This year I got invited to attend the Jay Fund event hosted by the Coughlin’s. It’s no secret I’m a football fan, and in the fall, I check out more than just NFL football. I love watching SEC and occasional high school, too.
The event was held in Jacksonville, Florida, my hometown. It is in the category for one of the largest cities area wise in the United States. It’s been home to the Jacksonville Jaguars since November of 1993. It’s no secret either that the team made it all the way to the Championship. I was more than psyched. I’m a fan, win or lose, and last season was especially fabulous to watch.
I hoped to meet as many Jags players as I could, see friends and of course, see Tom Coughlin. When I got to the event, I parked across the street and walked over. The wait time on getting in was easy, as the organizers were going through the line and scanning the bar codes for each entry. I forgot my printed entry and it was nice that all I had to do was pull it all up on my email and scan the code from there.
Right after I walked in I was greeted with wine tasting glasses and many tables full of exciting memorabilia to bid on throughout the night. All along each hall were tables of incredible hors d’oeuvres, and each table had two different kinds of red or white. I started with Chardonnay and that would be it, as I’d switch to water after half a glass and a few tasties from B.B.’s. I’m not a heavy drinker, but do appreciate an occasional “taste”.
Onward to the escalator (and the photo ops) were lines of people everywhere. The first person I recognized was Sam Kouvaris. He is the sportscaster over at WJXT. I met his wife Linda and chatted a bit on their four grandkids. It’s always fun to see Sam. He’s worked hard for Jacksonville. I forgot to ask him if he’d seen Lex and Terry lately. Those two were a scream on local radio. I used to listen to them and had heard a show with Sam talking about the Gate River Run several years ago.
Later I saw some friends from the gym, Gregg Gosch, a LSU alum and former football player for their team. We couldn’t help but have a small chatski on Leonard Fournette. It was soon after, that I pretended to be catching the ball that Leonard had signed for the auction. I also saw Jaguars memorabilia signed by QB Blake Bortles, who founded The Blake Bortles Foundation (@BB5Foundation).
Up the escalator I ran into some staff from Jacksonville Magazine, who couldn’t have been nicer. I got a few pictures and headed over to the second camera where I’d try on a Viking hat.
I circulated the room several times looking for any familiar faces and there he was, Tom Coughlin himself. Surrounded by many getting pictures and with a friendly member from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s office. I got in line, too. There was no time to “talk football”, but everyone was in positive vibe and rest assured, ready for this season.
After that, walking over by another food table I ran into Doug Marrone. I hadn’t met him, but since I’m not shy, I just asked if I could get a picture real quick. He was a scream, said “sure”, and I started the trend to at least 4 more photo ops with different people, for him. (They were all laughing, too). There was a girl next to me who was so funny, and said, “they need me to be his photographer, I know how to get good pictures”.
Meeting AJ Cann sure was fun, too. He was there with his girlfriend and I asked which number he was, and what his Twitter name was (@AJCann_60). I could tag pictures later. I could tell he’d been raised in the South. Everything was “yes m’am, and “no m’am” on any question I’d asked. I had forgotten (when I was meeting him) he had played for the Gamecocks. My aunt Celia is a retired math professor from USC/Spartanburg and Gamecock football is talked about at the dinner table in her house (and my Dad’s) over every Sunday dinner during football season. It’s really quite entertaining.
Onward before I left, I saw Todd Philcox and his wife Katie. It was great catching up. I see him on occasion in the gym and he’s always talking about his kids, Lindsey and Tyler. I never walk off without a laugh when I talk to Todd. Todd played QB for a few NFL teams, played with the Jags in ’96 and retired with the Patriots in ’98.
Thanks for stopping by my site and reading my blog. I’m having a lot of fun these days. Remember to work hard, and laugh harder, I know I will be.