It was a night filled with food, festivities and football. Droves of female Buccaneer fans were on hand to take in Women of Red Evening at Training Camp, presented by Florida Hospital on Tuesday night at One Buccaneer Place.
Walking onto the patio outside the new indoor training facility, one couldn’t help but dance to the beat of a live DJ playing from a pirate ship before perusing various tents and activities. You could try your hand at the JUGS machine, used by players on a daily basis. There were multiple food trucks encircling the patio area offering complimentary small plates with tents alongside offering beverage samples aplenty.
Director of Player Personnel John Spytek and his team of Buccaneers’ scouts manned a tent to answer any and every question fans had. Jason Hulfish, who was responsible for many of the My Cause, My Cleats designs for Buccaneers players last season, was putting on a live demonstration airbrush painting a surfboard with a pirate ship and skull. And of course, no fan fest would be complete without a selfie station that allowed you and your friends to jump in and create your own gifs.
“We want to be leaders with our female fans and tonight we are proud to have the first ever NFL training camp one-hundred percent dedicated to women,” said Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, Co-Owner and President of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation and Glazer Family Foundation. “[These fans] deserve it and coming together like this is a great way to show what a tremendous female fan base we have here in Tampa.”
Moving inside the practice facility, there was pretty much any and every football drill imaginable for fans to take part in. Glazer Kassewitz mentioned when addressing the crowd seated in the bleachers that fans in attendance were the first group of women to throw footballs and run drills on the building’s turf. It was a favorite for Erin Gallagher, who was attending a Women of Red event for the first time.
“I love that they have things that you get to compete in and participate in because I’m very competitive but it makes it fun,” said Gallagher. “It’s not something you just walk around during, it’s actually interactive which is cool. The fact that it caters to women but also doesn’t exclude men is also really nice because it looks like there are a lot of people here that are getting to experience it together.”
Gallagher was watching a couple of the football drill leader boards, the broad jump specifically, which she currently held second place. Her and her friend Vanessa Engelhardt were waiting in line to try their hand – or rather, their leg – at kicking a field goal. Engelhardt was the one that suggested the evening and is no stranger to Women of Red events herself.
“This is my second time coming and I just enjoy the experience,” Engelhardt said. “I love football and I enjoy being able to interact with the local team. I really appreciate the fact that there are events that are serious – like it’s not just pink balloons. There are athletic things for people who really know about football, so I appreciate that aspect of it.”
The latter part of the evening included a Chalk Talk with General Manager Jason Licht along with Team Reporter Casey Phillips. Then fans were able to witness a team walkthrough, where the team installs new plays and concepts they are working on for that week’s game. It came complete with autographs at the end and photo opportunities with every member of the team, as the players stayed well into the night to interact with those in attendance.
“I think it does a lot as far as bringing in the community,” Engelhardt said. “I like that you get to interact with players and people who actually work here and see the facilities. It makes you more vested I think in the team. Regardless of what happens on the field, it gives you a personal connection.”
This was the fourth year that the Buccaneers held an event dedicated to their Women of Red fan club and although it was one of the biggest yet, it may have also been one of the most personal.