The pirate ship will sail no more. Nor will it rock on game days, as it has for years. The sad victim of a strange case of suspected Pennsylvania arson, Palisades (Pa.) High School lost the most recognizable symbol of the school's football program when its large, wooden pirate ship was burned to the ground last week.
The ship, which was a miniature version of the model used by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was first built in 2003 thanks to donations from Palisades football families and some local businesses. The ornamental stadium boat had been updated and expanded by Scott Carr each summer in preparation for football season in what some called a labor of love for the local resident.
Now the popular student fixture has been reduced to charred rubble, and police are at a loss as to why that happened.
"It's sad, especially because we had community members who donated their time and money," Palisades High School spokeswoman Donna Holmes told The Morning Call. "We're a small rural school district. ... That's where our community gathers, at that venue."
There's hope that the perpetrators of the fire will still be brought to justice, as school surveillance cameras film the area near the ship on the football field at all hours. It's hoped film taken from those cameras will show some signs of the fire starters.
Yet that won't help bring back the ship or the hours of work Carr and others spent building a sort of architectural mascot that had become a centerpiece of town activity.
"Each year over the summer time, Mr. Carr would take it and add something to it or refresh it or fix anything that needed to be fixed on it," Holmes told the Morning Call. "It's been a labor of love for this man."