Remembering Irma

I sat watching football games Week One of the NFL season on the only networks that would broadcast them.  That’s because that Sunday was not your ordinary Sunday.  There was a storm a-comin’ and it was a doozy.

Hurricane Irma had done the unthinkable.  She had adjusted football in the great state of Florida.  All college and NFL games in the state slated for that weekend were either cancelled or postponed.  Most local networks (CBS, Fox) pre-empted games for coverage of the storm.  Football’s important in the sunshine state… but not THAT important.

Still, football fans watched what we could, flipping furiously to find what stations would air the games, if only to take our mind off what was approaching.  It was only a matter of time before Irma was upon us, the damage she would inflict perhaps unprecedented for a state that has seen its fair share of storms.

I obsessed over my fantasy line-ups as I have every Sunday for the last few years as the winds swirled louder outside my window.  It was only a matter of time before Irma touched ground.  She was no fantasy, her inevitable damage unfortunately all too real.  Before she even made landfall, her rains covered the state from head to toe.

Even up to the eleventh hour, rain-drenched meteorologists didn’t know where she would touch ground or how strong she would be when she did.

The water in Tampa bay had been sucked dry.  It was a sight no one from the area had seen before.  We wondered when and how ruthlessly would it return?

I watched as games took place in Chicago, Green Bay and Dallas with scant mention of the weather in Florida.  Meanwhile, the rain fell sideways.  Family and friends checked in while they still had connectivity.

Irma was so big that, at one point, her outer bands reached another hundred miles in either direction off each Florida coast, her winds doing damage to both Miami and Jacksonville simultaneously.  Pockets of electricity were lost statewide.

And still they played.  The NFL was a well-needed distraction.

If nothing else, Hurricane Irma, Harvey before her, and now Puerto Rico’s heart-breaking devastation no thanks to Hurricane Maria, have reminded us of how little we are and how big we can be.

Countless called from out of state.  More called from in-state.  Friends posted on social media before and after the storm, checking in.  If they had power, they offered you shelter, water, anything to make sure you and yours were safe.  Despite the circumstances, Irma was a pleasant reminder of the community we can be.  Maria will require a lot more attention.

Days earlier, Florida residents statewide had bought up every last bottle of water, loaf of bread and can of goods in preparation for the worst.  We Floridians know how to prepare for a storm.  One supermarket cashier told me their bottled water delivery had arrived at seven that morning.  By 7:30 am, it was gone.

Alas, Irma came and went as well and so did those football games.  The devastation of Maria remains.

The morning after Irma, most of us in Florida woke up without power.  The date was September 11.  It was an ample reminder of what that day meant in American history.  As the sun eventually began to shine, it reminded us what it means to be grateful for what we have and what we’ve lost, how fragile we are and how strong and united we can be.

I have lived in Florida for the last thirty years.  I’ve met some amazing people along the way.  Some transplants, some natives.  And while our beloved state might routinely make online’s most ridiculous people, I wouldn’t trade living here for anything.

I golfed with my good friend, Brotha E, days after the storm hit on one of the only courses we could find not under water.  Originally from Philly, E and his wife eventually made it to Florida where they raised their children.  After a brief stint in Alabama, he and the family moved to Memphis, Tennessee where they’ve resided the last four years.  While sipping whiskey, smoking cigars and hitting the links on a beautiful Florida afternoon, E soaked it all in and confided in me that he couldn’t wait to move back to Florida.  Nice to know I’m not alone in that sentiment.

To my fellow Florida friends and residents, we made it through another one.   Here’s hoping the Island of Enchantment can do the same.

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19 Replies to “Remembering Irma”

  1. Speaking as a native Floridian and someone who has been rocked by many a hurricane, I need to humbly ask for any help that we can muster for our fellow Americans of Puerto Rico. They were slammed hard twice within a week and desperately need our help. From what I have heard what is needed most is basic things like diapers, personal hygiene products and batteries. These people are our family and they are hurting. Thank you my friends.

  2. They got it bad, Deac. Real bad.

    To paraphrase Denzel, Irma ain’t got nothin’ on Maria.

    I haven’t read yet. Are we (and by we, I mean the US) doing anything to help the island?

  3. Most of the Caribbean has been hit severely , but Puerto Rico and Barbuda have taken the brunt of the damage from Hurricane Irma. Bear in mind also that Mexico has been hit by two separate earthquakes in the past ten days. Condolences to the families who have lost loved ones at this time !!!!.

    Sierra Leone also suffered indeterminable losses when it too was hit with a natural disaster. Could this be the beginning of the end ?

    From my own standpoint , I had the pleasure of working with local volunteers, members of Polk County Sheriffs Dept and town employees in Dundee (FL) as we provided food , water and tarps to those affected by Hurricane Irma. It’s at times like this, we see the best of what the nation has to offer when it actually pulls together . Sports simply becomes secondary in such instances and with good reason.

  4. I heard about an air mission organized by local citizens that has a cargo plane at it’s disposal. They are seeking public contributions to aid the island. I have been tied up today, but I’m going to find out what I can do to help. As far as a national response, I have yet to hear anything. Thanks for being there my friend. We’ve got to stick together. But for the grace of God go we.

  5. “how little we are and how big we can be”
    Ain’t that the fucking truth….Sad that it sometimes takes the worst to bring out the best in us.

    Glad you got through unscathed broham.

    If anything, these types of things remind us that we are all Americans and human beings first and foremost.

    Praying for all those in not only in Puerto Rico and the surrounding affected or soon to be affected areas, but also the earthquake victims in Mexico and everywhere else.

  6. Well said SC! Thanks for the perspective of a common man that has good sense and empathy for others. Your folks raised you right – preach on brother. Let us know if we can do something specifically for someone you know that needs help.

    Since this IS a sports blog….go Gators, Bucs, Hurricanes (?), Marlins and all other FL teams large and small. Lastly, FL HS football is boss (I lived there back in the day) – your next assignment should you care to tackle it is to speak on that subject. Down the road……

  7. Glad to hear you all made it through. My thoughts go out to all who didn’t fair so well, lost loved ones or who are still looking for information.

  8. Deac…

    Apparently our President is too busy picking fights with professional athletes to take a bold stand on the damage we’ve just been dealt, choosing to inflict far more damage of his own.

  9. Bleed…

    Your thoughts on Melo to OKC… and does this make them a top four team in the West?

    Sidebar: Does that means San Antonio’s window is closing?

    Better record between the two teams?

  10. Moose…

    I’ve been meaning to check out high school football in the state for the longest time. I know it’s a religion. But alas, I work Friday nights so it’s tough for me to properly check out the sites and sounds as I should.

    That being said, for anyone who does hit up high school football games across the state, I’d gladly accept submissions in exchange for a burger and beer to be paid up later.

  11. I give OKC credit for going all in, but too many shooters and not enough balls IMO.

    I’ll take the Spurs in that race….Short and long term. I see OKC as a disaster waiting to happen. Matter of fact, they may have just paved the way for Westbrook to leave too. He still hasn’t signed that extension and with two more gunners cutting into his looks? Not so sure this is anything but a one and done scenario.

  12. Dundee is a small town with limited resources and it’s one of the least populated of all the municipalities in Polk County, Florida. It (helping out) was somewhat reminiscent of my time in the military Royal Marines) and working along with NATO or UN forces.

    Is it me , but are the Bucs reverting to ways of old ? What’s up with today’s performance ?

    NFL owners and players showing solidarity against Trump ? What’s the world coming to ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!!!

    ‘melo to the OKC in the West is a good thing , but in terms of the Spurs’ window closing . That’s not happening anytime soon, not when they still have Pop as their head coach .

    The Thunder become better from an offensive standpoint, but they still remain weak on defense.

    My question is , where do the Knicks no go from here and how do Scott Perry (general manager) and Steve Mills (Head of Operations) explain this trade to the fans ? This franchise is getting from bad to worse , because they lack leadership from the top on down to the players.

  13. Andre Ward retires from boxing as a two-division world champion , undefeated and very little is reported on his accomplishments. Begs the question , is this sport still relevant in the aftermath of the Mayweather vs McGregor farce or the Alvarez vs Golovkin fiasco ?

  14. Westbrook likes to play up-tempo ball, Bleed.

    It’s gonna be funny watching ‘Melo try to keep up with that pace.

    If I were a betting man, I’d say ‘Melo averages a career low in minutes per game just for trying to maintain.

  15. Poor performance today, Al, that’s for sure.

    This team was not ready for Minnesota and is clearly not ready for prime time.

    They just manhandled a Chicago team that beat Pittsburgh and almost beat Atlanta. How the hell do they not show up today?

    It sure as hell looked to me like Dalvin Cook was a little bit upset the Bucs draft OJ Howard instead of him in that 19th pick.

  16. Chris,
    I also posted this across the street @Tophat’s.

    Most of today’s NFL and other pro players are lemmings. Followers of a cause, whether they believe or not, just to “go along to get along.” Well healed millionaires with razor blades in their pockets and afraid to reach in.Where’s the help from the local pro franchises? I’ll mention 2 guys that actually give a fck.

    #1 J.J.Watt raised 37+ million for Harvey victims.
    #2 DeShaun Watson just donated his first ever pro paycheck to cafeteria employees that were adversely crushed by Harvey.

    Hey Harden, put your pants on. Kardashian can wait.These ppl are still hurting.

  17. Bets…

    Harden’s too busy asking for the ball… but good call on calling him out.

    I’m not sure people appreciate the beauty of that video game commercial he’s in where he hangs up on Chris Paul for asking him to pass him the ball.

    If I could get -450 on him not retiring a Houston Rocket, I’d probably take it. Seems like safe money to me.

    How about +150 he plays for two or more teams before he retires?

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