Saturday, November 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jones: Thank goodness for the distraction of sports after an awful week

RECOMMENDED READING


The past week has been awful.

For us Floridians, can you ever remember such a sense of dread and anxiousness as we had in the days leading up to the arrival of Hurricane Irma?

We all wanted to stay. We all wanted to leave. We didn't know when to go, where to go, if to go.

No answer felt right.

We watched the storm wobble east and west, then back east again, wondering exactly where she was going to go and how strong she was going to be when she got there.

We nervously waited for each hurricane advisory. We wore out our remotes. What is Denis Phillips saying? What is Paul Dellegatto thinking? Steve Jerve? What's the Euro model predicting?

We clung to every sliver of good news with the newest track shift, as if there were such a thing as good news.

We waited in lines for hours. For water. For sand bags. For plywood. We prayed we wouldn't need any of it.

All the while, our stomachs were in knots. One minute we wished the storm would never get here, and the next minute we just wanted it to be over.

Then the storm arrived. On a surreal Sunday when we lost complete track of time, many of us hunkered down inside our boarded-up homes. Our power flickered off and on. We tried to make the best of it by diving into all those hurricane snacks we loaded up on last week. We talked tough, telling Irma to "bring it on" and how we were "Florida Strong." We bragged that those of us in Florida greet storms with hurricane parties.

But, deep down, it was just talk. As winds howled outside and we heard banging and crashing, we were scared beyond our wits.

All of it was just truly awful.

When the storm finally passed, we emerged from our homes, partly to see the damage but mostly just to be outside and celebrate with neighbors that our homes survived and everything was going to be okay.

For most of us around here in Tampa Bay, the damage wasn't too bad. Lost power. A toppled tree. A few ripped shingles. Maybe a downed backyard fence.

Other parts of the state had it much worse.

We were lucky, although not unaffected.

This was quite the draining ordeal even if the impacts were greater emotionally than physically. For many of us, the days before the storm were worse than the storm itself.

As we slowly get back to normal, cleaning up our yards and rebuilding our pool screens, there is an outlet many of us can turn to:

Sports.

Can I get a ballgame, please?

The Bucs open this weekend. There are some big college football games. Heck, I'll take the slumping Rays at this point.

Anything to help us get past the distress of Irma and return to some semblance of normalcy.

We always say the same things whenever a hurricane such as Irma or Harvey or Katrina or Andrew strikes. It's the same things we say when there are other tragedies, such as a terrorist attack or school shooting:

"This puts sports into perspective."

Well, I believe we always have known where sports fits on our list of priorities.

Yes, we take sports seriously at times. Fans can get a little too fanatical, a little too riled up. But, most of us know that sports is simply an outlet and not life and death.

There also are important times when sports can be at the forefront of social change and create meaningful discussions regarding race and gender.

But, at its core, sports provides us with an escape from everyday life.

Sometimes that everyday life is mundane and boring. Sometimes, like the past week, it's difficult and stressful.

That's when it's good to just sit down, pour a cold drink and turn on a game. That's what Tampa Bay could use now.

Instead of worrying about hurricane landfalls, we can set our sights on other topics.

What kind of season are the Bucs going to have? They open Sunday against the Bears.

Did you know that former Bucs coach Lovie Smith is coming to town Friday night? His Fighting Illini play USF at Raymond James.

Will the Gators find an offense before Saturday's game at the Swamp against rival Tennessee?

The Rays are still hanging around. Maybe they can get going just as Joe Maddon returns to the Trop with the Cubs next week.

And, oh how time flies, the Lightning opens training camp Thursday.

All of it sounds absolutely wonderful after what was just an awful week.

Comments
Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

TAMPA — Belief is the biggest attribute a quarterback can bring to his team. Belief in his talent. Belief in his commitment to winning. Belief in his ability to bring everyone together and have his voice lead the path forward.But the belief the Bucs ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

TAMPA — Can the Bucs pull off back-to-back wins with a backup quarterback? Win a game on the road for the first time this season? Politely hand the unnamed trophy for the state’s worst football team back to the Dolphins?Mike Evans is back from his su...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh: Who would you rather have?

Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh: Who would you rather have?

In the crowd-pleasing sports-talk of game of "Who Would You Rather Have?’’ there might not be a more perfect match-up than this.Gerald McCoy vs. Ndamukong Suh.Both are defensive tackles. Both went to, what were at the time, Big 12 schools. Both were ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

TAMPA — In the spring of 2010, one of the biggest debates the week leading up to the NFL draft was which defensive tackle would be selected first? Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.Both figured to be highly productive NFL players. S...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Greg Auman has a final preview of Sunday’s Bucs-Dolphins game in Miami in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.He talks about key matchups to watch for, from perhaps the NFL’s best slot receiver in Jarvis Landry, to Miami’s vulnerabilities at right tackl...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

TAMPA — Why should we believe this man?Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated by the NFL concerning an allegation of him groping a female Uber driver in Scottsdale, Ariz., in March 2016.Winston denied the allegations Friday in a statem...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bucs journal: DB Vernon Hargreaves will miss Sunday’s game with hamstring injury

Bucs journal: DB Vernon Hargreaves will miss Sunday’s game with hamstring injury

TAMPA — The Bucs will play Sunday against the Dolphins without Vernon Hargreaves, who has been their nickel defensive back the past two games.Hargreaves, the 2016 first-round pick out of Florida and a former Wharton High standout, has been ruled out ...
Published: 11/17/17
Jameis Winston accused of groping Uber driver

Jameis Winston accused of groping Uber driver

TAMPA — The NFL is investigating an allegation that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in March 2016.Winston called the allegations "false" and contested the unnamed female driver’s assertion that he was her only p...
Published: 11/17/17
Uber called Jameis Winston about ‘you or someone in the vehicle with you’

Uber called Jameis Winston about ‘you or someone in the vehicle with you’

Tampa Bay Times has listened to a voicemail Jameis Winston received from Uber relating to the March 2016 incident in Arizona.The NFL is investigating the allegations that Winston grabbed a female Uber driver's crotch in 2016.In the call, someone...
Published: 11/17/17

Jameis Winston says groping allegations are ‘false’

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston denied allegations by an Arizona Uber driver that he groped her in 2016. The NFL confirmed it is investigating the incident.Winston released a statement on his Twitter account saying the driver was 'confused,' by the n...
Published: 11/17/17