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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tampa state of the city bonus: one hard-working football player



If you watch Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s state of the city speech on YouTube, the coverage begins with the City of Tampa Gospel Choir singing stirring renditions of Amazing Grace and Order My Steps.

But if you were among the 600 or so people inside the old Kress building Tuesday morning, there was bonus material.

Before the choir, the audience spent about five minutes watching — without an introduction — a video of a muscular, tattooed and usually shirtless young man practicing broken-field running on a beach, jogging on the side of a road, doing agility drills, working through a grueling circuit of weight training, taking handoffs, catching passes, doing more workouts at the gym, hopping back and forth over a fence, sprinting uphill and sprinting uphill backwards. And over these scenes, he narrates:

I’m here to tell you today, if you’re going to be successful, you’ve got to be willing to give up sleep. You’ve got to be willing to work off three hours of sleep, two hours. If you really want to be successful, some days you’re going to have to stay up three days in a row because if you go to sleep, you might miss the opportunity to be successful. That’s how bad you’ve got to want it. … Listen to me: You’ve got to want to be successful so bad that you forget to eat. Beyonce said once she was on the set doing her thing, three days had gone by, she had forgot she didn’t eat. Because she was engaged. I never forget when 50 Cent was doing his movie … and 50 said when he wasn’t doing the movie, he was doing the soundtrack. And they said, “When do you sleep, 50?” He said, “Sleep? Sleep is for those people who are broke. I don’t sleep.” He said, “I’ve got an opportunity to make a dream become a reality.”

It wasn’t until late in Buckhorn’s half-hour speech that he mentioned the video, though the audience never did hear that football player’s name. A local high school sensation? A USF Bull? A Buc?


Giavanni Ruffin.

Ruffin, 24, is a former running back at East Carolina University, an aspiring NFL player and a sports apparel entrepreneur. A video that a friend shot of his training regimen, How Bad Do You Want It, went viral. Since 2011, it has been viewed more than 17.5 million times on YouTube. And the mayor of Tampa is a fan.

“Our dreams and our opportunities are only limited by the boundaries of our expectations,” Buckhorn said toward the end of the state of the city. “Like that young man in the video — and I showed that for a reason — there’s no failure in falling. The only failure is not getting up. You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to want it really bad. You’ve got to want it so bad that, like he said, you forget to eat and sleep. It’s not about us. It’s about a legacy that we’re going to leave to our kids. Because ultimately, some day, Tampa, they’re going to ask us … What did you do to make this a better place?”

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 9:27am]


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