This article is the sole opinion of the author. Our Krewe is proud, talented and passionate. While I may be emotional and mushy as hell right now, the positions put forth here are not meant to be the words of the rest of this amazing group of people.
As you know, the podcast “What the Buc” ended almost two years ago. After over a decade, the joy from that pursuit was gone and that led to a diminishing product. It was best to cede the role to others who were more passionate since I always feel that passion is the key to any success.
Over that 12 or so year run, I was fortunate to meet so many amazing people. The podcast grew into a social media group that matured (well, seasoned) into a pretty amazing group of folks. That group created many things from the only Hall of Fame tailgate in Tampa to a charitable organization that has helped countless local and remote beneficiaries. From reviving watch parties to collecting and distributing hundreds of pounds of peanut butter, this Krewe has made a profound impact on the community.
As a Krewe, we have helped usher along a few things (how much so is clearly up for interpretation):
- We changed the way media covered the team we loved
- We drove a revolution in fan-based content
- We changed the way our team interacted with the fans
- We were early adopters of social media and harnessed its power as it matured
- We bridged the gap between “Social Media” and “Social Humans” as we converted online friends into real life ones
- We showed people that you do not have to be wealthy to make a difference in your community if you work together
- We brought generations of fans together and built bridges to other fanbases
- We saw our friends welcome children, get engaged and get married
- We cried together as we watched friends pass away
With all that good, it is not lost on me that we were exceptionally human. We are susceptible to the same weaknesses and mistakes that plague any other group of human beings. We also saw and participated in:
- Anger, bitterness, and jealousy which tore our group apart more than once
- Decisions and actions that hurt people we loved
- The formation of what seem to be rivalries and almost “enemies” that do not add to any of our lives in a positive way
This note is a thank you to our community which spans the globe. Our friends. Thank you for making the last 15 years amazing—full of highs which are amplified by the lows—as nobody and nothing is perfect. We know that. We said it for years. Sometimes we all need reminders.
Thank you for reminding us.
For this season, there will be no “What the Buc” tailgates. We want everyone to be safe and in today’s world, that is exceptionally difficult. As the title says, it took a PANDEMIC to stop this tailgate, but we are pushing PAUSE on the ONLY Hall of Fame Tailgate in Tampa.
The Bucs Life Krewe has graciously stepped up to take over our spot on Ohio Avenue and craft their own vision for a tailgate in the post-COVID era. I am sure they will do so in innovative and responsible ways, and we are privileged to say they will continue with the philanthropic model, sending proceeds from their events to the What the Buc Really Matters Foundation. After this season, the WTB Krewe will review and decide how to move forward.
We look forward to seeing how this amazing community grows and evolves and we are excited to participate in it.
To our friends (and to those who do not consider us that but who are still reading this for some reason), we wish you well. Life is too short to hold a grudge and if this year has not clarified, it is too precious to waste our limited time and resources on negative emotions.
I will end this with a thank you to our Krewe over the years. People have come and gone. Each impacted who we grew into and made a permanent change on us individually, and as a group. A few have stayed for the whole run and believe me, you are family. While the unifying purpose for many may be gone for now, the relationships that have been altered over the last decade may now get the time and space needed to heal. The things that brought us together may be able to remind us of their presence as we all mature.
Me most of all. Thanks for the memories and see you (safely) at whatever new events form.