The First Wave
As far back as I can remember football, I was a Bucs fan. I'm from the area, from Sarasota, so that resonated with me. I want to be with the hometown team. I always wanted to be a football player myself. What drew me to the Bucs was because they were the home team and I really liked what they were doing at that time. We were definitely on the rise at the point. They had Brad Johnson, Shaun King, Warren Sapp, Dungy was the coach. I was around that age where you start learning about sports and I really gravitated towards that team and what it represented.
My dad was a Bucs fan and he passed when I was five. I remember watching my first football game, it was a Bucs game, with my dad. It reminds me of that now. And as a fan, you feel you're a part of the team. When they lose, I feel like I lose as well. I feel like we're one. That's how I really feel.
With Florida, we have two other teams. You have the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Miami Dolphins, so you've got people that are really divided. For me, I'm a die hard. I have never liked any other team. In Tampa, it's a different vibe.
Every game, if I don't watch the game and we lose, I feel like it's because I didn't watch the game. When I was younger, I would even make sure my schedule was clear for game times. I wouldn't do anything but watch the game. That's how serious it became.
Planting the Flag
My favorite coach is Tony Dungy. I got to meet Tony at a game on the sideline and I met his son Eric Dungy. They're the humblest people ever. I'm still in contact with Eric. They were inducting him into the Ring of Honor. He's a great stand-up guy. I feel like he set his purpose and left his mark on the city of Tampa. I feel like he got them to the brink of stardom, in my opinion. He took a picture with me and everything.
One of my favorite players is Ronde Barber for his longevity, he was the longest tenured star. He was the one that sealed the Super Bowl for us when he got the interception against the Eagles. I've gotten the chance to meet him as well. Great guy and everything he represents for the community. For him to still be around and supporting, I feel like that's one of my favorite Bucs players of all time.
My favorite player right now is Mike Evans. He's my favorite in the current era. He's a real humble dude. We have a similar background, I know his story. We both grew up without our dads. Even on my birthday, he gave me a special shoutout – a video. He always makes sure he speaks to me and keeps it humble. Being in that spotlight, you can't forget the fans and the people that are rooting for you. Mike, he represents that stand-up player. He takes no downs off. He plays every snap. You don't ever see him in any trouble. He's a family guy, he takes care of his kids and that embodies everything a player should be. He always makes times for the fans. He makes you excited to come to a game just to see what he's going to do. Everything he got, he earned and it's well-deserved. I'm pretty sure he's got plenty more great things coming for the city of Tampa.
The Bucs mean everything to me. Being able to work for the Bucs and to be a fan for the Bucs is a dream come true. I was born with cerebral palsy and I always wanted to play sports, but I couldn't. I always loved the Bucs, though. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a Bucs fan. Through all the ups and downs, the Bucs mean a lot to me. They've given me a chance to be part of the team and I appreciate it. Another person I appreciate on the team is [Co-Owner and President of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation and Glazer Family Foundation] Darcie Glazer Kassewitz. She's so nice. Every time she sees me at an event, she comes up and hugs me and is so uplifting to me. She's definitely a heartwarming person. The Bucs just accept me with open arms. They mean a lot to me. It's just a family atmosphere. It's really a good feeling.
Being a kid that wasn't afforded the opportunity to play the sport but was still be able to be around the sport of your favorite team of your hometown, it's an electrifying feeling that's sometimes surreal to me. I wish my dad was still alive to see this. I didn't let me condition stop me and my biggest dream was to work for the Bucs and it happened. It let me know that if you just keep going, it'll happen.