In our group, Nicholas is known as the lucky one. In the past he’s received free gift cards, free food & drinks, and even won $200 from the Hard Rock. But recently some luck came my way in the way of Rowdies’ tickets. While working at the restaurant we had a gentleman come by and ask to post a Tampa Bay Rowdies’ flyer in the window. Of course we said yes, and in exchange he offered us 4 free tickets to the next home game. Well la di da for me, I had off the day of the game, so I took ’em and ran! Suckaz!!
I had never been to a game before but I was familiar with the team having had the pleasure of working with one of the original Rowdies’ players during my internship in college. The team originally played in Tampa Bay from 1975-2003 as part of the North American Soccer League (NASL). After a brief hiatus they made their way back to the NASL in 2008 calling Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Pete their home. I can’t believe it took us 4 years to finally get to a game but I’m glad we did! We’re not exactly huge soccer fans but this game definitely swayed my opinion. The atmosphere was electric and the crowd was decked out in green and yellow. (Except for the loser Atlanta Silverback fans but I’ll get to that later)
We made our way through the crowd and grabbed seats in the bleachers surrounded by Rowdies’ fans. The one thing I thought was the amazing was the variety of people at the game. The crowd included face painted fanatics, families with young children, couples on dates, and best of all, Ralph’s Mob. Complete with a large bass drum and cheers sang in such ridiculous unison it brought me back to my middle school softball years- these people were LEGIT.. My favorite cheer went a little something like this:
Late in the game things became heated as the action got more intense. Atlanta had a group of 15 or so fans in the front row who couldn’t have been more obnoxious.Once they lit a flare after the Silverback’s scored a goal to go ahead the cops had had enough. Kicking one of the Atlanta’s fans out seemed to give the Rowdies’ fans an extra boost of energy (as if they could get anymore energized) as the game headed into the final minutes. All the cheering wasn’t enough though as the Rowdies lost by 1. Despite the loss the guys put on a happy face to sign autographs and take pictures with the young fans.
After the game we walked over to a local bar to grab a drink and recap the game. The whole time we talked about how we couldn’t believe how much fun we had. If you haven’t been to a game we suggest grabbing your grandpa, mother, cousin, uncle, little sister- anyone! You’ll be sure to enjoy a night out at the park and may even find yourself getting “rowdy” for the Rowdies.