In a world where Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans receive a hard time for being fans of such a historically bad team, I’m going to take a moment to explain how I – like many others – became that way.
I don’t normally format my work this way, but I felt now was as good a time as any. Some of you may know, but for those that I don’t I will let you know that I will be leaving The Pewter Plank at the end of June to pursue other opportunities. It’s a bittersweet feeling as I’m excited to move on to something new but disappointed to leave a site that has done so much for me. However, without my dad, I never would have started down this path.
Like so many young kids, I wanted to emulate my dad in as many ways as possible. Mannerisms, phrases, interests, etc. From the music I still listen to to the teams I follow, much can be attributed to my dad. See, my parents lived in St. Petersburg when the NFL awarded an expansion franchise to the city of Tampa. My dad – a lifelong Cowboys fan – adopted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as his second team. Long story short, Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys, fired Tom Landry, and my dad was out. So, as long as I can remember my dad has always been a Bucs fan.
So I adopted them, too. All the way up here in Ohio.
Taking another page out of the ol’ playbook of Dad, I began to find joy in writing about things. Whether it was a school paper or just in a notebook, if I was passionate about something I wanted to express my thoughts in some form of writing. When I was in middle school, my dad self published a children’s poetry book. Watching him work tirelessly for hours over a dream of his was a nightly routine. Buried in the glow of a computer monitor, typing away, looking up words in a thesaurus. That was how he spent his free time. Writing. And writing. And writing.
Finding this little niche for myself would have never happened had I not seen the work he put in all those years ago. To see his work published, illustrated, and his dream realized allowed me the courage to start writing about sports. I always called my writing a healthy outlet for an unhealthy obsession and I thank each of you, from the bottom of my heart, for reading my work whether it was here or at one of the various other outlets where I spent my time.
Fathers and sons don’t always see eye to eye. They don’t always get along. They don’t always have those Hallmark relationships printed in the cards we purchase or receive on Father’s Day. For my relationship with my dad, he’s my hero. And although we’ve had our speed bumps and detours, I always relied on him for advice – or just a conversation.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a big part of our bonding through my adolescence as well as my adulthood. I felt it was only fitting to take what small platform I have to pay tribute to the man who inspired me to step on that platform for anyone to see.
I want to take this time to invite each and every one of you to step on this platform with me. Please, in the comment section, on Twitter, or in the comments on Facebook share a memory you have with your father or as a father. Share a story about the Buccaneers you remember sharing with your dad or your children. Share for all to see as we celebrate all the Father’s out there who hold this day near our hearts.
For those of you who read all the way to this point, I thank you for indulging me – today, and for the last two-plus years with The Pewter Plank. I thank you for sharing your stories as I hope you will.
And to my dad, Al, thank you for being you. Thank you for inspiring me to pursue this crazy notion that I can write about the team we love together. Happy Father’s Day, dad. I love you.