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'I think I'm afraid of failing'

By ROGER MILLS

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 3, 2000


From overcoming his fear of heights, to the relationship with his twin brother to what he would do if he were president of the United States, here are a few takes from Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber:

* * *

Q: Most people have fears of something, what are you afraid of?

A: I think I'm afraid of failing. I'm afraid of disappointing the people I love, the people who love me. I used to be afraid of heights, but I have gotten over it. When I was little, we went to the Washington Monument and we got to the window and I looked down and I was sooo scared. ... I guess I got over it because I started flying all the time and I just had to get used to it. Q: What's it like having a twin?

A: It's like always having somebody around, always having a best friend no matter what the situation. Tiki is the most brilliant person I know. I don't know if it's because I grew up with him, but he's brilliant. Q: Is it weird looking at someone else and seeing yourself?

A: Not anymore. I got accustomed to it. But you know what's weird to me? When I look at two other people who are exactly alike, who are twins, I would say, "Man, they look exactly alike," and I find that weird. But now, we have no realization that we look exactly the same. Q: Did you dress the same as kids?

A: We wore different colors but in general it was all the same. Q: Did you ever try to fool people by switching identities?

A: In college we tried to switch. I tried to sneak into the running backs meeting and Tiki tried to sneak into the defensive backs meeting. It didn't work because we didn't know anything that was going on. The coaches figured it out after a few minutes. Q: What's the difference between you and Tiki?

A: Tiki is about 10-15 pounds heavier than me and it's noticeable. We're both bald, but Tiki wears glasses every now and then. I got (a birth mark) on my elbow, but it's not like one anyone could see. Q: Okay, fess up, did you try the switch on girls?

A: AHHH! We never did. We were too shy for that. We could have. You know, we dated the same girl, but at different times. She never called me Tiki, at least not that I remembered, or particularly cared. Q: How are things between you and Tiki now?

A: It's as good as we can be. Tiki's married and so his time is occupied but we still talk almost every day on the phone. Q: Word is that you're one of the team's sex symbols, do you know that?

A: No. I don't know that. I wish. I think everyone wants to be. I'm not vain enough. Well actually I am vain, but I don't think I'm cocky enough or whatever. ... I can dress up though, when I put on a suit and tie I think I look good. When people tell me that, I don't think they're lying. Q: Speaking of sex symbols, we've heard nuptials are in the air.

A: Yes. I'm getting married (in) February. Her name's Claudia, she's from around here, actually she's originally from Guam. I'm excited about it. I think I've found the one. Q: Where's life after football?

A: Entertainment. Might be TV, radio. But then again I did an internship over the summer at R.W. Baird financial planning (in the first three weeks of June). It was interesting. I got a degree in marketing, which isn't what that is, but I got in there and saw what it was like. Q: What were the high points?

A: Probably that I had a better education than I originally thought. Some of the modules they were putting together for some of the people, I knew I could figure out, I could do them on my own. Q: Low points?

A: They put in a lot of hours. They put in 14-hour days trying to work with their respective clients. It's a lot of work. Q: If you were the president of this country, what's the first thing you would do?

A: First thing I would do is revamp the entire education system. It's sad. I tell you what, just the people I'm around and the things I hear about the schools, oh, man. Some of the public schools are just not satisfactory. Teachers get (underpaid) for what they do. It's an issue everyone skirts around but it's an issue that needs to be addressed. No one wants to throw all that money around into the schools, but I think we have to.

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