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Some just don't care about the big game

Football fans might be surprised to know there were folks in the bay area who didn't share their gridiron enthusiasm.

By WILLIAM R. LEVESQUE

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 29, 2001


TAMPA -- Jackie Agosto doesn't want to hear about the Super Bowl. Not now. Forget the hoopla and the celebrity watching and the endless stretch limos circling the city like moths to the flame.

No, right now it's three hours before kickoff, and the laundry needs folding.

And Agosto, eight months pregnant with the sore feet to prove it, is in a hurry to get it done before Super Bowl traffic makes the drive home impossible. It's going to be close.

"I can't wait for this to be over so we can get our streets back," Agosto, 38, says Sunday afternoon as she folds a pair of faded jeans at a coin laundry at Armenia Avenue and W Tampa Bay Boulevard, a few miles from the cursed game.

"The football people," she says, "need to go home."

And so it was throughout the Tampa Bay area Sunday. Oh, sure, Raymond James Stadium was packed with the frenzied football faithful with thousands more trying to finagle a way into Super Bowl XXXV. But for others, it was just another Sunday.

People like Caroline Strachan, 34, of Tampa, who volunteered to work Super Bowl night at Britan's, a British import and yogurt shop in north Tampa off Northdale Boulevard. Her boyfriend asked her to watch the game with him.

But to her, football is a mystery she would rather not solve.

"I couldn't even tell you who's playing," she said. "I know it's a football game and that I should avoid Dale Mabry. That's it."

At Christ United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg, finding the faithful was proving more difficult than at Raymond James.

A half dozen people waited for a 7 p.m. service. Usually, 40 people show up. Minister Johnny Bartha was conducting the service. It was tough to go up against the big game.

"How much can you hype a football game?" he asked.

At Dale Mabry and Waters Avenue, Daniel Gilleard, 20, of Clearwater and Valerie Sergieff, 18, also of Clearwater sold rugs from a van.

"I think it's kind of dumb," Sergieff said. "People get so excited about people playing football. They don't go out and do anything themselves. That's stupid. They should go out and participate in life."

Sergieff had her own plans once darkness fell, and the pair rolled up their rugs for another day.

She would watch Friends on TV.

Football's uncool.

- Staff writer Ed Quioco contributed to this report.

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