Before You Go

Dear Kevin,

When you were little you didn’t like when we over explained things to you. You were an extremely curious kid. (You still are.) Like a detective you’d ask a lot of questions to get at the truth, or at least your understanding of it. But once your curiosity had been satisfied, you wanted us to stop talking. You had no patience for anything that sounded preachy. When you sensed a lecture or sermon coming on, you’d interrupt and say, “I don’t want to know. And I don’t want you to tell me.” So please forgive us for writing this letter of unsolicited advice.

What follows are things we have come to believe and value about life and the human experience. Much of it we learned from you, by being your dads. All of the sentiments expressed below have been said or written by others, and with more eloquence than us. And our thoughts are repetitive, disjointed, and scattered. One passage may contradict another—sometimes in the same sentence—but that’s life: a complicated, repetitive, disjointed, random, beautiful mess. The route is seldom a direct express.

The tone below veers into commencement speech territory, including generalizations and nauseating clichés commonly heard at graduations. But since neither of us are likely to ever deliver a graduation commencement speech, this is our attempt at passing on what we’d like to believe is wisdom, all of which you are free to ignore. (Skip past the dotted lines if “you don’t want us to tell you.”)

So from us to you, in no particular order, here goes.

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A Bucs Fan For Life

For the last forty years, I’ve been asked why and how I’m a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, especially being from New Jersey. I usually say the first football game I went to as a kid was a Giants/Buccaneers game. But I think I was already a fan by the time I went to that game. Truth is, the Bucs caught my eye the minute they entered the NFL in 1976, an expansion team along with the Seattle Seahawks–another team I root for.

I was eight years old when the Buccaneers completed their inaugural season with zero wins and fourteen losses. It’s when I must have developed a thing for losers and underdogs—I’m also a Mets fan. In 1977, the Bucs kept me engaged by losing the first twelve games of their second season. With twenty-six losses in a row, my devotion to them was cemented.

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