Buccaneers and firefighters battle on the bowling lanes

It's not bowling for a specific cause, rather this is a competition of camaraderie among community neighbors: Buccaneers rookies knocking down pins and hitting the alley with rookie firefighters at Pinchasers Bowling Alley in Tampa. 

It's a partnership the Bucs and Tampa Fire Rescue struck up four years ago.

"There are so many parallels about preparation and determination,” said Chief Nick LoCicero. “It's their first rookie year and making sure that they stay within the goals of the organization. There are so many parallels. It's just a great opportunity for us to get together."

Both of teams share a common bond preparing for their new careers. So taking some time out to have fun before the real work begins is a needed break.

"You know you get to step away from the football part of things and really get away, real quick,” said Bucs defensive tackle Vita Vea. “It's fellowship with some of the people that that take care of our community."

This year the Bucs decided to add some fire to an already heated competition by creating to mixed team tournament. Each team was made up of a Buccaneer and firefighter. 

The Bucs’ top pick Vita Vea was one of the first to exit the tournament, but he had a hard time accepting the results. We even caught him putting his name in the winner's spot on the tournament board.

"Me and my partner already won it,” smiled Vea. "Everyone else is bowling for second place."

The finals actually came down to three teams, made up of two second-round picks M.J. Stewart and Ronald Jones, and rookie free agent Godwin Igwebuike. It wasn't much of a competition as Stewart teamed up with firefighter Eric Floyd to win by nearly 100 pins. 

"When I first got here, Eric told me he doesn't like losing,” said Stewart. "I'm the same way, competitive nature in everything I do."

"I'm glad to have him as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer,” offered Floyd. "I can't wait to see him get out on the field. We both came from the same background. Worked hard to get where we are at and now it's time to shine."

Tuesday, it's back to work for both of these rookie groups.