At the Tampa Bay Pro-Am, celebrities and PGA Champions Tour golfers thwack balls toward the stratosphere in hopes of securing the pride and glory of a victory whose spoils benefit charitable foundations. Athletes take to the turf of one of Golf World’s 100 best public courses in the country, targeting greens with homing-missle-like precision, avoiding pesky bodies of water, and distracting sand-trap monsters with steaks painted to resemble Jack Nicklaus. The roster of the 2012 edition’s celebrity participants remains shrouded in mystery, but past tournament competitors have included actor Craig T. Nelson, former professional-football player Emmitt Smith, and former UN Secretary General Bill Murray. Proceeds from each year’s tournament are filtered into local or national charities through a sieve made of woven generosity; contributions from 2011's edition went to Special Operations Warrior Foundation and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
Named one of USA Today's Top Ten Skating Rinks in 2008, USA Skateplex sends eight-wheelers careening around a skating arena, competing in a full arcade, and snacking at concession stands. During public skate sessions, freewheelers strap on their own blades or a rental pair of old-school four-bangers and do the counter-clockwise coast to DJ hits. Pairs of floating friends can take a breather for intermittent soda and arcade breaks; groups of four get twice as many game tokens and a large cheese pizza to salten the deal.
The USF Bulls play their home games in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' sleek Raymond James Stadium, home of the famous pirate ship harbored in Buccaneer Cove. Single-game tickets against Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic provide a taste of the festive atmosphere present in collegiate ball. The season pass, which is good for all seven regular home games against teams such as Connecticut, Syracuse, and the Tuscaloosa Technical Institute of Poetry, lets fans fill the football-shaped void in their hearts over the course of the season.
XFC is a prominent mixed-martial-arts organization dedicated to finding the next generation of MMA superheroes through open tryouts so that these undiscovered fighters may one day climb into the bloodied center of a professional cage match. XFC XI: The Next Generation features four XFC Open Fighter Tryout winners as well as Micah Miller, Kim Couture, and many more. Watch as these skilled fighters vie for domination using techniques drawn from Brazilian jiujitsu, Muay Thai, boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, tae kwon do, and more.
Professional soccer officially returned to Tampa Bay on May 8, when a crowd of more than 8,000 fans watched the Rowdies play their debut home game at Steinbrenner Field. Currently headed up by Scottish coach and retired professional footballer Paul Dalglish, the Rowdies are chest-trapping, banana-kicking, and head-butting their way back into the world of black-and-white-spotted balls. Watch them take on the Minnesota Stars, who are ably coached by Manny Logas and hungry to work their way up the 2010 standings. Sideline seats get frenetic fans close enough to observe the fantastic flairs of Division II soccer savants as they attempt to sneak the European pigskin between an opponent’s legs and through the goal zone. Since it's a Thursday game, fans can also take advantage of Thirsty Thursdays, featuring $1 beers from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.