Having so many professional athletes living in South Florida, there are opportunities for them to give back.
While dozens and dozens of athletes host clinics and show up at different functions, there are very few who roll up their sleeves and become a huge part of the event they are hosting.
One of those athletes who continues to give back to communities that propelled him to that next level is Teddy Bridgewater.
The former Miami Northwestern, Louisville and Minnesota Vikings standout quarterback is one of those who does more than sign his name on the bottom of a check, shows up for a few photos and slips out with his large entourage. What Bridgewater represents is every youngster who has dreams of escaping the crazy streets of many cities in the #305 and #954.
From the time he competed at the youth football level to his first appearance for the Bulls, Bridgewater would be an athlete like many of us had never seen before. Gifted in anything he attempted, here was someone with a solid head on his shoulders.
Having gone through his mother’s battle with cancer, grew this young man up in a hurry – and all along – he vowed that when positive things started to happen for him in his life – he would be the first to give back.
Even back in high school, with colleges and universities – including the University of Miami coming at him, he said that when he does good, everyone will share. He has certainly made good on that, already.
While getting himself back in shape after a serious injury, Bridgewater has also maintained the promises he made a long time ago.
“When you grow up in these communities like I did, you see things that you want to change,” Bridgewater explained. “Now I have the chance to do something – and that is important to me.”
So respected is Bridgewater in the community for doing more than “talking the talk” – his photos hang in the iconic MLK Diner in Liberty City. Young and old, they all applaud one of their own.
“We have had so many athletes grow up on these streets,” Alfred Jackson explained. “While many of them come back and give back, there are very few who have the heart and soul like Teddy does. He just shows up for practices and brings things to kids. That is how he is.”
Last week, when Bridgewater was in town, he once again “walked the walk” on a hot summer day when he returned to the Liberty City community, known as the Pork ‘N Beans Projects (Da Beans), to celebrate Christmas in July. It was impressive.
“If you know Teddy Bridgewater, this is no surprise,” longtime Liberty City resident Alicia Moore said. “If you had the chance to see the faces on those kids when they got a bike or a new toy, it was priceless.”
Bridgewater also had the chance to help youngsters in the Edison Projects and the new Scott Projects have some fun – when it’s hot and little to do, in anticipation of school starting.
In a world that sometimes forgets that people are having a tough time making ends meet every day, thank goodness for Bridgewater and other successful South Florida athletes who are always there to make a tough time much better – even if it is for a few hours!
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