Larry Blustein

MONDAY TAKE: Dolphins Make Dreams Come True

For more than 400 student-athletes and eight high school teams, the Miami Dolphins put smiles on the faces of so many this spring.

Known around the National Football League for all the community events that this organization has long been a part of – hosting the eight schools and their coaches was something that creates memories. It puts the Dolphins in a spotlight that shines across the country – with so many stepping up to make these visits a reality.

The area high schools, such as Hialeah Barbara Goleman, Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson, Coconut Creek, Miramar Everglades, Hialeah, Coconut Creek Monarch, Pembroke Pines Charter and Boca Raton St. Andrew’s, had the chance with Junior Dolphins to visit OTAs & Minicamp.

“It was really an experience that my kids will never forget,” said Coconut Creek head coach Gerald Cox. “It was an amazing experience for them to meet the players and for us to meet the new coaches.”

As part of the Dolphins’ commitment to the development of high school and youth football, the team invited the student-athletes to the team’s organized team activities and minicamp practices. The practice visits are a targeted effort to recognize, inspire and increase football participation through personal connections centered on the positive character building aspects of playing the game. The high school teams were given a tour of the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University, received a motivational talk from Miami Dolphins alumni and had the opportunity to watch the Dolphins practice and meet with current coaches and players on the field.

“To come out here, be this close to the players, see what the practices are like, see the effort that they’re giving, it’s great all around,” Barbara Goleman Head Football Coach Ariel Cribeiro said. “I think Twan’s (Russell) talk was great for our guys to understand the mental side of the game and the effort that it takes to be a great football player and a great football team.”

 “It’s a great experience for myself and hopefully more importantly it’s a great experience for the kids,” St. Andrew’s School Head Football Coach Jimmy Robertson said. “That’s something that we preach every practice is intensity. Watching it first hand from the Miami Dolphins, hopefully that carries over for us and we get to build off of that for our upcoming season.”

“Since 2017, the Dolphins have hosted 75 teams and reached over 3,400 athletes at our offseason practices, which has created a unique and meaningful tradition between our football program and youth teams throughout South Florida,” Miami Dolphins Director of Youth Programs and Camps RaShauna Hamilton said. “The practice visits are possible because of the tremendous support from our owner and football leadership as we continue to be stewards of the game.”

The Junior Dolphins program encourages youth players and coaches to teach, learn and play football in a fun and safe environment. The Junior Dolphins program is designed to give kids access to learn the fundamentals of football using the NFL’s top resources. To grow the game, the Junior Dolphins program will work to educate coaches, parents and youth on the health and safety of football with a strong emphasis on character development. Junior Dolphins is building the next generation of Dolphins Fans.

 “This is a wonderful experience having them see how fast a practice is run and how organized it is compared to what we do on the high school level,” Pembroke Pines Charter School Head Football Coach Keidran Willis said. “The intensity, the tempo of practice, how structured and organized it was, that’s definitely something we’ll take back and try to emulate in our practice.”

This initiative is one of the DolphinsHuddlefor100 service projects as part of the NFL’s 100th celebration. The NFL has invited fans, players, clubs and employees to join Huddle for 100, an effort to inspire 1 million people to volunteer 100 minutes of their time to make meaningful contributions to their communities. These activities connect to the Miami Dolphins initiative to level the playing field through the power of teamwork to inspire a healthier, more educated and united South Florida community.

For more information on the NFL Huddle and to see volunteer opportunities with the Dolphins, visit https://www.miamidolphins.com/community/specialteams.

Catch the South Florida High School Sports Radio Show each Monday night (8-10) in the summer on WQAM (560AM - https://wqam.radio.com/media/podcast/south-florida-high-school-sports-radio). For the past 12 years, the players and coaches who are making the headlines, join the program. You will learn a lot about football recruiting!