TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Although the lower part of his face was hidden behind a mask, you could see it in his eyes. He possessed a willingness to win.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Ross Cockrell possessed a willingness to win for his younger sister, Anna Cockrell. She competed in the semifinals of the 400 meter hurdles in Tokyo on Monday morning.
The race, which was displayed on essentially every screen inside the Buccaneers team facility, captured the attention of Ross and his teammates. They watched it together in a team meeting room.
“It was just a tremendous feeling,” said Ross after the race. “Coach Arians, the Bucs family, the Bucs team, being able to watch my sister run with this team, with this family, it was just amazing. It was the biggest race of her life.”
Ross sat fairly still with his eyes glued to the screen. His teammates hollered around him, springing to their feet at certain points in the race. Eventually, Ross leaned forward in his seat inching closer and closer in anticipation of his sister crossing the finish line.
“To see her go out there and perform as well as she did in adverse weather, in adverse situations, and, then, going out to practice and being able to do my thing, I was just feeling the magic that she had,” said Ross. “I think she passed it along to me.”
Anna placed second in her heat to earn a spot in the finals and, then, Ross snagged three interceptions in practice.
“I was just feeding off of her magic,” said Ross with a smile. “She gave me the magic and I was able to continue on. It is just a great feeling and a great moment for our family.”
Anna will compete in the finals at 10:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday while her brother watches her from the team hotel.
“We will have practice and all that,” he said. “I will probably be in the hotel watching with a couple teammates and everything like that, as much as we can. We still have some of the protocols in place so we have to be careful with that but my parents will be watching together, my sister and my parents, and I think they will have a watch party for my grandmother in Louisiana, my family in DC, and my family in New York as well.”