So this is goodbye, Tampa

IMG_2673When I created this blog such a short time ago, I thought it would help me recommit to living in Florida.

That I would find more reasons to stay besides warm weather, an up-and-coming hockey team and an ice rink close by. But an opportunity came up to return home, change up a little what I do for a living and an opportunity to get a master’s degree at a deep discount.

I’ve thrown my support behind the Bolts while living here in Sarasota for the last four years and am happy I’ve got to see a turnaround for the franchise. Sunday night, in a 5-3 win against the Anaheim Ducks, was my last time seeing the Bolts play at Amalie Arena for the foreseeable future. It didn’t feel like the last time, but I know it could very well be.

This past fall I retooled the focus of the blog a bit from a home of nuances and nuggets that would necessitate a grind to one more of looking at the big picture. It will be retooled again to reflect my new home where I’ll lament how 10 years ago Cumberland, Md., had its ice rink close at the YMCA and that I’ll need to drive 90 minutes to Hagerstown to play.

It was for me seeing the Ducks be that opponent. Yes, Eric Brewer and Nate Thompson hooked up for a goal from the former Bolts but there was also Bruce Boudreau, who made it exciting for me to be a Caps fan again when I lived in Maryland.

My biggest regret is that I never got to experience a home playoff game in Tampa. I can’t tell you how upset I was at the time when my work schedule wouldn’t cooperate and that Game 5 ticket I bought never got to be used thanks to that damn sweep.

Some things weren’t meant to be, I guess. Or they only open up for another day down the road to be more special is how I rather look at it.

I’m not sure how much commentary I’ll have on Florida hockey, the Lightning and sometimes the Panthers when I settle in Frostburg, a small town home to a state university where I’ll do public relations and communications work. I’ll be back in Caps territory for the most part, but will actually be closer to PIttsburgh. I will guarantee you that there is no way I’ll be throwing any sort of support behind the Pens.

When the Bolts make it to Consol Energy Center, I’ll try to be there. If that’s in the playoffs, what even greater joy I’d have trolling in Pittsburgh. If the Bolts meet in Washington, I’ll be there again but this time in red.

Living here at least gave me appreciation how deserving Tampa is of a great hockey team and how committed fans are. You feel that at the ice rinks, too. A metro area with five ice rinks totaling 7.5 sheets of ice plus a four-sheet rink on the way is a hockey market. Adult leagues are full, active and ever bit as competitive as ones in the north. Pick-up hockey is just as tough to get a spot at a couple of the rinks.

I feel like coming back here some point in my life. Hopefully still young enough to enjoy it, too.

Regardless of where I am, I will be the thunder praising hockey in Tampa.


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