War tempers happiness of two lucky Tampa fans Notes

January 28, 1991|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Correspondent

TAMPA,FLA. — TAMPA, Fla. -- War and football usually don't mix, but they were intermingled in two of the most poignant stories of the Super Bowl this year.

They involve an 8-year-old girl, Heidi Hill, and a 23-year-old mechanic, Barry Small, who are both from Tampa.

Hill, a 4-foot-2 blonde, has been studying dance for four years and won a spot dancing in the Disney-sponsored halftime show at the Super Bowl.

You would expect her mother to be beaming, but she won't be in Tampa to share the experience.

Her mother, Spec. Cindy Hill Schrum, 29, is in Saudi Arabia since being called to duty in the Persian Gulf on Nov. 28.

She has reared her daughter alone since her husband died in an auto accident five years ago.

Her grandmother, Jackie Roberts, said Heidi has missed the past several calls from her mother because she's either been in school or practicing.

"She'd like to come home," Roberts said. "She said it's scary."

She added, "Heidi's scared, too."

Heidi's cousin, Ashley Hill, 11, said: "She said to me, 'Ashley, what would you do if your mommy was in Saudi Arabia and your daddy was dead?' I felt so sad for her."

Meanwhile, Small was thrilled Wednesday when he won two tickets to the Super Bowl in a contest sponsored by the Tampa Tribune.

His elation didn't last long. On the same day, he got a Mailgram ordering him to report Jan. 31 to Fort Jackson, S.C., for deployment to the gulf.

Small completed a four-year stint in the Army a year ago Monday. He was a member of the inactive reserves, and he never expected to be called up so soon.

"I didn't think I'd really be going unless the war went on a year or more," he said. The Army wanted him because he is an expert at repairing military vehicles.

* The city of Tampa had a split personality last weekend.

Despite the somber background because of the war and all the security at Tampa Stadium, there was a lot of celebrating.

Police estimated that 150,000 people downtown streets Saturday for the first Bomboleo parade, a celebration of Tampa's cultural diversity.

Tampa originally told the National Football League it would move up its Gasparilla festival to Super Bowl week when it was awarded the game on May 20, 1987.

It turned out that Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla members are an all-white group. When they refused to integrate the club immediately, they called off their festival.

It was replaced by a new event called the Bamboleo. It describes a hip-swaying Latin-American dance to rhythms of Afro-Cuban orgins.

The parade included 20 marching bands, 40 floats and about 40 other groups.

The parade grand marshal, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers lineman Lee Roy Selmon, who is black, was waving enthusiastically to the crowd until he saw the eight white-robed Ku Klux Klan members in one grandstand. His gesture suddenly turned to a slight wave.

The Klansmen stood silently with their arms crossed although they were pelted with a salvo of Bamboleo coins from the Columbia Restaurant float.

* Despite fears of all the terrorism, there were no incidents before, during or after the game.

But the debate will continue about whether the security measures were really needed.

When Bob Smith, the Tampa public safety administrator, was LTC asked if all the security was a bit much since there hadn't been any credible threats before the game, he said: "I don't think it's a bit much. We have to take whatever precautions that we deem appropriate."

Privately, even some NFL people thought the concrete barriers, metal-detector searches and the banning of the blimp weren't really needed, but they felt they had to reassure the public that they didn't have to worry about security.

But all the attention on security may have heightened concerns about security.

* For reporters arriving at the press gate three hours before the game, it took about 33 minutes to get through the security at the press gate to the press elevator. Reporters arriving more than two hours before the game faced a 45-minute wait.

The security forces opened each laptop computer and turned it on to made sure it worked.

Unlike the fans, reporters were allowed to bring in such %o electronic equipment as tape recorders and portable televisions, but they were put through a metal detector similar to those in airports.

The male reporters were then frisked and had hand-held metal detectors run over them. The female reporters weren't frisked by the male security guards, but had the hand-held detectors run over them.

* The Buffalo Bills are spreading a new version about why coach Marv Levy missed Tuesday's photo day.

Levy said he skipped it because he was working on his game plan. This version is that his driver got lost driving to Tampa Stadium and Levy took the blame.

If this new version is the truth -- who knows? -- Levy has yet to learn that telling the truth in the first place is always the best policy.

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