Welcome to “From the Press Box”, where Raw Charge’s reluctant-yet-enthusiastic correspondent in the Amalie Arena press box, Clark Brooks, takes you behind the scenes of the exciting world of watching hockey from the rafters for the purpose of writing articles about it.

The best thing about having a team-issued credential to cover the Lightning is that I’m a Lightning fan, and I like to believe that being a credentialed member of the media allows me to be an ambassador on behalf of fellow fans who will never get to experience the game of hockey that way. Through this weekly column, I’ll be sharing peeks behind the magical media curtain with you. Today, in the spirit of Thanksgiving weekend, we’re going to talk about some things for which I am thankful.

Is it hokey or hack-y when a sportswriter uses a holiday to pass off a list of personal observations padded with corny seasonal references as an actual article? It’s both! But I’ve never claimed to be above either of those things. Thanksgiving was yesterday so let’s kick this (Black) Friday jam off and get this turkey into the air. You can’t make this stuff(ing) up!

(Man, I do not feel good about those last two sentences, sorta like how I didn’t feel good about that second helping of mashed potatoes and…enough? Okay, that’s fair.)

I am thankful for…

  • Delicious press box food, especially the new Cuban sandwiches introduced this year.
  • Subtle, yet effective, goal celebrations.
  • Raw Charge itself, a nice, friendly, supportive media outlet, staffed with talented and enthusiastic writers, where I’m free to write about whatever I want.
  • Semi-reliable transportation.
  • All the lovely people I get to see on game day.
  • The ability to throw a bunch of links into an article to make people go back and read my old stuff.
  • Day games. We haven’t had any (at home, anyway) yet, but when we do, that’ll be awesome. Maybe not so much for the preview people… sorry, preview people… but definitely for us recap people.
  • Florida weather. Of course I complain about it in August but this is November. Anybody who has ever lived where there’s snow can appreciate leaving work after a long day, secure in the knowledge that their car hasn’t been buried by a plow.
  • My Chicago Cubs lanyard that has mascot Clark The Cub on it. Lightning goalie and die-hard St. Louis Cardinals fan Ben Bishop threatened to never talk to me again as long as I wore it. I told if he got me a Cardinals lanyard with “Clark” on it, I’d wear that instead. He had no comment because there is no such thing.
  • The special person I can always count on to support and encourage me in my endeavors, and for whom I happily do the same. She knows who she is, but she also probably isn’t even reading this but that’s fine. Because her name is Salma Hayek (let’s keep that between us).
  • For all Tampa Bay Lightning fans, of course, but especially Raw Charge readers. This is sincere without anything hokey or hack-y about it. There’s really no point in doing any of this if nobody cares enough to read it. That’s just the truth; it would be really stupid if I did this for the sake of giving myself something to read. I’m happy and appreciative of each of you for letting me share this madness with you. Here’s hoping your holiday season is off to a great start and will get even better. Thank you!


Article first appeared on www.draysbay.com