In many ways, a horrific natural event like Hurricane Irma has brought the best out in people. Members of the Miami Dolphins are the latest to step up for those in need.
Due to Hurricane Irma, the Dolphins had their opening game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers postponed and are practicing this week in Oxnard, Calif. Knowing the feeling of being displaced by Hurricane Irma, some prominent Dolphins players are helping the Miami Central football team. The Miami Herald reports on the Dolphins’ generosity.
The traveling party for No. 7 Miami Central consists of 69 players, coaches and administrators who have been in Las Vegas ever since last Friday night’s 24-20 win over No. 12 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas). As such, the program is financially strapped as it the cost of lodging and transportation have grown to the multiple tens of thousands of dollars, per the Herald.
At least seven members of the Dolphins have stepped up to foot the bill, including Reshad Jones, Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, Ndamukong Suh, Kenny Stills, Lawrence Timmons and Laremy Tunsil.
“I’ve always had a desire to help others and we were excited to take this opportunity to help them out,” Suh said. “It’s good to see them get back home and I and would love for them to come out to a game and spend some time with them.”
The Central coach shares his appreciation for what the Dolphins did.
“I’m ecstatic because anytime you see an organization like the Dolphins think about and take care of a high school team like ourselves, that’s amazing,” Miami Central coach Roland Smith told the Herald. Smith was drafted by the Dolphins in 1991 out of the University of Miami.
While Miami Central is 3-0 and sits among the country’s elite programs, that doesn’t mean it is flush with cash.
“We don’t have a budget like the Dolphins,” Smith told the Herald. “We don’t have a budget like a college. We don’t have a national budget to stay extra days after a game and stuff like that.”
When the team’s flight back to South Florida was cancelled, and other flights impossible to book with a party of 69 people, the team has remained in Vegas. According to the Herald, the SpringHill Suites near the Las Vegas Convention Center has become the temporary home. The group is leaving in staggered parties of six, seven, and eight people per flight, with the bulk of the group scheduled to return by Friday.
And the Dolphins are taking care of the expenses – even transportation costs once those affiliated with Miami Central land.
The chance to do good for those from their community is not lost on Dolphins players.
“It’s something that was brought to our attention by our media department … and we had an opportunity to step up,” Landry told media on Thursday. “And that’s something that God has blessed us with this platform to do, that’s all.
“I could imagine how scary it was for them,” he added. “And then the hurricane back at home, and things like that. As unfortunate as it has been for those guys, we’re just glad that we could be part of the effort to try to get them back home.”
Hurricane Irma has been nothing short of devastating for all parties involved. Landry added that the disaster presents an opportunity for eventual redemption.
“It sucks,” said the star wide receiver. “It’s people’s homes, it’s where people go to get away. And those places don’t look like that no more. They aren’t so pretty. But that’s part of being an American, man. That place is going to rise again. And people are going to fill it up again, and tha’t sjust a part of it. And that’s what we believe in.”
And with that belief, the Dolphins will be able to get a team of players that likely look up to them home.
“We don’t have big booster clubs like other schools have that can take care of things like this,” Smith told the Herald. “But when you have an organization the kids look up to and they step forward, it’s an awesome thing.”