NEWS, NOTES &
Friday, February 9, 2007
By Bethany Bradsher
Sons of Blackbeard popping up all over
By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.
There were undoubtedly many excellent reasons
woven into Wednesday’s commitment of 26 young football players to become
Pirates. To those well-thought decisions I add one final, less substantive
reason to don an ECU jersey: Pirates are oh-so fashionable these days.
Okay, so that one might not make the top of an
assistant coach’s talking points on his next recruiting visit. But if two
programs are neck and neck and a recruiter needs that final oomph to push
the Pirates to the top, the all-the-rage status of buccaneers certainly
If you live in Greenville, this piracy trend
might be news to you. After all, Jolly Roger flags and swords have always
been ubiquitous within a five-mile radius of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. But now
it seems the rest of the nation is catching up to the idea that pirates, and
pirate stuff, are cool.
The evidence? Two weeks ago I was at Disney
World with my kids at the Magic Kingdom’s Pirate and Princess Party. Boys,
girls, men and women of all ages were dressed in full Pirate attire, some
with Rastafarian hair like Captain Jack Sparrow.
Captain Jack, of course, as immortalized by
Johnny Depp, is responsible for some of this madness, especially the pirate
products and events that are sponsored by Disney. What did we bring my
2-year-old son, who stayed with his grandparents while the rest of us went
to Disney World? A stuffed Mickey Mouse wearing a pirate costume.
But the current penchant for Pirates doesn’t
stop at theme parks or on the silver screen. As a quick Internet search
proves, hundreds of adults in all parts of the country spend their free time
trying to dress, talk and walk like pirates — minus the actual acts of
“If you like the feel of the waves beneath your
feet, swaggering when you walk, wearing an eye patch, or simply enjoy saying
“Arrrrrrrr!!!!,” then come along and join up!” reads the Web site for the
Buccaneers of the Atlantic Coast, a pirate re-enactment group that has
“ships” in nine cities in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia and
The founder of the Buccaneers, Scott Rorie of
Cary, has been taking part in re-enactments for decades, but years ago when
he decided to try his hand at piracy, other swashbucklers were rare. Now,
his wife Ann said, “Pirates are everywhere.”
Members of scurvy groups like the Buccaneers are
encouraged to find authentic costumes and to create their own pirate
persona, complete with a pirate name and a full glossary of buccaneer lingo.
And if you crave life as a pirate but you need some assistance with those
unique pirate speech patterns, be patient — the International Talk like a
Pirate Day is coming on Sept. 19.
The Internet is a hotbed of pirate-themed
excess, with countless sites devoted to purchasing the clothing needed to
pillage on the high seas. For a scant $350, you can custom order a pirate
costume from Australia on eBay, and everything from stovepipe fighting pants
to a Napoleonic pistol to a tall pewter tankard can be yours at
In one afternoon, I found everything you could
ever need to take following the Pirates one giant step further. The only
thing that has eluded me thus far is that special person who spends some
weekends screaming for the Pirates and the others becoming one of them.
I inquired with the leaders of several North
Carolina pirate re-enactment groups, and none have any ECU fans among their
membership. But I know such a double Pirate has to be out there somewhere.
When we find him, he might come in handy on those recruiting visits when the
time comes to convince a young athlete to weigh anchor with the mateys at
ECU rather than landlubbers elsewhere.
After all, you’ll search fruitlessly for a pop
culture phenomenon centered on wolfpacks, or demon deacons, or even salukis.
For now, the bandwagon is a seaworthy structure with multiple masts and
cannons mounted on its gunwales.
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02/23/2007 01:14:36 AM