On the surface, it was about teaching football to the next generation. Yet in another, larger sense, it was about a high school football program wracked by tragedy and the professional organization they aspire to coming together.
As reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Stoneman Douglas football team was among a conglomerate of high school programs who came together to host a youth football clinic at Parkland’s Pine Trails Park. The event, which was designed to teach football skills to young players age 7-16, was co-hosted by the Miami Dolphins, who had a number of athletes show up to both teach football and bond with survivors from the Valentine’s Day tragedy at Stoneman Douglas.
While the intended beneficiaries of the event are children, by its intent, it’s clear that both the Stoneman Douglas players and their professional counterparts took something away from the afternoon as well.
“To have the guys get a break, too, and enjoy and not have to go through the sadness that they’ve been going through the last three weeks, to have a day like this, it’s awesome, it’s a blessing,” Stoneman Douglas football coach Willis May told the Sun-Sentinel.
Added Dolphins offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod:
“I thought (the reaction by Stoneman Douglas students has) been pretty impressive. When you talk about change you need all different aspects, people from all different avenues to talk about it. And you have such a young group who are as passionate as they are about some of the issues that we have going on and some of the things that we need to just go back and look over and make sure that we’re doing our due diligence in some of these aspects, it’s pretty impressive the fact that they can come together the way that they have. They’re letting their voice be heard.”