What do Santana Moss, Randy Shannon and Shawn Ramirez have in common? Sure, they’re all-star athletes who’ve garnered media attention. But they also have roots in the same place: the recreation leagues and activity hubs of Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces.
Most know Moss as a prolific NFL wide receiver, leading the league in receiving yards back in 2005. But he was a star track athlete, too. Moss was born in Miami and attended Miami Carol City Senior High, where he was a football star and a state champion in both the long jump and triple jump.
He went on to play football for the University of Miami – initially as a walk-on before earning a scholarship – and also competed on the university’s track and field team where he won the triple jump at the 2000 Big East Championships. Moss went on to play 14 seasons in the NFL, amassing more than 10,000 career receiving yards and being voted first team NFL All-Pro in 2005.
“I was fortunate: I had two parents at home who worked their behinds off,” Moss told NBC Miami in 2009. “Even when they weren’t around I had people around who influenced me, like coaches and teachers.”
Shannon can trace a similar path. He grew up in the Liberty City neighborhood and went on to play both football and basketball for Miami Norland High School. His football success got him a scholarship to the University of Miami, where he played as a linebacker. Shannon became the first in his family to earn a bachelor’s degree and was also drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1989, where he played for two seasons before turning to coaching. He eventually landed back at the University of Miami as head coach for four seasons (2007-2010).
Even adults can get in on the action through Miami-Dade Parks.
Ramirez is a four-time winner of the Fittest on Earth distinction by the Reebok CrossFit Games, currently holding the title in the 40- to 44-year-old male category. He’s also the Fitness and Wellness Coordinator for Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces’ Fit2Play camps and programs for older adults.
Ramirez knows about overcoming adversity off the field, too. A fall in Spain’s Pyrenees Mountains more than a decade ago left him wheelchair-bound with a daunting prognosis.
“I suffered multiple injuries and a [heel bone] fracture that left me in a wheelchair for quite some time where some doctors believed I would never walk again,” he told crossfit.com in 2014. “This fueled my fire, and it was then that I made a choice to prove all of them wrong.”
Ramirez was out of the wheelchair and competing in beach volleyball less than six months later. Flash forward a decade, and he’s a CrossFit champion and motivating others in the Miami-Dade Parks system reach their goals.
Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces offers sports athletic programs in more than a dozen sports and also has leagues for adults like adaptive aquatics and softball. It’s got something for thrill-seekers (extreme sports like wakeboarding, mountain biking and fitness bootcamps) and also hosts an annual Paralympics competition for residents with disabilities.
Outside groups have also partnered with Miami-Dade parks to expand its reach through infrastructure and sports development programs. Miami-Dade Parks has installed Fitness Zones, permanent fitness equipment, at several of its locations through partnerships with The Trust For Public Land and the Centers for Disease Control.
Above content provided by Parks-Foundation of Miami-Dade and Miami-Dade Parks & Recreation