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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Tales of trick-or-treat terror
Bucs players recall some rather frightening Halloween costumes.
By STEPHEN F. HOLDER
Published October 30, 2005
Bucs players enjoy Halloween as much as anybody, but we found talking to these guys about their Halloweens past was downright scary. And not because of the frightful reasons usually associated with the holiday.
A variety of players gave us a peek into their more memorable Halloween costumes, and frankly, you'd be frightened, too, if you had to picture tight end Alex Smith in drag.
More on that later.
Players' memories covered the spectrum, some boasting of clever costumes, others recalling ones that could be described only as bizarre.
Take tight end Anthony Becht.
"When I was about 8, that's when Pac-Man was real big," he said. "So my mom, she cut a Pac-Man shape out of cardboard that covered almost my whole body. Then she made me wear these yellow tights with some yellow Converse (sneakers). And my sister dressed as one of the ghosts (from the video game). I wasn't feeling too masculine walking around in that thing."
If that's the case, then what eventually happened must have crushed his manhood. Some of his neighbors remarked to his mother, "Your daughter is so cute," Becht recalled. One problem. They were talking about Anthony, not his sister.
"I was like, "Come on, I'm a guy!' " Becht said. "They couldn't see my face because of the costume. There were just two holes poked into the cardboard for my eyes. I did get a lot of candy, though."
Linebacker Ryan Nece remembers the year he dressed as Mr. T, the Mohawk-sporting tough guy from the 1980s TV series The A-Team. As neighbors opened their doors to pass out candy, they found they had little choice.
"When I went around to people's houses, I wouldn't say trick or treat," Nece said. "I would say, "I pity the fool who won't give me some candy!' I had the Mohawk going with my hair gelled up and I had the gold chains. I needed a couple more chains though. I only had about two."
Mr. T, of course, wore about 50 gold chains around his tree-trunk-sized neck.
Cornerback Juran Bolden dressed up one year in traditional American Indian garb. Or that's what he was going for. Admitting his family was financially challenged, Bolden said his stepmother went the do-it-yourself route.
That meant makeup instead of face paint, a belt instead of a headband and folded sheets of paper rather than feathers.
"That was a costume in the projects," he said. "It was totally rigged up."
As an eighth-grader, Smith, running out of fresh costume ideas, decided to dress as a drag queen. Turns out, it was quite the hit. Then again, that's the problem.
"The thing was, everybody said I looked good, which is kind of scary," he said. "I don't know how I feel about that."
Smith went all out, wearing a wig, makeup and a dress from his mother's closet. Pretty much everything but high heels because even then, the growing boy's feet were bigger than his mom's.
We would have been more than happy to publish the photographs as proof, but Smith doesn't keep them in the family photo album.
"I have pictures of it somewhere," he said, "but I make sure I try to hide them. I can't let that get out."