Thursday, April 18, 2019

With billions of people all over the world today celebrating the inauguration of the first African-American President of the United Sates, it’s only fitting that my Man of Style for Tuesday, January 20, 2009 would be:

America’s 44th president, Barack Obama

Rather than give you the typical rundown of accomplishments, a recap of the road to the White House, a long in-depth analysis of the historical significance of today, or even Obama’s love of sports, I thought I’d give you something only I could give you. Well me, and about 15,000 others. But that’s better than the billions that are reporting on the other issues!

Why I love Barack Obama: the “puppy love/I’ve got a crush” stage

Anyone that can motivate me to bundle up (yes bundle, it was actually a weird cold front in Florida that week) and wait outside for over two hours with no bathroom breaks or food to see them in a political rally is pretty damn impressive. I’ll drive four hours up and four hours back in the same day to go see Chris Daughtry in a concert. Twice. But me at a political rally? So not me.

I’ve never really been very political. In 2000, I did take a political communication class where I had to pick a candidate and follow him through the election process. I chose Al Gore and loved learning about the campaigning process but when he lost, I gave up on that whole thing. I admit I did not vote in 2004. Partly because I didn’t like any candidate and  didn’t like the idea of voting for John Kerry just because I refused to vote for George Bush. Plus I had just moved to Florida and didn’t really understand the voter registration stuff.

Even most of this year I was pretty apathetic to the election. I wasn’t a fan of John McCain (although his whole “my friends” thing cracked me up every time I heard it) and once Hilary was out of the running, I tuned out. I was all for the woman in charge thing. At that point I just thought, thank god I know it won’t be Bush.

But election coverage was pretty much unavoidable–kinda like sports. Slowly, I started hearing more and more about “this Obama character,” I believe I called him. And I began to like what I heard. I still didn’t think he really had a chance of winning the election, mind you. There was no way America was ready for a black president. But the more I heard him speak on t.v., the more I found myself really listening to him and thinking he would make an excellent leader for our country.

I am blessed to live in Florida for many reasons but I have to say October was a great month to be a Sun Coast resident. Not only did I get to see the Tampa Bay Rays in the playoffs, but also there were so many opportunities to see both presidentiatl candidates speak. I mean, I missed all of the rallied of course, but the opportunity was there!

Until, Wednesday, October 29 when I learned that Obama would be in Sarasota, Florida (where I live) the next day! I couldn’t miss that opportunity.

So we got up and headed on over to the rally. And grossly underestimated the turnout.

It was on Thursday at the end of October in the middle of the day and there were over 15,000 people waiting to go into Ed Smith Stadium. Let’s just say Ed Smith Stadium ain’t Yankee Stadium folks. Hmm, although…it was the spring home of the Cincinatti Reds…. The line wrapped around for blocks and weaved through rows of cars in the parking lot—-I can’t even really describe it. It was crazy. We finally got in and somehow, no idea how, we were on the actual field and not in the bleachers!

The back of the line in the parking lot. This weaved through about 6 or 7 rows before we reached the street

The back of the line in the parking lot. This weaved through about 6 or 7 rows before we reached the street

Then there was still a line once you hit the street that wrapped around another corner at the end of the block. That weaved into more lines. It was like Disney World

Then there was still a line once you hit the street that wrapped around another corner at the end of the block. That weaved into more lines. It was like Disney World

But it was worth it. The rally was just unbelievable. So inspiring and powerful. It’s one of those life-changing events that I know I will never forget.
Why I love Barack Obama: the “making the committment” stage

As soon as Obama came to the field, the crowd went into a frenzy. Pushing, shoving, screaming, jumping. And that was just me! Picture that with 15,000 others! It was like an American Idol concert gone wild. Plus, the stadium was filled with young voters and high school kids even though it was the middle of a school day. It was remarkable to see the younger generations so motivated for once.

The more he talked the more I believed that change is possible. And even more, that I would be a huge part of that change. Sarasota and Manatee Counties are largely Republican counties but it looked like 2008 they could be changed. Every vote mattered.

He was inpirational, motivational and actually funny! And not laugh-at-me funny like I felt McCain was, but laugh-with-me. All while being a class act. The video above shows a lot of that.

I leave you with this compilation that I found that really captures the whole day, and the whole process for me. Today, history is being made and I am just so happy and blessed to be a part of it.

*all photos of the rally are by me. The videos, sadly, are not. My computer ate the video files I took and turned them into pictures.

About the author: Jennifer Taglione is the owner of this fabulous website Stiletto Sports. Despite writing well over 500 posts, she still maintains that she is not a sports writer! She is however a huge fan of Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Mark Sanchez, the Celtics, and totally kicks butt on March Madness brackets! Connect with her by following her on Twitter @StilettoSportsJ and subscribing to her weekly newsletter. For more info check out the About the Editor page!

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1 Response

  1. Al Said,

    Hi Jen,

    Excellent post/videos, and a deserving winner of your Man With Style Award too. Cheers!

    Posted on January 20th, 2009 at 1:47 pm

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