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I'm a Proud Pirate
by Chris Stansbury

I can honestly say that today ranks very high on my list of "Proud to Be a Pirate Fan." It may actually reach the summit surpassing the '91 Peach Bowl. How can today be such a big day when the bowl game is still a couple days away? Three words: Tickets for Troops.

During this time of year when we all should be focused on being a little nicer to each other, spending time with family and giving instead of receiving. Unfortunately, they all tend to be forgotten by the crowded malls, crazy drivers and problems with flights and bad weather, especially the part about giving instead of receiving.

When it's all tallied up, some 2,700 Hawaii Bowl tickets will have been donated to the service men and women serving our country on the Hawaiian Islands. It is not my place to say this, but I will anyway. THANK YOU PIRATE FANS!!! Naysayers may say it was just $40, but that's why they are called naysayers.

To those who donated, you gave when you didn't have to. You helped another person, one you don't even know, have a good day. They are the men and women protecting our freedoms, rights and liberties and in exchange the Pirate Nation ensured the pursuit of some happiness was easy.

I hope that this gesture becomes contagious in Eastern North Carolina.

Here's another unbelievable example of selfless generosity from the Pirates. The pastor at my church told us Sunday that a family was planning a big trip to Hawaii to attend the game and hopefully cheer ECU to a big win against Boise State. This person was going to spend about $10,000 to fly his family, from different parts of the country, to Hawaii, plus hotel rooms, food and everything else that goes into the trip. However, the flights couldn't match up and soon the plans fell through. This Pirate fan decided he was going to spend the money for this trip anyway, so he might as well make a difference. He donated more than $10,000 to a local community shelter to provide Christmas meals for its guests. That's awesome.

Most of us are not in a situation to be able to do something as generous as this, but there are plenty of things to do. Small things. For example, don't spend five or six bucks each for presents for about ten of your co-workers. Instead, pool all your money together and select a couple kids from the angel trees at the mall. Or support Toys for Tots. Or help the Salvation Army. You get the picture. It takes so little to make someone else happy. Trust me; you will feel much better about yourself afterward knowing you made difference to someone.

It may be in the 80's in Hawaii, and it's freezing cold here at home, but those who supported the Tickets for Troops campaign have found a way to warm my heart. Be proud you are a member of the Pirate Nation this holiday season, I know I am.

Chris Stansbury