The Media Party was held last night at the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. For those of you not into golf, this is one of the most famous and most photographed hole in America. Media members were actually allowed to take a shot at the pin while eating and drinking on the house. Not bad.
That said, I didn't go. Instead I went out to eat at a restaurant in St. Augustine called 95 Cordova. Outstanding. The ambience was Mediterranean complete with antiques and artisan crafts. The food was as good as any upscale restaurant's I've ever been to. So there you go, from all accounts a great Media party and an awesome dining experience firsthand. I've got nothing to complain about so far regarding this location for a Super Bowl.
Except maybe the weather, which today, was rain and more rain. Then again, the only time I needed to go outdoors was to walk from the team hotel to the tent set up for today's press conference and player availability.
Speaking of the team hotel, things are starting pick up in terms of fan activity. Until today, the lobby was relatively quiet. That's changing as people dressed in their Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX clothing, immediately identifying them as fans, are starting to congregate. They just sort of mill around, taking it all in. There's a merchandise stand set up with this year's items -- caps are going for over 30 bucks -- and people will go over and browse the selection or wander over to the bar for a drink. Still, the action won't start to really heat up until tomorrow.
No autographs are allowed inside the hotel. There's a big gazebo outside the front doors labeled the "autograph corral." In it stand (there's no place to sit) die-hard fans for hours hoping a player or two will walk by and then have the time to stop and sign.
I fail to understand why some people are so infatuated with the single mission of obtaining a signature. And it's not that I'm jaded. Even as a kid, I was always wary of bothering someone famous if I saw them in public. On the other hand, if the setting is right and there's a chance to have a meanignful encounter with someone of fame, that's cool. I'd give anything for five minutes with Larry Bird or Muhammed Ali, two of my sports heroes. I remember as a little kid working in the back of my Dad's hardware store in Brooklyn, N.Y., and being called to the front by him. There was Gil Hodges, manager of the New York Mets. They had just won the World Series in 1969. My Dad introduced me and we talked. Then he signed an autograph for me which we put in a little gold frame on the spot. I still have it and every time I look at it I have that special memory attached. That's what I think is the true meaning of memorabilia. A guy scribbling his name on a football as he walks by without even looking up -- what memory is linked to that experience?
Unless of course you're into selling this stuff which reminds me, anyone see that former Patriot Leonard Myers is selling his Super Bowl ring on Ebay? The current bid yesterday was $25,000.