I woke up this morning and the sun rose. As I watched it break the horizon, I realized I was happy. My joy came from being a Jaguar fan. I'm Duval and that is a great thing.
Yesterday was an abomination and the team played pitifully between 1:00 pm and 4:10pm. But I'm Duval, and that is a great thing. You are probably Duval too, or why would you be reading this? As of last week, Jaguar fans are officially recognized by the league as Duval. So if you spend your Sundays bleeding teal, you are also Duval.
Turns out I've been Duval before I even knew it was a thing. I was born and raised in Jacksonville. I have been a Jaguar fan since their beginning. I enjoyed the quick assent and have suffered through the decline peppered with spots of false hope. But I have not lived in town during any of the period the team has been on the field. During the first years, I lived in Gainesville and enjoyed games with other Jaguar fans. Once I moved to Tampa over a decade ago, I had not met another Jacksonville fan. Until this off season. With the start of the Bold City Brigade and its Tampa Chapter, I have become united with other nieces and nephews of the Duval Diaspora.
I used to go to local bars and beg the bartender to get the Jaguars on the TV. I would have to settle for the small set in the corner of the bar half hidden by the Margarita machine. Yesterday, I was with at least 20 other teal-cheering Duvals at a great spot with our own designated area with a television screen that was much larger than the smartphone-sized screen to which I had become accustomed. Even though the game itself sucked, that was awesome. Knowing that Gene Smith is no longer drafting and putting together our team is also awesome. Knowing we have the best owner in all of sports is beyond incredible.
On the way to watch the game, I listened to an interview Shad did for the pre-game show. I was struck by two things he said. First, he realized that we were more than a few players away from being a playoff team. Second, he said he gets the privilege of peaking behind the curtain at the work Dave and Gus are doing building this franchise, and he believes and is excited that we are laying the foundation to be a great franchise for the long haul. He has faith and patience, and since I am Duval so must I. Between trust in the new leadership and the new family I have found, being Duval brings me all kinds of joy.