TIAA Bank Field is welcoming fans all season long, but the Jaguars Foundation and Academy Sports & Outdoors know that not everyone can be there. With COVID-19 in mind, the organizations partnered to gift two season ticket members a complete "home-gaiting" package to help recreate that game day experience at their own homes.
Richard Wiles, a Jaguars season ticket member for the last 22 seasons, suffered a heart attack recently and because of his health is electing to play it safe and limit his exposure as much as possible. That means no Jaguars games in person this year.
"It's been very strange, but the NFL and the Jaguars have handled it pretty doggone good," said Wiles. "Yes, it's definitely disappointing since I'm a long-time season ticket member but because of my medical situation, I couldn't attend anyway. But my family is loving it and I'm going to find a way to go next year."
Likewise, Barbara Joyce is missing her beloved Jaguars, but is staying away for the benefit of those she encounters in her job. A former Duval County School teacher and now a hospice care worker for more than 10 years, Joyce and her therapy dog, JoJo, visit patients in Jacksonville regularly.
"I'm not able to go to the games, but I still promote the Jaguars," said Joyce. "We love them, we watch them on TV, we dress up for it, we dress up our therapy dog for it and our whole family watches the games together.
Both Wiles and Joyce were treated this week to a special delivery, so they are ready to go for Sunday's game at Houston. Their backyards are now full of everything from new smokers and coolers, to tents, lawn chairs, yard games, tumblers, grilling spices and giant dice.
"Obviously, I love the cooler for good, cold beverages as well as the smoker," said Wiles. "My son loves to smoke food."
For Joyce, the new set up allows her to host her family in the backyard.
"My favorite part is the tent with the chairs," said Joyce. "Now I can get my Jaguars plates and Jaguars cups and have a Jaguars-themed barbecue outside on the porch. I appreciate all of this and am tickled pink and blessed to be a part of the Jaguars family."
While both Wiles and Joyce are thrilled with their new set up, both are eager to return next year.
"Just keep the Jaguars spirit in your heart," said Joyce. "Watch the games, support them and think about becoming a Jaguars season-ticket member next year!"