Five Miami Dolphins players, T.D. the Mascot, Diane Philbin, Joanne O’Keefe and other members of the Miami Dolphins Women’s Organization and some of the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders took to the high seas with young students from Air Base Elementary School in Miami-Dade County. They boarded The Bluefoot pirate ship, which is a Coast Guard-certified vessel armed with 12 water cannons to bring some joy to the lives of these military kids during the NFL’s Military Appreciation Month.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been on a pirate ship,” punter
Some of the parents of these children are currently stationed overseas so the chance for them to interact with real football players and especially T.D. proved to be priceless. Upon arrival, each kid was given a pirate’s vest, bandana, fake sword, temporary tattoos and in some cases a pirate’s eye patch.
The smiles on their faces as they got ready to board the ship and the laughs in response to all of the impromptu pirate chants of “Aargh,” were enough to let the school’s principal, Raul Calzadilla, Jr., know that this event already was going to be a success.
“When you ask children at our school where they’ve been to school in many cases they’ve been to four or five schools by the time they’ve finished fifth grade,” Calzadilla, Jr., said. “They work real hard and we think that’s an incredible sacrifice that they make for our nation so it’s neat to be able to give something back to them. They also get to learn what it’s like to give back to the community and the players and cheerleaders are role models to our children, so well done by the Miami Dolphins organization.”
Of course the other star of the afternoon besides T.D., the players and the cheerleaders was Captain Kyle of The Bluefoot Pirate. He was entertaining the kids with a faux pirate’s accent that sound a little more Irish but worked anyway, and seemed happy to donate his vessel.
“They put up with a lot and I’m sure they go through their own struggles so it’s the least we can do,” Captain Kyle said. “It’s a simple boat ride and they can let their imaginations run off into a world of treasure hunts and battles on the high seas and a good time.”
Diane Philbin had a special connection to the afternoon as well and confirmed that the Dolphins’ All-Team Community Team donated tickets to some of these kids on behalf of Philbin’s Finatics.
“Our son just got back from a one-year deployment and just to know as a parent what I went through I couldn’t imagine being a parent overseas and serving for a year away from their children,” she said. “So just to get them to smile and to be happy and to forget that they miss their parents and go out on the water and have fun is just a special moment for all of us.”
Joining Fields on the water were kicker
“My father when he was in the military, I really didn’t have to go through this but I’m quite sure a lot of these kids are appreciating this effort going on right now,” said wide receiver Marlon Moore, whose late father was in the Army. “Some of the players being out here and the cheerleaders, it’s big for them to be able to go out here on a boat and enjoy themselves just for a day and just be kids. It’s a good thing and it’s good to be here for this moment and get to know these kids.”