Hey there, Buc Maniacs! This is your boy, Jon Hinkle, aka “Deez Bucz”. I am one of the contributing writers here at WhatTheBuc.net. I am also a Bucs superfan, a Florida Buccaholic, a Skulleton Krewe member, a certified Stick Carrier and proud citizen of Bucs Nation. We’ve been asked by the big bossman, Derek “Old School” Fournier himself, to re-introduce ourselves to our readers out there before the start of the new season and give a heads up as to what you Bucs fans can expect from us this year. Those of you who have been following my work over the last year or so know that I write from the heart. I don’t typically write a regular weekly piece on matchups or game predictions. I write articles on whatever hits me from week to week. Although, I did recently do a lengthy series called “Welcome Aboard” where I introduced some of the Bucs new players to Bucs Nation. I write from the heart. I write with emotion and with passion. My passion for the Bucs, this team, the organization and the fans. This year, you can expect more of the same from me.
My love for the Buccaneers began as a 10 year-old kid when I went to my first game at the old Tampa Stadium…the Big Sombrero. It was against their then NFC Central division rival, the Chicago Bears with Walter Payton. I remember being in awe of the entire experience. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the hard ass metal bleacher seating. I couldn’t get over how big the players were, how green the field was or how enormous the stadium was…it was incredible! That was my first taste of Buccaneer football and I was hooked. After a brief love affair with the game of basketball all through middle and high school, I replaced my obsession for hoops with the Bucs and it’s been growing more and more intense with every season.
I began “dressing up” for games when the Bucs made the uniform and logo changed for the 1997 season. When they replaced Bucco Bruce with the modified “Jolly Roger” flag, it gave me the idea of wearing the skull mask and pirate beads. It attracted some attention on gamedays from both Bucs fans and visiting fans, so I just rolled with it. The look continued to morph and grow each year adding to the costume little by little every season. What you see today is the result of almost 20 years of football fan evolution. My gameday look is always changing. In fact, there will be a few slight changes for this upcoming season as well. The skull mask is actually the original one from way back then, so I’m finally retiring and replacing it with a new one which better represents the Bucs new skull logo. I’m thinking about unveiling the new and improved “Deez Bucz” on the first weekend of training camp. We shall see…
Some of you probably remember when Raymond James Stadium first opened in September of 1998, there was a long waiting list for season tickets. Well, I was on that list. It took almost four years before I received a phone call the Bucs saying that my name had actually come up. Unfortunately, at that time, I couldn’t afford them and had to pass. Since then, life has gotten in the way of my season passes but I attended at least two or three games every year until the 2015 season when I was finally able to fulfill that dream and buy them. It was then that “Deez Bucz” became an official Bucs fan and over the last two years, I’ve built friendships with some of the best people and most hardcore football fans that I’ve ever met.
Gameday for me is an incredible experience. From the moment we arrive at the WTB Tailgate to the moment we get back to the parking lot after leaving the stadium, it’s a feeling like no other. The partying, the fans, the pictures, the smiles, the kids, the stadium, the game…it all adds up to a ton of great memories and relationships that I wouldn’t trade for anything. As much as it pains me to say this, it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to renew my season tickets this season. I had to have shoulder surgery earlier this year and was forced to use the money set aside for my passes for the unexpected medical expenses. I will try to make it to as many home games as possible, but unfortunately, I probably won’t be at every game this season.
Despite the setback, I will continue to represent the Buccaneers in the only way that I know how, as “Deez Bucz”. I will continue to be passionate in my writing about the Bucs. I will continue to try and entertain and inform our WTB readers to the best of my ability. I will continue to be the biggest and best Bucs fan that I know how to be. “Deez Bucz” will be back in Ray Jay next season in full effect and taking over the south endzone once again. But until then, as always…GO BUCS!!!