Romae Rucker's body of (art) work

Thursday, September 14, 2006
Southeast Missouri State senior defensive back Romae Rucker has the Serenity Prayer on his chest, one of 16 tattoos he has obtained since the age of 13. (Don Frazier)

Romae Rucker got his first tattoo when he was 13 years old.

The junior defensive back from Tampa, Fla., has since spent a lot of time in tattoo parlors, adding to his collection of ink.

Rucker, who turns 22 in late October, now has 16 tattoos, with a goal of 30.

His first

"My initials on my right shoulder.

"The big ones -- my chest, my back, my sides -- I've gotten up here at Tatmandu."

The biggest of the big

The Serenity Prayer, five lines of cursive script across his chest that read: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

"It came out like I wanted it to look in my head. That took like, all night -- four or five hours."

He also has a cross tattoo on his back that reads "Matthew 6:9-14," a reference to the Lord's Prayer.

"I'm a Christian, so I know a little about the Bible, and I try to keep it in my life."

Rucker also wears a tattoo to remind him of family: his sister's initials and birthdate on his right hand.

His own birth date (Oct. 30) is represented by a tattoo of Scorpio the crab on his neck.


Rucker said many of the tattoos he adds now for one of three reasons: "Just for show, because I'm bored, or I have a good idea of a tattoo that I've got to have.

"It's something a lot of guys on the team do. It's one of those things everybody knows when someone is going to get a tattoo and wonders what he got."

One of Rucker's favorites for show is a tattoo of two theatrical masks with the words "Laugh Now, Cry Never" that he has on his lower right side.

"It came out just how I wanted it."

Taking flack

Rucker said he has not taken much grief from coaches for his hobby.

"In high school, I was a good athlete and it was cool with the coaches what I wanted to do with my body. I had a couple teachers who said you look stupid putting those all over your body."

Rucker on the field

* A junior cornerback from Tampa, Fla., he is listed at No. 2 on the depth chart.

* In two games this season, he has made six solo tackles and assisted on two others to rank fifth on the team.

* He played in 10 games in 2005 and made 16 tackles, including three for losses. He also had four kickoff returns for 53 yards, and he recovered a fumble against Eastern Kentucky.

* He was a part-time starter in 2004 and made 11 tackles. He also had nine kick returns for 231 yards and a touchdown -- an 85-yarder against Tennessee State.

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