When you’re a National Football League player, a thick head of hair could conceivably be a nuisance, perhaps adding a few degrees of temperature inside your helmet during a hot and grueling training camp practice. When you’re a well-known member of the media covering the National Football League, a thick head of hair might actually be part of the presentation.
Whatever the level of sacrifice involved, some very full heads of hair have disappeared at One Buccaneer Place over the last six days, revealing the scalps – not to mention the care and generosity – of Buccaneer players and staff members, and now one prominent member of the NFL media.
On Wednesday, NFL Network’s Scott Hanson visited Buc headquarters during one of the team’s mini-camp practices specifically to get his head shaved in support of the Pediatric Cancer Foundation’s Cut for a Cure Charity Challenge. Last Friday, Buccaneers General Manager Mark Dominik – a PCF board member – led more than 25 Buc players and staffers in getting the clean-shaven look, and it was an interview he conducted immediately after the cut that sparked Wednesday’s development.
Dominik, in front of a camera at One Buc, chatted with Hanson out in a NFLN studio in Los Angeles on Friday. Most of the talk was about what the Buccaneers are doing on the field, of course, but Dominik’s new look couldn’t go without comment. Somehow, that turned into a challenge, and Hanson stepped up.
“Mark Dominik’s been a friend – not only a business colleague but a friend – for a long time,” said Hanson, a former WFTS-TV reporter who still makes his offseason home in Tampa. “At the end of the interview I said, ‘Hey, admit it – that’s a good haircut for the training camp weather that’s coming here in Tampa.’ He said, ‘You know that, Scott. You know how it is down here in Tampa. I want to see you with one of these one day.’
“I didn’t say anything at the time, but I thought about it afterwards and I [thought], ‘You know what? I’m going to be in Tampa next week and I know they’ve got a mini-camp. Maybe I can swing by, and if it will help awareness for pediatric cancer and the battles that families go through all across the country and all across the world, it would be a great cause.’”
Even though he was leery of the quality of haircut one might get at a football facility, Hanson arrived at One Buc Wednesday in very good spirits. He knew his efforts could lead to the $23,500 already raised by the Buccaneer participants in the Cut for a Cure Challenge growing even further. Hanson will make his own donation to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation to support his involvement, and hopes more will come from the exposure provided by footage of his sacrifice on NFL Network.
“Hopefully it will spark some interest in people, and maybe people who wouldn’t otherwise get involved might give a donation and help some folks out,” said Hanson. There are currently 18 days left for donations to be added to the Bucs’ Cut for a Cure efforts on the Pediatric Cancer Foundation website.
Hanson laughingly said he was “hoping for the best but expecting the worst” when it came to his Wednesday haircut. As it turned, he got a very nice buzz cut courtesy not only of a local professional but also some turns at the clippers by Dominik and one other special guest at One Buc Place, four-year-old Buc fan Joshua Fisher.
Fisher has been battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a blood cancer that affects every part of the body, since he was two-and-a-half. A huge sports fan, Joshua has become friends with Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman at various PCF events over the last year, and he was one of the pediatric cancer patients who joined in last Friday’s Cut for a Cure event at One Buc Place. That was good news for Hanson, because by Wednesday Joshua had become very adept with the clippers, leading to a better haircut than the NFL Network analyst likely expected.
Anyway, like the players and staffers who participated in last Friday’s event at One Buc Place, Hanson knew that his hair would grow back, and that it was a small sacrifice to make in order to provide help for brave young boys and girls like Joshua.