October 09, 2008
Twelve-year-old Zachary Sharples, his father and his 4-year-old brother have had Rays Fever all season long. So with the team entering the ALCS against Boston on Friday, they all started the week by heading down to the barbershop to get Mohawks, the style preferred by many of the Rays players, fans and even manager, Joe Maddon.
Unfortunately, Sharples' school, Lincoln Middle in Palmetto, doesn't quite share the same level of passion for the Rays. Even though the mayor of Clearwater has vowed he'll get a "Rayhawk" if the team makes the World Series, the Lincoln administrators immediately gave Sharples an in-school suspension for a dress code violation.
Mohawks are stylish in the Bay area now because several Rays players have them and word is the style has brought them luck at the end of the season. A barber in Town 'N Country has offered to give free mohawk haircuts until the Rays lose or win out.
The style didn't fly at Lincoln Middle School, Zachary said, even though the night before he washed out the blue dye. He knew the blue would cause problems, but he didn't think the style itself violated anything. He said he has never been in trouble before, but he has resolved to keep the style.
"I'm not shaving it off until they win the World Series," he said.
No word if the administrators would have preferred Sharples completely shaving his head so he looked like a neo-Nazi, but you have to admire a kid who's willing to stand up for what he believes in. He didn't go to school either Tuesday or Wednesday and his family is moving to St. Petersburg later this week, so he likely won't have to deal with schools that won't allow their students to experience a little playoff fun.
The good news is that Zachary and his family will be at the Rays playoff games on both Friday and Saturday, where his haircut will not only be accepted, but celebrated. Long live the Rayhawk, indeed.
UPDATE: To see a kid with a real cool, not to mention glittery, Rayhawk, click here.