Monday, September 05, 2011

Words may fail us, but Lee Roy Selmon never did

Lee Roy Selmon came to Tampa Bay in 1976 because he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In many ways, he was just like most of us who come to Tampa Bay in that he was hired to do a job. He did that job beyond most reasonable expectations, becoming the first, and to date, only, Buccaneer in the pro football hall of fame. Unlike too many of us, he truly adopted the area as his home and when his playing days were over, committed himself to making life better for everyone who lives here. 
I worked at the University of South Florida when he was the Athletic Director and my experiences interacting with him were the same as so many others; he was always approachable, always patient, always friendly. So much so, that you could almost feel bad for imposing, except for the fact that he never gave the impression that you were, and that he seemed to genuinely enjoy the interaction. It's among what I consider my proudest moments that I made him laugh a couple of times.  
As memorial tributes start rolling in, some words pop up over and over.

Class. Integrity. Grace. Humility. Character. Dignity. Kindness.
Of course, nobody's perfect, but unlike most of us, Lee Roy Selmon consistently demonstrated those traits throughout his life and as a result, his presence made Tampa Bay a better place. It seems woefully inadequate that now, in his sudden absence, the only words most of us can say are "Thank You".

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