THE OPTIMIST: Time To Embrace BandwagonersSeptember 6th, 2010
THE OPTIMIST is Nick Houllis, a Bucs fan and an accomplished writer whose steadfast allegiance to the team goes back to the 1970s. Houllis is the founder, creator and guru of BucStop.com, a place Joe goes to get lost in time via Houllis’ stunning video collection.
THE OPTIMIST will shine that positive light in your eyes. Some will love it. Some won’t.
WANTED: 30,000 bandwagon fans needed to fill seats at Raymond James Stadium on Sundays. Must be willing to wear current Buccaneers garb and put a few stickers on your cars when the team is 6-3.
No joke, that is exactly what we need Bucs fans. Of course, I’m talking to the real Bucs fans out there, the ones who cheer on the Bucs even when they are 3-13 — even if you haven’t heard of too many of our players, yet.
No one knew who Derrick Brooks, John Lynch or Ronde Barber was in 1997, they called our defense the no-name defense in that year’s Detroit playoff game, because they were no name at the time.
Well, Raymond James Stadium, much like its predecessor Tampa Stadium (I refuse to ever call it Houlihans) is suffering from a case of the empties. Yes, the economy has something to do with it, and so does the fact this team is starting over and coming off a bad losing season.
But we have seen this before in Tampa, and there is a reason why; we don’t have 12 million fans to pull from, we have a small percentage of that, so it’s reasonably safe to assume there are only about 30,000 die hard Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans who are willing to go to every game out there. There always has been, and probably always will be.
Go back to the late 1980s and early 1990’s during the last recession; NFL teams were having trouble with attendance then, too. But while some cities like Baltimore (1983), Houston, and St. Louis (Cardinals) were putting sometimes less than 10,000 in the stands, our Bucs were always showing an attendance of about 30k.
Why? Well, because that is how many Bucs fans there are in this area that will go to the games each week. So what do we need?
Bring ‘em on! I don’t hate ‘em anymore! Put your brand new pewter decals on your car (Right over the faded marks of where you took them off back in 2003). Won’t bother me a bit. Talk about the big name Bucs players from the old days that got away, like Thomas Jones. I’ll know you mean Steve Young.
It’s all good, because I will at least be able to watch my four Bucs games on my HD TV without having to resort to a 420×280 pixel screen on my computer in BS definition (Below Standard) to enjoy my beloved team that I have rooted for on Sundays for 31 seasons now!
I just don’t like to go to every single game, just like the 40,000 people who were represented by empty seats in the final preseason game against Jacksonville. I don’t want to pay to watch Josh Johnson and Rudy Carpenter.
I also don’t want to pay for my sunburn during early and mid-September games, when I can lay out in my yard and scorch for free! SPF15 should be a running play, not an item that should legally be required to be handed out to fans to prevent cancer!
No, Im not bitter, I’m over that. I don’t care if you’ve been rooting for the Bucs since the old days of Chris Simms while I’ve been cheering the Bucs on since they lost a chance at a perfect 6-0 record by losing to his father’s first start. Doesn’t bother me a bit. Just fill that stadium up please; as long as they are wearing pewter, red, or even orange, I won’t care anymore.
Offer valid while supplies of losses last.