[ED note: We needed content during the holiday. Carl talked about this for more than five minutes in our Slack channel so by rule it’s going up on the website.]
The world of college athletics is riddled with weird rivalries. My favorite weird rivalry is the $5 Bits of Broken Chair, created between Nebraska and Minnesota via the internet.
I have an idea for another one, and I think we degenerate Tampanians all enjoy a certain festival too much to say it wouldn’t work. Plus it’s time to start hydrating before the parade.
So there was this tweet that began it:
I just need one college football fan base to take up singing sea shanties in the stands— BUM CHILLUPS (@edsbs) December 14, 2018
The first thought was: USF needs to do this because Gasparilla is a thing. It would be even easier to do at soccer and basketball games where the play is continuous.
Jamie arrived there first: why are we not playing for some kind of pirate paraphernalia against ECU?
The ECU Pirates vs Ye South Florida Crewe of Gasparilla. The Booty Bowl. The Gasparilla Grudge Match. Winner gets a giant pirate chest or the cannon of Blackbeard or something.
Just think about it. Garparilla is a nationally known event, and we have a damn pirate ship in our stadium. It’s been sort of awkward whenever ECU plays at Raymond James, so why not absolutely own it? The city of Tampa is absolutely steeped in pirate lore, and we’d be fools to not take advantage of that.
Sure, USF are the Bulls, and that’s a bit weird to start playing in a pirate themed rivalry. But it could also be a chance for USF to really become Tampa’s NCAA team by taking advantage of the local lore without looking like they’re trying too hard. It wouldn’t be the only history/city-based rivalry. UAB and Memphis used to play for a 100-pound bronze trophy of a rack of ribs because BBQ.
It’s a totally silly rivalry based on nothing but pirate lore, but those of us from Tampa love our pirate lore. It’s why Gasparilla is attended by hundreds of thousands of people every year. It’s why the Bucs are the Bucs, and that Rowdies fans sing about being sons of pirates.
It’s not like Carolina is a totally random place for a pirate themed team either, given part of their identity is related to Blackbeard, who was killed on the coast just 40 miles away from campus This could be a brilliant if the fan bases embrace it. Fans can absolutely create rivalries, it’s part of what makes college athletics so great.
Beyond that, Gaspar was way more badass. Blackbeard was successfully hunted down and killed at roughly 40 years old. Gaspar’s pirate career was 40 years by itself, and he was legit in the process of retiring when the USS Enterprise just happened to cross his path. Gaspar wasn’t even properly captured, dude wrapped an anchor chain around his feet and jumped off the bow, shouting “Gasparilla dies by his own hand, not the enemy’s!”
Gaspar > Blackbeard. Your move, ECU.