bang in the middle of Wembley Way, left by a big old police horse with a dose of the skitters. Happy memories.
As sporting events go, not only did this weekend not disappoint, it goes down in my memory banks as one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Thanks to Paul, Ian and Wayne for their efforts and helping to make it such an amazing weekend.
Thanks to all the amazing fans of the Bucs whose cameraderie and sense of humour added to the ocassion (except the couple sitting next to me in the stadium who only got excited when they got to jump up for the goddamn Mexican Wave - JD's favourite !! Oh, and they left before the end of the 3rd quarter too. WTF ?)
Most of all, I think, thanks to the Bucs for showing us their class, treating us with such respect and....well... just for being the Bucs. Bandwagon fans can piss off back to where they came from. The real fans will still be there through thick and thin and we'll support our team no matter what. Go Bucs !!