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Dolphins Players Take Part In End Of The School Year Celebration

Posted Jun 5, 2013

Players go mini-golfing with 40 students from Henry S. Reeves Elementary.




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Punter Brandon Fields came dressed and prepared for the occasion.

The Dolphins hosted an end-of-the-school-year celebration Tuesday for about 40 students from Henry S. Reeves Elementary in Miami-Dade County, and the venue was Monster Mini Golf in Miramar.

So Fields joined 14 of his teammates, along with nine members of the Miami Dolphins Wives Organization, wearing his colorful golf shorts and carrying his own putter.

“I figured we’re golfing, so I dressed in one of my colorful golf outfits and brought my own putter,” Fields said with a smile. “I said, what the heck? Have some fun.”

As it turned out, Fields said the putter was of little use because it was one of the few objects that didn’t glow inside the indoor facility. It didn’t matter, though, because Fields had fun anyway.

More importantly, the kids from Henry S. Reeves Elementary had fun. And they showed their gratitude at the conclusion of the event after a group picture was taken when they shouted in unison, “Thank you!”

The participating students were matched up with Dolphins players, with groups of three of four playing on each of the facility’s 18 miniature golf holes at the same time.

One girl got a high-five from tight end Kyle Miller after making a hole-in-one with a putt that went through a big clock with a small opening in the middle. Earlier, a boy got a nod of approval from center Mike Pouncey after he showed off his “Gangnam Style” dance moves.

“It’s awesome,” said linebacker Austin Spitler. “It’s good to get out here and enjoy and spend some time with the kids. It’s always good to give back. It puts a smile on our face just as much as it puts a smile on their face.”

Along with Fields, Pouncey, Miller and Spitler, the other Dolphins players at the event were kicker Dan Carpenter, long-snapper John Denney, running back Lamar Miller, running back Marcus Thigpen, wide receiver Rishard Matthews, wide receiver Marvin McNutt, linebacker Jason Trusnik, offensive lineman Josh Samuda, cornerback Richard Marshall, fullback Jorvorskie Lane and guard John Jerry.

Also in attendance were Diane Philbin, the wife of Head Coach Joe Philbin, along with the wives of wide receivers coach Ken O’Keefe, assistant to the head coach Jay Kaiser, Carpenter, Lane, Thigpen and Kyle Miller, plus the girlfriends of Pouncey and Jerry.

There were some Dolphins children on hand, too. Denney brought along his three sons; Lane brought his two daughters and son; and Thigpen was accompanied by his three youngest children.

“I want my kids to enjoy it, just like the other kids,” Thigpen said. “It’s definitely a good time, getting them out here in front of some of the players, getting them to mingle with some of them. It’s definitely a good opportunity.”

As far as the students from Henry S. Reeves Elementary, they were chosen for their efforts throughout the school year. But it wasn’t strictly based on academic achievement.

“Most of the kids, they had to have a criteria,” said Mark Zaher, director of operations for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. “It’s everything from a turnaround kid, a kid that’s really done well, probably wasn’t making it in grades and now is doing much better; a kid that’s done much better in his FCAT level; a kid with really good attendance; maybe a kid that had a behavior problem previously and now has got that under control. It’s more of a reward, too. They’re not just picked out, 40 kids at random. These are kids that have really done some good things.”

The students first were told they were attending an event involving the Dolphins, but weren’t told there would be players on hand until they were on the bus on their way to Monster Mini Golf.

“They were yelling and screaming, as what you would expect,” Zaher said. “If you walk around, I love hearing the conversations that the players are having one-to-one with these kids because it’s really having a good conversation about all kinds of different things. If I was that age, that kind of stuff sticks with you when you leave. It does have a great impact. I kind of wish I had that type of mentor, somebody even if it was for 10 minutes to have a conversation with me. So this is something I think will be priceless.”

To further remember the experience, the students were given Dolphins T-shirts with the new logo, and Monster Mini Golf handed each one a pass for a return trip.

“It was good fun,” said Fields, who described his shorts this way: “These are a pair of loudmouths. They’re a nice floral pattern with probably every single color of the rainbow in them.

“It was the first time for the three girls I was with, golfing,” Fields continued. “It was just a different experience that they haven’t experienced before. It was probably one of the first times we’ve done something like this since I’ve been with the Dolphins. So it was good to do something different with a group of kids.”

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