My Journey As A Bucs Fan

Well my Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to the Super Bowl in Tampa. That’s right. The Bucs are the first team to ever play in a Super Bowl in their own stadium. A lot of folks are jumping on the bandwagon and I am okay with that. Me, I have been rooting for the Bucs since the very beginning in 1974.

That’s right, I started following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on April 24, 1974. That is the day the NFL awarded Tampa with a team. Wow, that was 46 years ago. I was born and raised in South Florida, but just never became a fan of the Miami Dolphins. No disrespect to the Dolphins or their fans. My grandfather was a huge fan and tried his best to make me a Dolphin fan. Heck, I even wore a Dolphins shirt for school pictures one time. But I could never get behind the team from Miami. Then that day in 1974 happened.

Once the NFL awarded the city of Tampa with a team, I was immediately onboard. Even though the Bucs did not start playing until the 1976 season, I was a fan. My parents even bought me a Tampa Bay Buccaneers shirt. Yes, I walked around proudly in my “Creamsicle” Bucs shirt.

After two long years, the 1976 NFL season finally started. Most people don’t remember that the Bucs were originally in the AFC West. I was so excited to see my Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally start playing. The Bucs were playing, but not winning. Tampa ended that first season 0-14. That’s right. A winless season. But I was not deterred. I still proudly wore my Bucs shirt, even though I was heckled by family and friends. I would not give up on my favorite NFL team. I was all in.

My journey as Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan has been a roller coaster. I remember fondly my Bucs winning their first regular season game against the New Orleans Saints in 1977. Oh what a day! Finally able to celebrate a win. Then celebrating a playoff berth in 1979. Then celebrating a Super Bowl victory in 2002. So many great memories.

In 2021, my Bucs are back in the Super Bowl. A lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon. But I have no hate for those bandwagon fans. Welcome aboard! I hope you will truly fall in love with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers like I did, as a child back in 1974. Go Bucs! ~OC

Check Our Hearts

As I scroll through social media and have conversations with some Christians my heart breaks. I read and hear comments that must break Jesus heart. I think to myself did that Christian actually read their post before posting it or did they check their heart before speaking. Probably not.

As I study scripture, I wonder what Bible some Christians are reading. Because my Bible says we should love everyone. Not just those who think like us, look like us or worship like us. No, we are to love Everyone! Sadly, I see a lot of Hate coming from those who would call themselves Christians. Here are a few examples:

*Those calling themselves Christians with their Christian flags, storming the Capital on January 6th. I could really just stop there, but let’s go on.

*Those calling themselves Christians buying into the conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen by the Democrats. Remember, no one ever produced any real proof. Every court, including the Supreme Court ruled there was no proof of election fraud. Yet the conspiracy theories continue. I believe conspiracy theories are nothing more than gossip.

*Some who call themselves Christians believing every Democrat is evil.

*Some who call themselves Christians believing racism is a thing of the past.

*Many Christians and Churches not speaking out against racism.

*Many so called Christians being part of hate groups.

*Many Christians being offended that some people refused to recognize Donald Trump as President, but now those same Christians loudly shout President Biden is not their President.

As I wrote this post, I thought to myself why would anyone want to be a Christian? But then I realized the Jesus I serve is all about Love and Grace. The examples above do not represent my Savior and most Christians. Jesus loves everyone. Sadly some Christians have perverted the Christian faith. It is up to true believers to stand up for what’s right. Even when doing so is not popular. It’s time for the Christian Community to check our hearts. ~OC

My Prayer: Take Off The Blinders

As we witnessed the civil unrest at the Capital in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, there was a lot of discussion about hate groups and racism in America. Some in the white community (Breaking News: I am white), screamed on social media that racism is no longer an issue in 2021. Really?

When I engage some white people in the topic of racism, they often will challenge me to prove that racism still exist today in America. So I present them with a challenge. My challenge to them is to simply listen.

I am a storyteller, so I will share stories that my friends of color have shared with me about being racially profiled. I will share legit studies that have been done on the subject of racism. I will share videos showing racism happening to a person of color. I will encourage them to read articles or books on the subject of racism. Most importantly, I will challenge them to reach out to a friend of color and asked them if they have ever experienced racism. I think to myself, one of these suggestions will get through to them. Right? Sadly, a good majority of the time I will hear the following excuses:

*The data is biased.

*I don’t have time to read any articles or books.

*The person in the video was overreacting.

*My friends of color (if they actually have some) don’t want to talk about racism.

*I am tired of hearing about racism. Can’t everyone just get over it?”

I have had these types of conversations with my white friends and complete strangers too many times to count. But then after years of being frustrated by people who do not believe racism is still sadly alive and well, a beautiful freeing thought came to me. I don’t have to proof racism still exist today. The burden of proof is not on me. The burden of proof is on those who refuse to believe racism is still a major issue in 2021. There is no reason for me to walk away from these conversations feeling frustrated. The debate is over. This truth has set me free.

To those who continue to believe racism no longer exist, prove it. Show me some actual evidence. Show me some factual data. Just as my evidence proofs racism still exist in 2021, your evidence better support your argument against that fact.

As I close, my prayer is that God will change the hearts and minds of those who still deny racism is a clear and present danger in America. I pray these deniers will take time to read a book or article on the subject of racism. I pray they will check out the many videos that sadly show racism is still wide awake in our nation. My prayer is that my white brothers and sisters who still believe racism is a thing of the past, will reach out to a person of color and have a real conversation about this stain on America. I pray the blinders will come off. ~OC

I Am

As I was on my morning walk, these words came to me:

I am a white man. I bleed red.

My brothers and sisters of color bleed red.

I am a white man. I love to pray.

My brothers and sisters of color love to pray.

I am a white man. I love my family and friends

My brothers and sisters of color love their family and friends.

I am a white man. I love to laugh and cry.

My brothers and sisters of color love to laugh and cry.

I am a white man. I love to praise God.

My brothers and sisters of color love to praise God.

I am a white man. I want the best for my family and friends.

My bothers and sisters of color want the best for their family and friends.

I am a white man. I love to read and listen to music.

My brothers and sisters of color love to read and listen to music.

I am a white man. I love great conversation.

My brothers and sisters of color love great conversation.

I am a white man. I have the right to share my opinions.

My brothers and sisters of color have the right to share their opinions.

I am a white man. I love diversity.

My brothers and sisters of color love diversity.

I am a white man. I reach out with love to my brothers and sisters of color. I am blessed that my brothers and sisters of color have always reached back with open arms and love.

Why did I share this blogpost? Because We have more in common than we have differences. There is no Them. There is only Us. As a world we are better Together. Celebrate Diversity. ~OC

Say Yes. Say No.

Say yes to loving others.
Say yes to forgiving others.
Say yes to helping others.
Say yes to standing up for others.
Say yes to listening to others.
Say yes to encouraging others.

Say no to hating others.
Say no to judging others.
Say no to bullying others.
Say no to gossiping about others.
Say no to discouraging others.
Say no to holding grudges against others. ~OC

Thank You, Dr. King

On this day, we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Long after his death, Dr. King’s words and actions continue to inspire us. They continue to challenge us.

Today we take time to remember this amazing man of peace. Dr. King truly lived out the words he wrote and spoke. His words live on, some of the most meaningful ever spoken.

During this time of unrest in our world, I encourage you to stop and reflect on Dr. King’s words. To put those words in action. To come together and live out The Dream. Thank you Dr. King. ~OC

Never, Never Give Up

At some point during our various journeys we get to a point where we feel like giving up. Sometimes we give up before we even start and other times we give up just before that big break-through.

Here is a list of reasons why we should never give up. I hope it encourages someone.

You Have Purpose: As long as your alive you have purpose. Sometimes the storm you’re going through is preparing you for your purpose. I can honestly say my health journey gave me real purpose in life.

You Are Strong: You are so much stronger than you think. Don’t allow a setback to stop you from achieving all that God has in store for you. I would have never completed all my marathons, if I had given up when my body and mind said stop.

Your Family and Friends: Let those close to you be your inspiration and motivation to keep pushing forward. My wife, family and friends encourage me to keep fighting.

There Are People Worse Off: Right now people are dealing with storms we could never imagine going through. When you are going through a tough time, think about that family member or friend that is pushing through a storm and not giving up.

Improve Your World: Use your life to make a difference where God has you planted. God has allowed me to be a Missionary at doctors offices and hospitals. To be an Encourager.

Ignore The Haters: You will encounter haters during your journey. That’s just life. Some people just enjoy tearing down others. Don’t allow them to rent space in your life. Keep being you.

Reach Out to Others: We cannot do life alone. Please don’t try. When the storms are raging, reach out for help. I am always here to help anyone I can.

Inspire Others: Be an inspiration by never giving up. The journey might not be easy, but it’s worth fighting through the tough times. You never know how your story of overcoming, might encourage someone else not to give up. ~OC

Take the Pledge

As I reflect on the unrest in America, I think about the powerful pledge from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As we celebrate MLK weekend, I wanted to share his pledge of non-violence. Here is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s pledge of non-violence:

I hereby pledge myself- my person and body-to the nonviolent movement. Therefore I will keep the following ten commandments:

1). Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.

2). Remember always that the non-violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation-not victory.

3). Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.

4). Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.

5). Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.

6). Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.

7). Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.

8). Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.

9). Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

10). Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.

I sign this pledge, having seriously considered what I do and with the determination and will to persevere.

As I read the above commitments, I think about all the heroes that lived out those powerful commitments in 1963. America was dealing with major unrest, as Dr. King and so many heroes marched peacefully for civil rights. Yes, peacefully. So the question is, will you take the pledge? I have personally committed to living out these commitments. Will you? ~OC

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