I know this might seem like an odd topic, however, it’s another off-shoot of the kind of stories I get involved with depending on the community piece. The original connection was when I met Nikkolas Bocanegra at a Chamber of Commerce networking event. I’m always paying attention to seek out what I’ll call “community-building” organizations and individuals. As I have mentioned in this blog and in the articles I write for the paper, there are far too many good causes for people to be able to contribute to all of them they wish to. On the other hand, for each group I find (or am led to) and highlight, that particular group may be a great fit for someone. That was, and is, my feeling about the South Dade Immortals, our local semi-pro football team. When I wrote the article a year ago, the Florida Football League (https://floridachampionfootballleague.com) had six teams. Their season runs Feb through May and they now have thirteen teams.
The concept is dual-purposed. First, there are many who have a deep love for the game. They enjoy playing or watching in any form and thus, they get another four months after pro and college are over. There are talented players who for one (or more) reasons couldn’t come to the attention of college scouts; maybe it was poor GPA or non-completion of high school, etc. The semi-pro league gives an opportunity to be seen by scouts who understand a “second chance” is sometimes the answer. On another level – that of “community-building” – there are young (and older) men who find a sense of belonging and receive the kind of mentoring they can relate to in being part of a team. The owner/coaches and just plain coaches are fully committed to helping the players with life skills as well as what they bring to and derive from the games. The teams are non-profit and while of course, many of them dream this can be the path to college and pro, most realize that isn’t going to happen. It is changing some of their lives though and provides a source of entertainment for football fans.