David Cambridge part 1
There are times in life when the events fail to meet their expectations, the last week however was one of those that truly excelled way beyond belief and will live long in our memories not just for the events but even more for the friendships we have forged with people on both sides of the Atlantic.
Wow, what a week, so many great memories from meeting the Commissioner; George receiving a touchdown pass from Brad Johnson and Harry getting on Sky Sports News to kick the week off. I think most of us in the Bucs UK who experienced the 2009 visit believed it to be the pinnacle of the club; it certainly was at the time but undoubtedly passed in 2011.
Heathrow, the Bucs have Landed
The expectation leading up to the week had been building up in the Cambridge household, as it looked like we could not get Harry to the training session on the Friday we decided to take the opportunity for him to see the players by meeting them at Heathrow Airport when they arrived in the UK.
Despite the Bucs coming off a long flight from the states, and I know from experience how tired you tend to feel after such a journey, the players, coach and especially Mark Dominic and Brian Ford (the dynamic duo of the front office who will get mentioned time and again throughout this piece) could not have been more friendly and happy to talk and sign autographs.
The trip became even more exciting as Harry was shown on Sky Sports News the following morning speaking and getting an autograph from Raheem Morris who was in extremely good form. He became an instant star in the school playground that day!
Having got a late call from Paul Stewart on the Thursday evening Harry suddenly came down with a terrible stomach upset which meant that he had to miss school on the Friday and instead joined a the group of Bucs fans at the Pennyhill Hotel.
The day and the Bucs certainly delivered a great setting and as you come to expect with the Bucs organisation well managed and supported. After giving Paul an early panic attack seeing us walk into the hotel reception just as Rah walked past with a quick morning guys and a bit of dodgy dealing out of a car boot by Phil (Smithy) Jones we were led by Paul, Bucs UK’s answer to Brendan off of Channel 4’s Coach Trip to watch the team first arrive and then practice.
The Bucs UK were able to watch the run through of practice plays for the match that the media were excluded from. There was of course a certain play that for those that were there will live in our memory, together with that of the imposing receiver involved having been called (demanded) by the enthusiastic chanting from the Bucs UK. Having a successful completion Josh launched the ball high into the ecstatic fans. There was lots of amusement from the Bucs players and coaches and I am sure that that moment will be one of the fondest memories of their trip as well!
We were also generously welcomed by Mark Dominik who continue to put themselves out to spend time with us for photographs and signing autographs and the Bucs' best friend from Tampa Brian Ford who brought along a chest of goodies including car flags, pin badges, Bucs towels and bags. We were also hosted by two of the Bucs current walking wounded Lagarette Blount and Gerald McCoy, both of whom were equally happy to spend time with us signing autographs and having photos taken.
At the end of training most of the Bucs players including Josh Freeman, Ronde Barber, Earnest Graham, Mike Williams were happy to spend time meeting fans. Their attitude and support was first class.