Different Stories, Same Messages

May 16th, 2015

Doug Martin spent much of his Thursday afternoon helping inspire kids in Clearwater, along with Demar Dotson, Keith Tandy and Leonard Johnson. (City of Clearwater photo)

How about your Buccaneers making an impact in the community!

Joe was sweating in the sun on Thursday watching Leonard Johnson, Doug Martin, Keith Tandy and Demar Dotson answer questions from Clearwater kids and exercise with them as part of the NFL’s Play 60 program, highlighted by the Buccaneers presenting a $10,000 check to fund youth programs.

The players had very different stories but similar messages.

At one point during a Q&A session, Dotson was asked about eating his vegetables as a kid and healthy eating. Dotson explained that in the situation he grew up in, you ate every piece of food in front of you — especially when you’re a big kid like he was. His mom cooked once a week, Dotson said, and his family hoped they would have enough food to last the week. “So I ate all my vegetables,” Dotson said.

Tandy told a youngster who asked about grades that a grade point average can’t be a focus. Tandy implored kids to work hard daily and give their best effort, and that is their path to success. He talked about graduating college with a biology degree and encouraged kids to always speak up when they have questions in school.

Johnson was a real popular guy. The Clearwater native still lives a short walk from “Buccaneers Field,” where the event was held — on lighted fields funded in part by a grant from the Bucs.

Johnson is active in the community and told Joe he often hangs out at his dad’s popular barber shop, where he talks to a lot of kids. Johnson also coaches as much youth football as he can into his schedule.

Joe noticed many children seemed afraid of Dotson, the hulking 6-9, 315-pound tackle. In contrast, Martin was a magnetic force, though it wasn’t because of his hula-hoop prowess.

“It’s good to inspire kids to be successful, and be outside and be active,” Martin said. “But I cannot hula hoop, I remember trying it back when I was seven or eight years old, and I still couldn’t do it, which is kind of frustrating because I’m an excellent dancer. So you’d think that I would know how to hula hoop. But I can’t.

“Demar is 8-foot-10, so I could understand [their fear] because he’s a large man. But it’s good that they feel comfortable with me.”

9 Responses to “Different Stories, Same Messages”

  1. Buc-A-New Says:

    Awesome!!! Absolutely LOVE stories like this one. Thanks Joe

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Demar Dotson…..”America’s Tackle”

  3. Buc-A-New Says:

    LOL………Pablo came up with that one didn’t he TBBF!

  4. JoeJoes Fungi Nails Says:

    Sweating…Joe its only Florida May….5 more months ’till the first cool front in October…..is how I measure seasons after 50 years in Fla

  5. rayjay1122 Says:

    Nice story. Today’s youth need some stand up players to look up to. I was blessed to grow up in an era that had the likes of Lee Roy Selmon. I think that every generation, there have been some great role models such as Brooks. Dunn and A Train and now V-Jax, GMC and hopefully Winston will take that road as well and BECOME a positive role model as well as a star QB. I emphasize become as he grows into his role, but from the early stages of his pro career, it looks like he is on the right path.

  6. Boise Bucs Fan Says:

    Joe, thanks for posting this story! It’s good to see the players doing feel good community things.

  7. Buccfan37 Says:

    Speaking of the weather in Florida, here it is mid May, and it feels like summer is already here. Last evening about sundown a severe torrential rain pummeled this part of St. Pete with heavy close by lightning strikes and small hail. Wrong time of the year for this weather.

  8. Destinjohnny Says:

    Ya those kids for the most part have no role models its so kick ass these guys are helping to make a diffrence

  9. Ray Rice Says:

    Hope Leonard “I got burned again coach” Johnson isn’t teaching the kids his technique of covering a WR.