© St. Petersburg Times, published September 6, 2002
The inspiration for this year's Hillsborough County preseason football section came from none other than my first baby, Summer Grace Purks. Summer came into the world Aug. 21, 2002, barely missing her first deadline (Summer's due date was Aug. 20, which incidentally was the copy deadline for this section).
Fortunately all the writers and photographers worked ahead and Summer's birthday barely conflicted with deadlines.
It is impossible to say, but if Summer is anything like her daddy and mother, Clarisa, she will be a football fan. I'm also thinking she'll like golf, which is a passion of daddy's. But who knows? By the time Summer is a high school senior she might be a pianist, even though daddy and mom have zero musical skills.
The point is a lot of things can happen in 18 years, something we've driven home in this year's section. Take a look at the following pages, and all that has happened in each school's timeline, since 1984, the year many of this senior class was born.
Hillsborough County football and these seniors have indeed "Come a long way baby!"
I had a lot of fun creating this "baby" football section, one I'll remember more than any other because it came along with the birth of my first child.
Thank you to everybody, and that most certainly includes my wife Clarisa, who went through 21 hours of rough labor (without medication), before bringing sweet Summer into our lives.
Tampa Sports Editor
Introducing Summer Grace Purks
Birthday: Aug. 21, 2002
Birth weight: 7 pounds
Birth place: Tampa General Hospital