Buccaneers FB Jameel Cook prepares to bowl at Big Brothers/Big Sisters 21st Annual Bowl for Kids Sake Event.
While Tampa Bay Buccaneers FB Jameel Cook may be better known for knocking over opponents like bowling pins, on Sunday, March 10 he and teammate LB Al Singleton knocked over real bowling pins in support of Big Brothers/Big Sisters at the 21st Annual "Bowl for Kids' Sake" event.
The event, which took place at Regal Lanes, is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, Inc. All of the funds generated from this event remain in the Bay Area community and go towards providing the resources to matching deserving children from single-parent homes with mentors who will inspire them to excellence.
The Buccaneer players weren't the only ones giving up their time to support Big Brothers/Big Sisters, as approximately 750 others showed up to help support the cause.
"Many of the people here today work for our corporate sponsors of the event, while many others are Big Brothers or Big Sisters themselves," said Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, Inc. CEO David Braughton. "The people represented here today come from a variety of sources."
Big Brothers/Big Sisters makes "Bowl for Kids' Sake" an event open to anyone and rewards those who go above and beyond the call of duty for this worthwhile cause. Each team must have five representatives with one representative designated as the team captain. The bowlers then choose a time during the event to bowl, as each participant bowls one game. The team representatives then get their family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to sponsor them with either a flat donation or a designated per pin donation. The team participants are each asked to have at least $100.00 pledged, with many doing much more. Teams and individual team participants are rewarded for their extra effort with prizes based on their pledge amounts. Participants with pledges of $100 get a "Bowl for Kids' Sake 2002" t-shirt, while for pledges between $150 and $249 get a t-shirt and sweatshirt. Pledges over $250 get a t-shirt, sweatshirt and gift card ranging from $20-$45 based on the amount of the pledges. The individual who raises the most money receives $500 worth of free gas for one year, while the overall team raising the most receives a $250 gift certificate to Columbia restaurant.
The Buccaneers support of the "Bowl for Kids' Sake event was one of the highlights for CEO Braughton, "The support that the Buccaneers have provided means everything. We're a community agency that needs volunteers and we look for every chance we get. We try and provide 'Big Magic through Little Moments', whether it is having one of our corporate partners visit a school or having someone spend the time to mentor a child. Just having a Buccaneer presence here is a major contribution."
As the bowling progressed throughout the day, the two bowlers on lanes 25 and 26 drew crowds of people, both young and old. Signing autographs and chatting with the kids, while also attempting to crack the vaunted 100 barrier, Cook and Singleton enjoyed the afternoon of fun and excitement.
The left-handed Singleton, who rolled games of 128 and 105 to go along with his games of 91 and 98 said, "I came out to support Big Brothers/Big Sisters. It's a great organization and I think setting an example and being a role model is one of the most important things that anybody can do."
The jovial Cook, who never cracked the 100 mark, rolling games of 66, 77, 80 and 91 agreed with his teammate, "It's a good cause and I like to come out and show support for my community whenever I get the chance. Just being out here and seeing the smiles on people faces brings a smile to my face as well. They bring joy to me and I just hope that we can do the same for them."
While spares and strikes were few and far between, and Cook and Singleton will never be confused with bowling legends Earl Anthony and Dick Weber, the fun that they had and the joy that they brought to all those participated in the event won't soon be forgotten.
"We're always looking for volunteers," said CEO Braughton. "And having these guys out here can only help us in raising our awareness level. Anybody can be a volunteer, all it takes is one hour a week."
To find out more on how you can become a Big Brother or Big Sister call toll free 1-888-293-2535 or visit Big Brothers/Big Sisters on the web at www.bbbsfl.org.