Dolphins, Students Pick Up Strikes At Sparez

Posted Apr 3, 2013

Students from Phyllis R. Miller Elementary treated to a fun day.


If there’s one thing football players enjoy more than the game itself it’s bowling, which is why so many Miami Dolphins players jumped at the chance to go bowling with a group of deserving kids.

A total of 21 players showed up Sparez Bowling in Davie to team up with students from Phyllis R. Miller Elementary School out of Miami-Dade County and test out the lanes in a fun competition. The kids were chosen for their academic accomplishments in the classroom and were treated to pizza, chicken wings, chicken tenders, vegetables, drinks and cookies all while vying for some cool prizes.

“I love kids, I love doing community work and I love to give back,” said Dolphins running back/kick returner Marcus Thigpen, who was there with his wife and three of his four kids. “This is something I used to do when I was a kid. I used to look up to football players and just to be in this position to do it now definitely touches my heart. They look happy and that’s how every kid should be, just happy and carefree and this shows them that hard work does pay off.”

There was intensity in the air once the competition began and it wasn’t just the kids feeling it. Punter Brandon Fields broke 200 for the first time by bowling a 245, tops among all of the players, and he helped his team claim first place after the first set of games.

For some of the kids, this was their first time ever in a bowling alley so they were taking in the sights and the sounds. The players helped give them tips on how to properly roll the ball down the lane, but the bonding experience between the two groups was special to watch.

“Sometimes these organized field trips and these partnerships are the only chances that they’re ever going to have to do something like this,” said Mark Zaher, Director of School Operations for Miami-Dade schools. “Every event that we have it amazes more and more how much the Dolphins, not just from the management and foundation size, but from the football side are participating. We’re getting more and more players committed and many of these players have come from the same communities that these kids are from, so they’re paying back. It really sends a positive message.”

Second-year running back Lamar Miller is one of those players that grew up down here and attended Miami-Killian High School and the University of Miami so being able to interact with these kids from virtually the same area was special for him.

“It feels great,” Miller said. “The kids are out here having a good time and interacting with the players and just having a good time.”

And that, ultimately, is what it was all about.
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