Local Springsteen fans to be part of halftime show

Christine Gallagher Schmitz and Tom Latcevic wait on the sidelines in Tampa before taking the field for Bruce Springsteen's halftime show.

Courtesy of Schmitz and Latcevic
Published: Sunday, February 1, 2009 at 7:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 1, 2009 at 7:10 p.m.

Two Gainesville fans of Bruce Springsteen aren't just watching the Boss's halftime at the Super Bowl, they're in it and will stand about 10 feet from Springsteen when he takes the stage before an audience expected to number 150 million.

Christine Gallagher Schmitz, an editor for the University of Florida Department of Mechanics and Aerospace, and Tom Latcevic, a math teacher at Lawton Chiles Elementary School, will be among 2,000 volunteer fans who will run onto the field of Raymond James Stadium minutes ahead of Springsteen and the E Street Band and cheer the Boss as performs an eagerly awaited 12-minute halftime show.

"I'm from New Jersey and my family called and said 'We can't go, so you better go and do it for us.' "

Schmitz, 38, and Latcevic, 50, signed up online to become part of the on-field halftime show a plum assignment for Springsteen fans who only had to commit to a handful of rehearsals in the stadium in order to make the team.

What originally was planned for several rehearsals, turned out to be two marathon sessions: an initial rehearsal last Sunday and a dress-rehearsal Thursday in which the fans blocked out their roles and their positions on the field with Springsteen and band.

"Every person has an exact location," Schmitz said Sunday while waiting at the University of Tampa to board buses to the stadium for the halftime show. "We rehearsed it for 14 hours; I'm 'S-.9.'

While both signed an agreement not to discuss the four-song setlist or details of the show, the two say the experience is something they'll remember for the rest of their lives.

"It's the ultimate Bruce Springsteen fan experience," Schmitz said.

"The only thing that was disappointing about is he only plays for 12 minutes," Latcevic said. "But the cool thing it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I can always say I saw the Bruce Springsteen halftime show."

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