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 Post subject: I've Never Been More Proud To Be A Pirate Fan
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:53 pm 
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....and it has nothing to do with the Bucs having the best record in baseball!!

I coach a baseball team for Special Needs Kids at the Miracle Field in Murrysville.

Today was was Pirate Fantasy Camp Day for them along with several special leagues. The Pirates were here at 9 AM. Jared Hughes, Bryan Morris, and Tony Watson came along with a couple of their wives. Clint Hurdle, his wife, and son and daughter (who also has special needs), along with Team President Frank Connely and owner Bob Nuttig.

Each and every kid (well over 100) got their own Pirates Uniform Jersey with their name on it. Then they broke into 6 groups and got private instruction from the players, with help from their wives for about an hour. You know, these players (the Pirates) are young kids, often spoiled from the time they were very young, but I was very impressed with their interaction with the special needs kids. Not everyone can do that comfortably. They were awesome!!!

After the instruction, the kids were treated to lunch by the Pirates. Kudos to all involved and especially to PIRATES CHARITIES. They really know how to do it right! It was an amazing day. I also want to express my gratitude to all the kids and young adults who donate their time, not just today, but a couple days a week to be "buddies" for these kids. A lot of sports teams and/or schools get involved in a buddy program like this because it's part of their school or what they do...but they kids give their time, early Saturday morning and various evenings because they WANT to. It's a treat to see these kids after dealing with mostly scum for 25 years!

Heading out to PNC Park tonight. Let's make it 8!

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 Post subject: Re: I've Never Been More Proud To Be A Pirate Fan
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:02 pm 
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I am a firm believer in paying it forward and that good things happen to good people. Glad to hear the Pirate players and their families were able to give back to a few of the children that idolize them.


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 Post subject: Re: I've Never Been More Proud To Be A Pirate Fan
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:03 pm 
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Animal wrote:
It's a treat to see these kids after dealing with mostly scum for 25 years!

So you previously dealt with Raiders fans? :D

Great story, Animal, and great that you volunteer time like that.


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 Post subject: Re: I've Never Been More Proud To Be A Pirate Fan
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:20 pm 
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I love to tell people who has the best record in baseball. Especially here in Ohio, where everyone is so wahoo on the tribe. Not a whole lotta pirates fans here, right now anyway. I expect them to start coming out of the woodwork soon. They've been a forgotten franchise the last 20 years.

There are a lot of steelers fans here. I wore my pirates pillbox cap out last night.


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 Post subject: Re: I've Never Been More Proud To Be A Pirate Fan
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:56 pm 
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Animal: this is a wonderful thing, both for your efforts and for the Pirates' participation. Sometimes life is beautiful.


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 Post subject: Re: I've Never Been More Proud To Be A Pirate Fan
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 4:02 pm 
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Keep up the great work, Animal! So glad to hear that the PBC is also very supportive of your great cause.

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 Post subject: Re: I've Never Been More Proud To Be A Pirate Fan
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:07 pm 
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Thanks, but no need for accolades here. It's not just rewarding, it is fun. The reaction from these kids, the way they approach life is something that everyone should get a chance to experience. Being around these kids for even just an hour makes me feel good all day.

Several years back, I started a one day police camp at the special needs school where I volunteered. I would bring in motorcycle cops, patrol cars, a drug dog, fingerprint unit and much more and let the kids go station to station and just interact with the other troopers. I even had the PSP Helicopter land and let them check it out. The first year, I had to beg, borrow and steal to get volunteers. But as the word got out about how these kids reacted, every year, I got more and more volunteers. By the last time I had it, I actually had to turn guys away because there was nobody available to work the road.

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 Post subject: Re: I've Never Been More Proud To Be A Pirate Fan
PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:29 pm 
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It's good to know that the Bucs are doing even better things off the field.

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 Post subject: Re: I've Never Been More Proud To Be A Pirate Fan
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:13 am 
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No need for accolades? Bite me :) You'll take them and you'll like it. Well done, Animal.

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 Post subject: Re: I've Never Been More Proud To Be A Pirate Fan
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 2:23 am 
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Rochester wrote:
No need for accolades? Bite me :) You'll take them and you'll like it. Well done, Animal.


OKAY, Thanks....

Not sure if I did this right or not, but you can see pics of the kids and Buccos on facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 620&type=1

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 Post subject: Re: I've Never Been More Proud To Be A Pirate Fan
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:27 am 
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Animal wrote:
Not sure if I did this right or not, but you can see pics of the kids and Buccos on facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 620&type=1


Simply...spectacular. Well done my friend!

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 Post subject: Re: I've Never Been More Proud To Be A Pirate Fan
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:34 am 
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If you don't like these two pictures you have no soul.


Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: I've Never Been More Proud To Be A Pirate Fan
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:29 pm 
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Ah, Zoltan.

Never not awesome.

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 Post subject: Re: I've Never Been More Proud To Be A Pirate Fan
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:34 pm 
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IA Pirate wrote:
If you don't like these two pictures you have no soul.


Image

Image



It actually brought tears to my eyes! The kids would do the task the Pirates would have them do. They would do it, then flash the Z...and the players would flash it back.

Two particular things made my day...

Tony Watson's drill included teaching the kids to field a ground ball, then throw to first. So he would roll the ball to the kids, and they would throw to the first baseman--Watson's very young-looking beautiful (and athletic) wife, who was jumping all over to catch the balls and hooting and hollering to the kids!

The second was talking to Clint Hurdle...awesome guy, constant smile at the event, reminds me so much of Chuck Tanner... His daughter, probably 12ish with special needs, sporting her Mike McHenry jersey... YEP, MIKE McHENRY!!! LOL. I asked her why she didn't have her dad's jersey and they said that the Fort is her favorite, and in her eyes - THE ONLY- Pirates.

Not because I got to meet and interact with a few Bucs, because honestly I love sports, but to me, athletes should not be heroes for kids, our military, police, first-responders, teachers, they should be the heroes, this day will stay with me forever. I still can't stop talking about it.

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