In the summer of 1990, a 5-year-old girl stepped off a 747 from Buffalo to Orlando.
She was wearing a Jim Kelly jersey, and her dad was prepping her for the excitement of the impending football season. She was a Bills die hard, presumably from the womb.
She bled the red and blue.
That little girl was me.
Now, in 2009, I am a big girl. In my maturity, I've learned to balance a delicate Buffalo Bills-Tampa Bay Buccaneers fanship.
Living less than two hours from Tampa, compared to 1000 miles from my hometown of Buffalo, I figured that jumping on the Bucs wagon would allow me to see more football, give me the possibility of actually experiencing a sports championship, and allow me to bond with my fellow Floridians.
Interestingly enough, I decided to take the Bucs on in 2002, the year that I met my Bucs crazy best friend and sweetheart, and, of course, the year that the Bucs made everything happen.
Super Bowl XXXVI baby.
At 13, I felt that the inaugural year of my Bucs fanship somehow might have influenced their great success. Maybe I was magic. Maybe I was just a really good fan, and God was now trying to reward me?
Nonetheless, I stuck it out with the Bucs and the Bills in 2002, and after an 8-8 finish, the Bills couldn't carry me any longer.
Come on, Tampa. Work this out for me.
And they did.
I've always been a football fan, but the year that the Bucs won the Super Bowl, they really electrified the NFL for me. I tasted victory, and I loved it.
And I've been a Bucs fan ever since.
I didn't want to like them as a kid, thinking that they must somehow be related to the Miami Dolphins, but the truth is, a girl from two places can and should be a fan of two different sports teams. I'm part southern belle, part loud notherner, and I'm part Bill, part Buc.
Part Buffalo Jill, part... Buccaneers cheerleader.
Anyway, Looking forward to the 2009 NFL season, I'm looking forward to see what the Buccaneers and Bills can do.
Can T.O. and Trent Edwards be friends? Will they finish like they started this year?
Will the Buccaneers find a franchise star in Josh Freeman? Will their defense dominate?
Whatever happens, I have the best of both worlds going for me.
If the Bucs can't make it to the big game this year, maybe T.O. and the Bills will surprise me.
The NFL is an exciting, fresh league this year.