Tuesday, June 19, 2018
News Roundup

Armwood title gone, but memories remain

My sons were part of the Armwood High football program for five years.

My younger son played on this year's championship team.

After attending Mulrennan Middle on special assignment, the boys moved on to Armwood, their neighborhood school. The football team helped them make the transition.

So because of all the obvious journalistic conflict of interest principles, I've stayed away from writing about the player eligibility controversy dogging the program.

Still, I haven't ignored the news accounts. Neither has Ethan.

He called me at work Tuesday, upset that the Florida High School Athletics Association ruled the Hawks must relinquish their trophy and pay more than $12,000 in fines and investigative costs. He didn't say the ruling was wrong, but I could hear the hurt in his voice.

A television reporter reached out to him seeking a comment. He said he wanted to respond, but I worried it might not be the best forum. I joked that his brother and sister recently wrote columns for the newspaper and maybe he could write one.

He didn't laugh, but he did write something.

As a father, I worry about the criticism he might receive. As a journalist, however, I've decided not to interfere with his First Amendment rights.

Here's what he wrote:

The FHSAA officials can take away our title, the monuments, the trophies, the honors, the public appearances and whatever else comes with winning the Class 6A state football championship.

But they can't take it all.

Through my four years being a part of the team, I have obtained a plethora of experiences that no association could ever take away.

All the seniors I played with my junior year join Matthew Hooper on my list of big brothers. Through their constant teasing and encouragement, they have left a mark on me — not with ink and paper, but with blood and tears.

They can't take that away.

My senior teammates, the Class of 2012, became my first friends when I started at Armwood four years ago, not really knowing anyone because I went to middle school in Valrico. I'll never relinquish those friendships because of some ruling.

The bonds we formed working out under those bleachers and how our friendship grew with every season will remain with me forever.

They can't take that away.

All the underclassmen who I jokingly designated as my proteges, who I've watched grow and become their own person despite some being obnoxious, will remain those loving thorns in my sides.

They can't take that away.

Every single one of my coaches who have inspired me to continue being my fun-loving self will stick with me for the rest of my life. Say what you want to say about head coach Sean Callahan, but he will forever remain one of the biggest influences in my life.

They can't take that away.

They can't take away the memories of our team's Las Vegas trip and me singing with teammate Skylar Clark in an airport restaurant.

They can't take away the big hugs of congratulations, the smiles on my teammates' faces after I scored my first touchdown against King.

They can't take away the moment at our last-hit ceremony when I read a poem that expressed my inner thoughts of being part of such a brotherhood.

They can't take away the self-proclaimed greatest victory run the Citrus Bowl has ever seen executed by me and the team after we won our state championship.

Most importantly, they can't take away one of my best friends on the team even though they deemed him "ineligible."

So go ahead, take the title. We know in our hearts that we left it all out on the field.

Comments
Jeff Vinik-backed construction material firm headed to Port Tampa Bay

Jeff Vinik-backed construction material firm headed to Port Tampa Bay

TAMPA — With $3 billion in construction on the boards, Water Street Tampa will need a lot of concrete, so a company whose largest investor is Jeff Vinik is moving to Port Tampa Bay to begin importing fly ash, a component of concrete.Spartan Materials...
Updated: 3 minutes ago
New Yorker magazine apologizes to combat-wounded Pasco veteran over staffer’s Tweet

New Yorker magazine apologizes to combat-wounded Pasco veteran over staffer’s Tweet

The New Yorker magazine has apologized to a combat-wounded Pasco County veteran about a tweet posted by one of its staffers.Over the weekend, New Yorker staffer Talia Lavin wrote in a tweet that a tattoo on the left elbow of Justin Gaertner looked li...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Top 5 at noon: Spectrum’s new service to increase TV costs; guide to St. Pete Pride 2018; and more

Top 5 at noon: Spectrum’s new service to increase TV costs; guide to St. Pete Pride 2018; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.SPECTRUM’S NEW SERVICE WILL EVENTUALLY INCREASE THE COST FOR TVSpectrum’s new all-digital service is set to bring more high definition, faster internet speeds and expanded on-demand offerings ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lakeland father, girlfriend face charges in death of 6-year-old girl

Lakeland father, girlfriend face charges in death of 6-year-old girl

A Lakeland man and his girlfriend face charges of first-degree murder and aggravated manslaughter in the death of his 6-year-old daughter last week.Larry Lewis Golden Jr., 26, Breonna B. Wren, 21, were arrested Friday and are being held without bail ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Salary-cap increase makes for ‘more fun’ NHL offseason

Salary-cap increase makes for ‘more fun’ NHL offseason

Thanks, Vegas. That’s what NHL general managers are saying this offseason after the Stanley Cup Final run of the expansion Golden Knights contributed to what’s expected to be a healthy increase for the salary cap. With elite center John Tavares, No. ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Drugs at your doorstep: CVS will deliver prescriptions to your home

Drugs at your doorstep: CVS will deliver prescriptions to your home

CVS Health will make prescription deliveries nationwide to accommodate the heightened expectations of convenience from consumers. The nation’s second-largest drugstore chain says it also will make home deliveries of other items, like allergy medicine...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Among the marching bands and twirlers at Saturday’s St. Pete Pride Parade, one major sponsor, Tech Data, is sending by far a record number of employees — more than 700 at last count — to march in Florida’s largest gay pride parade.The parade, which d...
Updated: 2 hours ago
They usually avoid controversy, but every living first lady has condemned border separations

They usually avoid controversy, but every living first lady has condemned border separations

Every living first lady - including Melania Trump - has condemned the policy of separating immigrant families caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. It is a rare moment of bipartisan unity from the women who make up the small sorority of p...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay boys soccer players of the year

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay boys soccer players of the year

Hillsborough player of the year: F Eric Ugarte, Sr., Plant CityThe numbers: Ugarte scored 21 goals and added 11 assists to lead the Raiders to their first state title in soccer. He scored 71 goals in his career.Something about Eric: The skilled ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays continue to struggle in close games

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays continue to struggle in close games

The Rays blow a four-run lead in Houston and lose on a walkoff hit to the Astros in the opener of their three-game series. It's the 19th one-run loss for the Rays this season as they continue to struggle in close games. Fortunately, reinforcements ar...
Updated: 3 hours ago