I recently read an article by Derek Fournier on the WTB website, and I was saddened by what I read. I am someone who was born and raised in Tampa, so I bleed orange, red, and pewter. I say orange because I am as old as the team.
I, like others, was shocked by what Derek wrote, but I am not going to argue with him or what he said. I just want to say thanks to Derek for what you did for my hometown. Derek your podcast, social media posts, and periscopes during the game were the things I looked forward to every week. It was my connection to Raymond James Stadium close to where my Dad sat at in the West Club. I would always try to listen live on Mixer and interact with the show as much as I can. The content you created was what I loved the most. It was not fake, media crap, it was real news from a fan like me. I really enjoyed Mark Cook as your co-host as well his cousin Nook Nook (Did he ever get his moped back?).
I connected with you on Twitter many years ago and met you at the first Buccaholics tailgate in Arizona, and if not for you, I don’t find that group. I know social media can be negative, but if not for you, I don’t meet you that day as well some great friends that I also met that day; like A-Train (Art Oropez), Bucs Princess (Nikki), and El Hero (Jay McElroy). The group you helped out with and showed a vision to re-fired up my passion for the Bucs. I know how losing feels as I say many times in the old stadium wondering what .500 would feel like. I try to use my group as my victory and the game secondary.
The tailgates you had and other things that you did that gave back to the community, touched my heart and the great work you did for the golf tournament was a great cause. I donated what I could from where I am, but you touched so many people in Tampa as well around the world. I will never judge you as I can’t until I run miles in your shoes.
Last season, I finally got to attend my first WTB tailgate in Tampa and took my dad with me. My mom, who dropped us off, had trouble finding it, but once we did what a ton of fun. It was great to meet so many people I am connected with on social media for the first time. The hospitality showed to my dad, who has a cane to get around, was great. We had a blast just being around other Bucs fans in my hometown. We didn’t win that day, but the tailgate was a win for us, and that’s what mattered.
I also can relate how you feel at times that this team doesn’t love you back and I get that all too well being a fan since day 1. I also think what you pioneered also made me enjoy the game more, but more importantly, the fans around the game. The podcast, no matter win or lose, was an outlet for the week.
I respect your decision, and you have to do what is best for you and your family. It is your discretionary income and your time. After what I read online I just wanted to say thanks for you all you did for me and all the fans I know. Stay well my friend, and may our paths cross again in Tampa or in Vegas (Draft and Bucs in Vegas 2020). Let me buy you a drink and dinner to say thank you in person. Thanks, Derek!!