Sunday, June 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs GM Licht's always best-dressed guy in the pool

TAMPA — If you follow Jason Licht on Twitter, it's easy to determine if the Bucs general manager is soaking up another victory.

That's because Licht has kept his promise to his three children that after a win on Sunday, he will jump into the pool with them. The kids are in bathing suits. Licht winds up wearing a wet suit, not a wet suit. The kind made by Elevee Custom Clothing, not Body Glove.

Completely dressed, fresh from Raymond James Stadium or the team charter, Licht is the life of the pool party.

Holding hands with Charlie, 6; Zoe, 4; and Theo, 2; the countdown begins. Three, two, one — splash down! A picture of the plunge, taken by his wife, Blair, is posted on social media.

The tradition was supposed to begin in 2014, but things didn't go so swimmingly in Licht's first year with the Bucs. The team went only 2-14, with both wins coming on the road in Pittsburgh and Washington.

"Last year, it was not a fun year," Licht said. "And we talked last year that 'Hey, after wins, I can come home, we can have a little pool party.' We never were able to. Both our wins were on the road, I got home a little bit late and they were in bed.

"We talked about it this summer on vacation. Then the first week, we lose to Tennessee. The kids were in a bad mood. My oldest is getting a little more understanding now. They know I'm in a bad mood when we don't win. It's not a good day. I'll eventually have to go throw the ball around with them a little bit, but it's just not the same."

But in Week 2, as Licht prepared to leave for New Orleans, he told his kids to be ready to take a dip.

"I said before we left, 'Hey, I'm going to come back, I have a really good feeling about this, we're going to win,' " Licht recalled. "I looked at the itinerary, I'm going to come home and I'm going to be home in time for us to go swimming.

"Then they said, 'It's going to be almost bedtime.' I said, 'I'll tell you what, I'll jump in wearing my suit!' They said, 'No, you won't, Dad.' I said, 'Yes, I will! If we win, I'm going to come home and jump in wearing my suit.' So that's what happened. They were ready to go. My youngest, Theo, was in bed, but mom kept the others up."

During a 1-3 start, the Bucs were treading water in the NFC South. But since, they have won three of five games and hope to make some waves in the second half of the season.

Of course, the obvious question is what happens to his expensive suits?

"It surprisingly hasn't ruined the suits," Licht said. "But I gladly would sacrifice and pay $1,000 for each one for a win. At the time, I don't care. And I cross my fingers each time that I turn a suit into the dry cleaners and go, 'Oh, man, I like that suit, too.' But they come back, and so far, they've been good, too."

Many amphibious Bucs fans have adopted Licht's tradition and are pool jumping with their clothes on and posting proof on the web.

Of course, as the Bucs are warming up, the weather is cooling down.

Though still unseasonably hot for November, a cold front is expected to reach Tampa Bay on Sunday. More will certainly follow. But Licht isn't planning on the Bucs hitting a dry spell. He has it covered.

"One of the things when we bought our house a year and a half ago, I didn't get the pool heater fixed," Licht said. "So last year we didn't have a heater all winter. Three weeks ago I had a pool heater installed for that reason."

That means the Licht pool parties can continue if the Bucs keep winning in December and January.

"Or February," said Licht, smiling.

Man overboard.

     
 
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