Let's take a short trip back to 1993. There are still remnants of 80s fashion still clinging to life in my side ponytail and patterned shorts. I am about 6 and my mom has just picked me up from elementary school. We're listening to WAPE when they interrupt their normally scheduled music for a breaking announcement.
My mom nearly drives off of I-95 as she claps her hands and whoops loudly.
"We got them! We got them!"
Now, I was only a kid but I understood the significance of having a football team in my home town. Some of my earliest memories are huge blurs of orange and blue. As far as I was concerned, having my commute to a football game cut down was a gift from heaven.
I mean. Really. Have you ever been six years old and in a car on 301? I didn't even have the luxury of a GameBoy!
However, the Jaguars soon became much more than a short drive to me. I soon discovered one thing.
The Jaguars needed me.
The first game I went to was in 1996. I had a Santa hat on because it was almost Christmas. The final seconds of the game were ticking down and there was tension in the entire stadium. I had to stand up on my seat in order to see over the people in front of me.
"This is for the playoffs." My dad had said. It was almost like a prayer.
Morten Andersen lined up to kick the field goal.
Then the stadium suddenly erupted.
No good. The kick was no good.
The stadium was shaking from all the people jumping up and down. My hands hurt from all the high fives. My dad hoisted me up on his shoulders.
"Jeanne, you must be the good luck they needed!"
One of the next games I attended was the River City Miracle, so take that as you will.
In all seriousness, once Andersen's foot slipped I was hooked. There was no going back.
The Jaguars were my team. They were Jacksonville. My home town team.