Emalie Belokon, 16, of Aventura was selected to represent Team USA in karate at the 20th Maccabiah Games.
This Olympic-style event for Jewish athletes from around the world is June 27-July 18 in Israel.
“For me, karate is a form of art that allows me to express my creativity,” she said. “It is wonderful to have that feeling of knowing that there is always an opportunity to learn more, and there is always room to grow. I love karate with all my heart, and I feel incredibly honored to have been chosen to represent my country through karate.”
Born and raised in South Florida, Belokon trains at DB Karate School under the direction of Sensei Demian Bermudez in Sunny Isles Beach.
“I am thankful to have as my Sensei-instructor Demian Bermudez,” she said. “He has played a big part in my success, as he has been a great motivator who believes that I have what it takes to go all the way, and it is with great admiration that I say he is truly an inspiration.
“I am lucky that I found such a great karate academy, DB Karate School, where it teaches not only the fun of karate as sport but also its philosophy, values and traditions of Japanese karate.”
Belokon has competed locally and nationally, winning numerous medals and trophies. She is an AAU national champion in kata (forms), an AAU National silver medalist in kumite (sparring) and Florida state champion in kata.
“I’ve made sacrifices for this sport, in my social life, with my family, and my finances, but it has been worth it, and I have no regrets,” she said. “Even though karate takes up a lot of my time, always make sure to keep up with school, sometimes even if that means studying while traveling across the country to competitions.”
She also gives back, teaching young students.
“I enjoy teaching others very much,” she said. “Helping other kids creates strong bonds with them and their parents, giving me an extended family and support team.”
Catcher Paul McIntosh, 19, of Miami Gardens was invited to participate in the inaugural ‘DREAM SERIES,’ a special event from MLB/USA Baseball in conjunction with MLK Day.
The series is designed for pitchers and catchers with development and scouting visibility. The more specific specialization of this event is that it’s an evolution of MLB’s Breakthrough Series effort, which is focused on players from diverse backgrounds (i.e., vast majority of participants are Hispanic or African American).
The 6-0, 225-pound McIntosh competed for Dade Christian School in Hialeah and is now at the Next Level Academy, based in Alabama. He is currently enrolled at Faulkner State Community College in Alabama and committed to play collegiately for Alabama State University.
George Sands is an academy director at Next Level Academy and is responsible for McIntosh’s development the past couple of years. Sands recommended him for the Dream Series.
McIntosh began his Dream series experience in Tempe, Ariz. at the Los Angeles Angels Spring Training facility. Part of the unique experience is receiving hands-on training and mentoring from former Major League managers, coaches and players.
They are Bob Didier, former Major League catcher; Marvin Freeman, former Major League pitcher; Marquis Grissom, two-time Major League All-Star; LaTroy Hawkins, former Major League pitcher; Kenny Hill, former Major League All-Star; Charles Johnson, two-time Major League All-Star; Jerry Manuel, former Major League infielder and manager; MLB Youth Programs Consultant; Darren Oliver, former Major League pitcher; Dave Stewart, former Major League pitcher; former general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks; Lenny Webster, former Major League catcher.
About Paul McIntosh
School honors: Class 3A All-District Catcher
Favorite Baseball Player: Bryce Harper. “He works extremely hard and gets after it every day.”
Favorite Baseball Team: Boston Red Sox
Other Sports Heroes: Russell Martin (Catcher, Toronto Blue Jays), Salvador Perez (Catcher, Kansas City Royals)
Other Favorite Sports Teams: Seattle Seahawks
Favorite Movie: The Longest Yard
Favorite Musician: Drake
Favorite Food: Spaghetti with Italian Sausage
Hobbies/Interests: Swimming, Fishing and Gaming
The Nautilus Middle School boys’ softball team finished the regular season undefeated, clinching home field advantage for the playoffs.
The Sharks are led by pitchers Jared Rogoff and Anthony Del-Rosario, and they received outstanding defense throughout the season, including Eli Balan who made a tremendous catch deep in the outfield to seal a win when the bases were loaded.
Offensively, Balan also had a walk off hit. Tyler Elpert delivered some big hits, too, throughout the season and also capped the regular season with a walk off run. Joshua Fernandez and Iverson Reyes-Camacho made clutch plays toward the end of the final game to keep the perfect season alive.
The Palmetto Middle School boys’ and girls’ track teams did very well at the season-opening Larry Wooten Invitational at Traz-Powell Stadium in Miami. Each placed second of 17 teams.
The runner-up boys scored 73 points, just 1.5 points from first place. Malcolm Brown led the Lancers, easily winning the 800-meter and 1,600-meter races. Teammate Marc Charlamegne won the 400, was third in the long jump and helped the 400 relay team (Daniel Moscoso, Asaiah Ancrum, Jahiem Wilson, Charlmegne) finish first. Ancrum also placed fifth in the 100 and fifth in the 200.
The runner-up girls totaled 88 points. Janiya Barnett, Fairy Stringfield, Nevaeh Ezell and Justyce Hill won the girls’ 400-meter relay and were third in the 1,600 relay. Ezell finished fifth in the 100. Hill was third in the 200 and third in the 400. Stringfield placed fourth in the 800 and sixth in the 200.
Makayala Gardner was runner-up in the high jump, while Jessica Wood was fourth and Blaize Jade fifth. In the long jump, Wood took third. Isabella Martinez won the shot put.
Palmetto track coach Mallie Brown has done an outstanding job, improving the track program.
Highland Oaks track
The Highland Oaks Middle School track teams began their season on a strong note as the girls remained undefeated since January 2015 by besting a 17-team field to win the Larry Wooten Invitational at Traz-Powell Stadium in Miami.
The girls scored 141 points to outdistance second place Palmetto Middle by 53 points. Jada Joseph took first in the 100-meter dash and set a meet record with a winning triple jump of 36 feet. Joseph also placed second in the long jump.
Jasmine Washington won the 400, placed second in the discus and was sixth in the 800. Paris Baker was second in the 400 and 100 and placed third in the 200. The 3,200-meter relay team (Cha’iel Johnson, Brianna Easy, Washington, Anissa Lespinase-Casimir) finished first in a meet record 10:44. Johnson also won the 800 and was fifth in the 400.
The 1,600 ‘A’ relay (Lespinase-Casimir, Brooke Couri, Destiny Desrivieres, Baker) was first, and the ‘B’ relay (Ebony Davis, Irielle Williams, Brianna Prince, Lashanti Beauliere) took fourth. Desrivieres and Lespinase-Casimir placed fourth in the 400 and 1,600, respectively. Lespinase-Casimir also finished fifth in the 800. Amber Keaton was fourth in the shot put and fifth in the discus. Couri took second in the triple jump, and Prince was fifth in the high jump. Team Captain Aniyah Brown was eighth in the triple jump.
The boys’ team was third of 17 teams. Co-Captain Cawa Fernandes was runner-up in the long jump, and Winsome Frazier was fourth. Frazier also was fifth in the 200. The 400-meter relay (Fernandes, Jamari Holliman, Joseph Washington, Frazier) was sixth. Jaleel Gelin was fourth in the 1600 and eighth in the 800. The 3,200 relay (Maleek Saint Louis, Anothony Edouard, Sandro Pierre Jules, Gelin) placed fourth. Co-Captain Gaethan Bernadel finished third in the shot put and fourth in the discus.
Miami Country Day sports
Miami Country Day: Middle School Female Athlete of the Week: Alyson Rodriguez – Soccer - scored both goals in a 2-0 win against Hillel to help the Spartans high school varsity team capture its fifth consecutive district championship.
Middle School Male Athlete of the Week: Ryan Mendelson – Basketball - scored 14 points and added four assists in a South Florida Middle School Conference playoff game against Divine Savior.
Upper School Female Athlete of the Week: Sofia Benenson – Soccer - recorded the shutout against Hillel to help the Spartans capture their fifth consecutive district championship.
Upper School Male Athlete of the Week: Dre Medici – Soccer - scored two goals in the district semifinal win against Divine Savior and added the winning penalty kicks as the Spartans beat Hillel 2-1 (5-4 shootout) to win their first district championship since 2012.
Miami Half Marathon
Ethan Clary, 27, of Doral was the surprise runner-up finisher in the men’s division of the Miami Half Marathon.
Surprise because he spent the 24 hours prior to the race flying from Miami to his hometown of Albany, N.Y. to check on his mother, Christine, 50, who suffered a mild stroke that Friday evening.
Clary boarded a plane in Fort Lauderdale early Saturday morning, soon after getting the Friday night call from his sister who relayed that their mother was unresponsive and on her way to the hospital.
“When I saw mother, she said, ‘Don’t you have a race?’” Clary said on Sunday before he text her his second-place result. “I told her, ‘Yeah, but I wanted to make sure you were ok.’ She told me to get back to Miami and run the race. So we scheduled a flight for 5 p.m.”
Despite arriving back in Miami less than five hours before he was due at the start-line, Clary improved on his eighth-place finish in 2016. He covered the 13.1-mile course in 1:09:58.
“It is hard work,” said the former SUNY collegiate runner. “I work three part times jobs which comes out to be more than a full time job per week. So I am happy with my effort.”
The Miami Marathon and Half Marathon attracted more than 23,000 runners, representing 50 states and more than 80 countries.
Florida’s premier distance race got underway at 6 a.m. adjacent to the AmericanAirlines Arena, with runners getting to experience 26.2 (and 13.1) miles of the scenic communities of Miami, Miami Beach and Coconut Grove.
The runners traveled by the glistening cruise ships docked along the MacArthur Causeway, the art deco colors of South Beach and the high-rises of the Brickell financial district, all providing unique backdrops on the way to the finish line in front of Downtown's Bayfront Park.
The un-Miami like cool weather delivered a 58-degree temperature at race time, but the light rain throughout the morning brought it down to 50 degrees.
Dan Marino Foundation
Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino hosted the 7th annual Dan Marino Foundation WalkAbout Autism & Expo at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Walgreens and Badia Spices presented the event.
The annual DMF WalkAbout Autism & Expo, started in 2010 by The Dan Marino Foundation, provides a powerful and inspiring platform for South Floridians to come together as a community in an effort to promote awareness, raise funds for innovative initiatives and advocate for the needs of people living with autism.
Each year this epic event gathers close to 20,000 participants who walk together with an ultimate pursuit of inspiring the world to embrace autism acceptance.
Kendall Hammocks flag football
The Kendall Hammocks NFL Flag Football program announces the registrations dates and times for the upcoming 2017 NFL Flag Football season.
Registrations are open to boys and girls, age 5-16. Cutoff date is July 1. Copy of birth certificate is required for age verification during the registration process.
Season will include 12 regular season games, two exhibition games and single elimination playoffs. All registrations, practices and games are at Devonaire Park, 10411 SW 122 Ave., Miami, 33186.
February registration fee: $130.
Feb 11. - Saturday (11 a.m.-3 p.m.); Feb 17. - Friday (6:30-8:30 p.m.).
March registration fee: $140.
March 4 - Saturday (11 a.m.-3 p.m.); March 10 - Friday (6:30-8:30 p.m.); March 18 - Saturday (11 a.m.- 3 p.m.); Mar 25th - Saturday (11 a.m.- 3 p.m.).
New player tryouts and draft will be 1-6 p.m. April 2.
Registration fee includes: NFL Team Reversible Jersey, NFL flag belts, secondary Insurance, referee cost, participation awards, trophies for division winners/MVPs.
Discounted rates offered for coaches. All coaches require a USA football registration and a national background check.
For information or if interested in coaching, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The NFL Flag football program is under the Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks and is an all volunteer organization, serving the community in youth sports for more than 27 years.
More events, leagues, programs
Barry University men’s soccer hosts an ID Clinic that will provide elite male, high school and club soccer players the opportunity to display their talents for college coaches from NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA, and JUCO schools.
The event is from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday, March 25 and Saturday, May 13 at Buccaneer Field at Barry University, 11300 NE 2nd Ave. in Miami Shores.
For information contact Barry University men’s soccer assistant coach Joao Garcia email@example.com or call 305-899-3135.
UFC GYM Kendall
UFC GYM announced that following the overwhelming success of its 2016 12-Week Body Transformation Challenge, the brand recently launched its next iteration, expanding to 16 signature gym locations throughout the United States, including Kendall in Miami-Dade County.
“Whether your objective is to train with the goal of competing on stage or just living an overall healthier lifestyle, this program is designed to accomplish both,” UFC GYM President Adam Sedlack said. “We experienced some amazing transformations at our Corona and Torrance locations and we’re excited to expand this one in a lifetime challenge to members at all of our signature gyms.”
Inspired by four-time IFBB Figure Olympia Champion Nicole Wilkins, this program consists of one-on-one personal training sessions, tailored nutritional and supplementation plans, educational seminars and group workouts. Enrollment cost is $199 ($1,200 value) for UFC GYM members and $298.99 for non-members, which includes the challenge fee and a 12 week UFC GYM membership. Also, UFC GYM has agreed to pay the participant’s individual entry fee for those that want to compete on stage.
A grand prize of $5,000 will be awarded to the member who wins the “overall weight-loss” portion of the challenge, while both a male and female winner of the “overall muscle gain” portion will each win $1,000. Additional awards and prizes will be awarded at each participating location.
Contact UFC GYM - Kendall
8851 SW 107th Ave., Miami, 33176.
Contact: General Manager Jason Figorski; firstname.lastname@example.org
Those who register for the Challenge are encouraged to stay connected at
Since debuting in 2009, UFC GYM has opened more than 135 locations throughout the United States, Australia, Canada, South America and the United Arab Emirates. The fitness franchise has continued to grow at a rapid pace with more than 50 locations opening in the past two years and more than 50 gyms expected to open in the next year.
For more information about UFC GYM, visit UFC GYM.com, or follow on Facebook.com/UFCgym, Twitter or Instagram: @UFCGYM. Subscribe on YouTube at UFCGYM.
The Michael-Ann Russell JCC reported the first Skateboard Supercross Academy in the country at its facility in North Miami Beach.
The academy is a place to go after-school for a 40-minute lesson in a group setting with friends.
Students participate once or twice a week to take a lesson and may return on Sundays for Race Day.
Race Day provides some extra practice while learning the more competitive side of skateboarding. Learning to race on the pumptracks is a necessary skill, as competition helps to stimulate the sport.
Many young riders want more time on the pumptracks to be ready for the end of the semester Head to Head Races. That event is the grand finale of the semester curriculum, and it is the showcase for parents, family and friends.
The Head to Head Race brackets system determines who is the fastest racer to date and logs their time. Basically, two riders are paired to race and whoever wins goes against the winner of the other head to head race, until the remaining two compete in the finals.
Option #1 - Curriculum Based Learning
Monday: 15 classes (Member $375, Non-Member $565)
Tuesday: 16 classes (Member $400, Non-Member $600)
Wednesday: 19 classes (Member $475, Non-Member $715)
Thursday: 20 classes (Member $500, Non-Member $750)
Sunday: 17 classes (Member $425, Non-Member $640)
Option #2 - Race Packs (Open Ride Sessions)
(Reservations required. Bring a bicycle, scooter or inline skates)
One Class: Member $30, Non-Member $45, Curriculum Special! $15
10 Pack: Member $250, Non-Member $375, Curriculum Special! $125
20 Pack: Member $475, Non-Member $710, Curriculum Special! $240
Call 305-932-4200, ext. 145/146 to register.
For questions, text or call 786-529-8187.
Orange Bowl Leadership Academy
The Orange Bowl Committee launched the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy, designed to engage and inspire middle school youth to maximize their potential to become future successful community leaders through access and exposure to career development, personal leadership and life skills.
Previously, the Orange Bowl conducted a pilot program that has now become the basis for the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy, with classes of approximately 20 sixth-graders from both Bair Middle School in Sunrise and North Miami Middle School. Those students will continue as seventh-graders this year with a new curriculum, and two new schools will be added with sixth-graders at both Sunrise Middle School in Fort Lauderdale and Georgia Jones-Ayers Middle School in Miami.
The design of the program is eventually to have students follow a three-year curriculum through middle school and expand to other schools in both Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
“Our vision is to nurture and cultivate the next generation of South Florida community and business leaders,” said Judge Michael Chavies, president and chair of the Orange Bowl Committee.
Marlon A. Hill Esq, chair of the of the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy committee, added: “The Orange Bowl Leadership Academy will provide South Florida youth the opportunity to dream and develop a plan to achieve those dreams, to set and achieve personal goals and objectives, and to understand their options in life for success at home, their careers and in the community.”
From October through May, students in the program meet twice a month after school with teachers and mentors, who are Orange Bowl Committee members. The curriculum is specifically designed toward fostering character development and responsibility geared to elevating individual empowerment, efficacy and self-esteem.
The students are also exposed to guest speakers, many of whom are Orange Bowl Committee members, and occasional field trips for behind-the-scenes tours of locations such as the Southern District Court of Florida. These sessions are designed to inspire and unleash individual youth potential and leadership, while also creating career development awareness, knowledge and opportunities.
Support for the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy is being provided by the College Football Playoff Foundation, whose philanthropic initiatives are directed toward education generally and more specifically teachers, through its Extra Yard for Teachers program.
The Orange Bowl Leadership Academy receives additional support from sponsors Bank of America, Comcast, Deloitte and Florida Blue.
The curriculum for the Orange Bowl Leadership Academy was created by the Pacific Institute specifically for the Orange Bowl Committee.
MaxPreps Top Athletes
Each month of the school year, MaxPreps will name a Male and Female Athlete of the Month, culminating with the Male and Female Athletes of the Year in June. The program is presented by the United States Marines Corps.
“The United States Marine Corps, through the MaxPreps High School Athlete of the Month program, is committed to recognizing students that embody the fighting spirit which enables them to win battles and overcome challenges they face, both on and off the field,” said Captain Sean Pangia. “We’re proud to partner with MaxPreps in this powerful program showcasing student athletes that have a positive influence in their community.”
The program has received more than 7,700 nominations and counting for the year so far. To nominate an athlete, click:
Youth Sports Safety
The National Athletic Trainers’ Association announced that nominations are open now through Dec. 2 for the third annual Youth Sports Safety Ambassador Awards.
The awards recognize individuals and/or entities that have made a significant contribution to advancing athlete safety based on one of two criteria:
· By providing exemplary youth sports safety protocols and care that set a precedent and/or model that others can follow.
· By advancing youth sports safety in one of the following areas: provision of appropriate medical care, research, policy change and/or resource allocation.
“NATA champions the significant contributions of leaders in youth sports safety research, education and legislation,” said NATA president Scott Sailor, EdD, ATC. “We are proud to honor some of the best in their field with the Youth Sports Safety Ambassador Awards and know their advances can help save lives.”
The awards will be presented at the eighth Youth Sports Safety Summit on March 7, 2017, in Indianapolis. The Summit is hosted annually by NATA and the Youth Sports Safety Alliance, which comprises more than 270 organizations committed to keeping young athletes safe.
Anyone can submit a nomination for the Youth Sports Safety Ambassador Awards. For additional information including award eligibility and the online application, visit
Orange Bowl Showcase
The Orange Bowl Committee will host the inaugural Orange Bowl Florida High School Football Showcase, a free one day event in association with the National Football Foundation and its local chapters. It will bring together academically qualified high school seniors from Florida and football coaches from NCAA Division II, III and NAIA programs across the country.
The Orange Bowl Florida High School Football Showcase will provide an unprecedented opportunity for young student-athletes to use their athletic and academic skills to earn collegiate scholarships, and ultimately a college degree.
The Showcase will occur 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 25 at Nova Southeastern University in Davie. All NCAA Division II, III, and NAIA athletic directors and head football coaches have been invited to attend the Orange Bowl Florida High School Football Showcase. Student-athletes eligible for participation must be graduating high school seniors who have not accepted a scholarship offer from a NCAA Division I (Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision) program. In addition, they must meet one of the three following academic qualifications:
· Earn a 2.3 GPA or higher in 16 Core Courses (please visit www.ncaa.org/student-athletes/future/core-courses for a description of NCAA Eligible Core Courses)
· Earn an SAT score of 820 (math and verbal only) or higher on the old format (SAT exams taken prior to March 2016)
· Earn an ACT sum score of 68 or higher
“Everyone knows Florida is a hotbed of football talent for Division I players, but there are hundreds of academically qualified student-athletes beyond Division I signees who are excellent football players and looking to continue both their academic and athletic careers,” said Judge Michael B. Chavies, president and chair of the Orange Bowl Committee. “The Orange Bowl is excited to provide this opportunity for student-athletes so that coaches from around the country, who may have limited recruiting budgets, can evaluate these football players all in one location.”
The Showcase will consist of a series of tests and drills to best display each player’s various talents at their respective position. The program will allow ample time for coaches to view student-athletes in drills and talk to them individually about their respective football programs. Staffs from university admissions and financial aid departments are also being encouraged to attend the Showcase.
Following the day’s activities, players and university representatives will meet to discuss scholarship opportunities for the participating student-athletes. The Orange Bowl is providing lodging for the first 50 colleges to register, in addition to meals for all coaches and administrators.
The Orange Bowl Florida High School Football Showcase is the third Showcase being conducted nationally in association with the NFF. The original showcase was launched eight years ago behind the leadership of former Milby High School coach Phil Camp of the NFF Touchdown Club of Houston Chapter, and it was later followed by the showcase led by College Football Hall of Fame and former UCLA coach Terry Donahue of the NFF Newport Beach Chapter in Los Angeles.
“We are extremely excited that the Orange Bowl is staging a High School Showcase in South Florida, and I specifically want to thank Bob Epling, who serves on the NFF Board and is a past president of the Orange Bowl Committee, as well as Orange Bowl CEO Eric Poms for their leadership in making this happen,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “The High School Showcases are an extremely powerful way for student-athletes to pursue their dream of attending college, and they result in millions of dollars in academic and participation scholarships each year. I had the privilege to serve as the Executive Director of the Orange Bowl from 1987 to 1993, and I know that the Showcase will make a real difference for high school players in South Florida. It’s really great that this is happening.”
The Showcase is a further commitment by Orange Bowl to youth sports, one of the four pillars of its community outreach, which also includes fundraising and community events, academic programs and scholarships, and legacy gifts. For more than 80 years, the Orange Bowl has been one of South Florida’s leading civic organizations, promoting championship sporting events, related premier entertainment and other year-round activities to inspire youth, engage our community and enhance the South Florida economy.
For more information about the Orange Bowl Florida High School Football Showcase and to register, visit
About the Orange Bowl
The Orange Bowl is a 360-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community. With its primary mission since being created in 1935 to bring tourism to South Florida through an annual football game and events, it has also maintained a legacy of charitable contributions and community outreach. Orange Bowl community outreach efforts are comprised of four pillars: youth sports, fundraising and community events, academic programs and scholarships, and legacy gifts.
The Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the Capital One Orange Bowl on December 30, 2016. For more information on the 2016-17 Orange Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to www.orangebowl.org. Follow Orange Bowl: @OrangeBowl, Facebook and Instagram.
About The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people.
With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include FootballMatters.org, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at
Miami Dolphins/Bank United
Miami Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry and BankUnited, a proud corporate partner of the Miami Dolphins, are giving full-time Florida students, age 13-18, a chance to kick-start their own personal savings with a $1,000 grand prize for submitting the winning essay in the 4 Downs for Finance financial literacy contest, open now.
Full-time Florida high school students are encouraged to register online at
www.4downsforfinance.com now through Dec. 19 to access age-appropriate money tips throughout the football season, and submit an essay on a financial literacy topic. Everyone who enters will have a chance to win a football autographed by Landry and have his or her name read live on the radio during a game broadcast. One student will win a $1,000 cash prize and a visit with Landry.
“Together with Jarvis and the Miami Dolphins, it is our goal to inspire young people to take an interest in learning about finances early on,” said BankUnited President, Florida Region Thomas M. Cornish. “At an age when many students are beginning to earn their first paychecks, 4 Downs for Finance teaches them the importance of getting a head start on learning about money.”
For more money tips or to register for 4 Downs for Finance visit
The Tennis Committee of the USA Deaf Sports Federation is currently recruiting players with hearing disability to represent the U.S. at the 23rd Summer Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey on July 18-30, 2017.
As United States citizens, players may be deaf, hard of hearing, hearing impaired, cochlear implanted, late deafened, hearing challenged, or hearing disabled to qualify. However, to be eligible a player must have a hearing loss of 55 decibels (dBs) or greater in the better ear over an average of 500/1000/2000 Hertz.
Participants can be either orally oriented or sign language users.
Tennis players looking to qualify can e-mail email@example.com and HowardGorrell@aol.com no later than Sept. 30, 2016.
For more information, go to
For information about USA Deaf Sports Federation, visit
www.usdeafsports.org. For information about the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf and the Deaflympics, visit
The Miami Backgammon Club plays 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays at The 19th Hole Bar & Grill, Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables, 33134.
The Miami Backgammon Club is a friendly group of South Florida Backgammon players. Players of all levels welcome. No membership fees.
Tournaments start promptly at 7 p.m.
Free live play. Tournament entry fee $10.
Contact Leo at 305-669-5260 or Leo@MiamiBackgammon.com.
Miracle League Ballpark
The Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade in partnership with the Miracle League of Miami-Dade County (MLOMD) and the Marlins Foundation are making way to bring a new Miracle League ballpark complex to Miami-Dade County.
The new development broke ground at Tamiami Park, 11201 SW 24th St., Miami. It will be the first ballpark of its kind for the county -- specifically designed for use by youth with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
The facility will consist of an outdoor ballpark complex with specialized rubber fields, dugouts, a playground, a concession building, restrooms, and “quiet rooms” for parents and children. The entire site, including recessed drop-off and pick-up areas will be 100 percent accessible with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Funding for this project will be provided by the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, together with the Marlins Foundation.
“I want to thank the Miracle League of Miami-Dade and the Marlins Foundation for coming together to expand athletic opportunities for our community’s children with disabilities,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “This new ballpark will give even more children and families in Miami-Dade County a place to enjoy America’s favorite pastime. I look forward to seeing this project come to life and watching our youngest residents play ball.”
Miracle League of Miami-Dade Co-Chairman Ray Rocha said: “There are over 276 specialized Miracle League parks across the nation and in Puerto Rico. This field at Tamiami Park would never have been possible without the unwavering support from the Miami Marlins organization along with the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department. This first of its kind field in Miami-Dade County will provide the over 69,000 special needs children and young adults residing in our area, a safe and obstacle free environment to participate in America's favorite pass time. Every child deserves a chance to play baseball.”
Alfredo Mesa, Executive Director of the Marlins Foundation, added: “The Marlins Foundation proudly supports our charity sponsor the Miracle League of Miami-Dade in building this one-of-a-kind all-inclusive ballpark complex. The funds we have raised together with the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade are aligned with the mission of bettering the lives of our youth through recreational sports like baseball.”
Miami-Dade Parks Director Jack Kardys said: “Miami-Dade Parks has long been committed to providing accessible sports and recreation opportunities for children and young adults with disabilities. A ballpark like this will further encourage them to get outdoors and be active.”
MLOMD was founded in 2010 by Sturge and his partner Keith Reilly in 2010, marking it as the county’s first Miracle League and the 236th member joining the nationwide initiative that enables children with disabilities, such as Autism, Down syndrome, Cancer and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), to play the game of baseball and be part of a team.
In 2012, the MLOMD approached the County with plans for constructing a custom-designed accessible ballpark at a Miami-Dade Parks facility. Tamiami Park was selected for as the ballpark site because of its central location, accessibility and large youth baseball program.
To date, the League has been busy planning, preparing and fund-raising on behalf of the MLOMD ballpark development plan. A rendering of the ballpark and more information can be found at the MLOMD website.
Florida Panthers Learn to Play
The Florida Panthers in conjunction with the NHL, NHLPA and USA Hockey will be hosting “Florida Panthers Learn To Play” for boys and girls, age 4-8, who are new, first time ice hockey participants who have never registered with USA Hockey.
The program was developed in an effort to reduce cost barriers to ice hockey participation by providing free equipment. The Learn To Play program primary goal is to create the next generation of hockey players and fans who will remain engaged with the game throughout the rest of their lives.
Cost of entry is $100. Every participant will receive six weeks of on-ice training with Florida Panthers Alumni and USA Hockey Certified Coaches, as well as free registration into USA Hockey for the 2016-17 season. Each participant will also be custom fitted for a full set of brand new Florida Panthers branded CCM hockey equipment, including skates that they will use during the program and keep at the conclusion of the six weeks.
Finally, each participant will receive a voucher for two free tickets to a select Florida Panthers weekend home game with the opportunity to purchase additional tickets at a discounted rate.
The Florida Panthers Learn To Play curriculum is designed in conjunction with USA Hockey’s “Gold Standard” which utilizes an age appropriate Long Term Athlete Development structure known as the American Development Model. This model ensures that the program structure is both fun AND effective.
Ali Boxing Center
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Javier D. Souto and the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department celebrated the renaming of Tropical Park’s Boxing Center to the “Muhammad Ali Boxing Center” at Tropical Park Boxing Center, 7900 SW 40 St., Miami.
“Back in September 2015, the Board of County Commissioners adopted my resolution for the Tropical Park Boxing Center to be named after the great Muhammad Ali, since I was privileged to have met the man in person and behold his many boxing victories,” said Commissioner Souto. “He was bigger than life and an inspiration to all. His memory will live on at this center as it grooms future generations of boxers.”
In honor of Ali – the late three-time heavyweight boxing champ - dignitaries joined members of the local boxing community.
Ali, born Cassius Clay, died on June 3 at age 74, following a 30-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Considered one of the greatest boxing legends of all-time, Ali was famous in and out of the ring for his strength, power, speed, stamina, flamboyant personality and global presence.
Beyond The Game
Sports and history intertwine in HistoryMiami Museum’s new exhibition Beyond the Game: Sports and the Evolution of South Florida.
The exhibition -- open now thru Jan. 15, 2017 -- highlights the way South Florida sports have shaped and reflected the cultural growth of South Florida.
Since the 1920s, sports events and teams have both mirrored and molded the development of the area. Miami Jai-Alai, featuring the “world’s fastest” ballgame, and Hialeah Park, showcasing horse racing, were two early sporting attractions that lured northern tourists and fueled the public’s growing fascination with the area.
By the early 1960s, the Fifth Street Gym in Miami Beach, home to champion boxers like Muhammad Ali, emerged as an island of democracy amid the realities of Jim Crow segregation. Meanwhile, the newly opened Miami Marine Stadium was gaining popularity, and the sport of powerboat racing symbolized “sun and fun.” The Professional sports franchises followed, as did the rise of the University of Miami’s football program, confirming Miami’s status as a modern metropolis.
“From a historical perspective, the thing that is most striking is how central South Florida’s sporting scene has been to its identity almost from the very beginning. Hialeah Park and Miami Jai-Alai date to the mid-1920s, and both were not only important tourist destinations, but really shaped the way that people understood South Florida,” said exhibition curator Gaspar Gonzalez. “These kinds of attractions conveyed a sense of South Florida as a unique place.”
Curated by HistoryMiami and Gaspar González, a Yale-trained historian known for creating Emmy-winning documentary programming that has been featured on PBS, ESPN and others, the exhibition tells this story of evolution through photographs, trophies, uniforms, and never before seen items related to South Florida’s sport scene. In addition, two short films -- one on Hialeah Park, the other on the Marine Stadium, as well as a series of short video interviews with some of South Florida's most iconic former athletes -- will be played throughout the exhibition.
Presented by Hialeah Park and HistoryMiami, the exhibition will be displayed in more than 5,000 square feet of space in the Museum’s third floor gallery and will showcase artifacts from HistoryMiami's own collection, individuals in the community, as well as the area's professional sports teams and venues.
Notable items include:
Original Miami Heat floor from the Miami Arena; Dan Marino’s contract; Don Shula Play Sheet; Footage Muhammad Ali at 5th Street Gym; Orange Bowl trophy from University of Miami; Memorabilia from Marlins’ inaugural year; Hialeah Park infield sign; Video interviews with local sports icons Mike Lowell, Mercury Morris, Randal Hill
“The exhibition appeals to a diverse audience,” said Stuart Chase, President and CEO of HistoryMiami. “From the days of horseracing to the players who graced the grid iron Beyond the Game not only celebrates sports history, but offers a fresh perspective on the impact it had on Miami becoming the world-class city it is today.”
For information on becoming a member of HistoryMiami Museum contact Hilda Masip at 305-675-1618 or visit
About HistoryMiami Museum
HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, is the premier cultural institution committed to gathering, organizing, preserving and celebrating Miami’s history as the unique crossroads of the Americas. It accomplishes this through education, collections, research, exhibitions, publications and city tours.
Located in the heart of downtown Miami, HistoryMiami Museum is a 70,000 square foot facility and home to more than one million historic images and 30,000 three-dimensional artifacts, including a 1920’s trolley car, artifacts from Pan American World Airways, and rafts that brought refugees to Miami.
For more information, call 305-375-1492 or visit
The Warrior Basketball Pre-Travel Team Program in Miami is intense training for boys and girls, age 8-15, to prepare athletes for a travel team level.
The athletes will train two times a week in a two-hour practice. To gain experience, scrimmages will be set up, and tournament like situations will slowly be introduced to the team.
Practice days are Wednesdays, Fridays and/or Sundays. Kids will receive a Warrior basketball jersey and shorts.
The Sunshine State Athletic Conference, a multiple sport athletic organization made up of 35 private and charter schools created in 2008, announced that two additional sporting opportunities are being introduced for the 2016-17 school year.
SSAC currently offers four sports, including football and basketball at the middle and high school levels, but in keeping with its pledge to student-athletes and their families, the conference will grow to offer a second football classification and the formation of girls’ beach volleyball.
The second football classification of a Developmental Football League, debuting next fall, will provide member schools that are starting, growing or rebuilding programs with a competitive, but level, playing field in which to compete. This will not replace nor negate the highly successful championship Florida Bowl Series but will instead compliment all football programs and schools in the SSAC. The only criteria for schools to participate in the new Developmental Football League is for teams to have less than 23 players, and the championship Florida Bowl Series will be open to them, if they desire to participate.
The second addition to SSAC athletics is an exciting opportunity that perfectly captures the spirit of Florida’s athletic environment. Starting in spring of 2017, the SSAC will debut girls’ beach volleyball. This up-and-coming sport is quickly spreading around the nation and will undoubtedly be a natural fit for Florida student-athletes. This addition will help build exposure and opportunity for female student-athletes and will add value to SSAC’s independent athletic conference.
“Including girls’ beach volleyball was a decision that just made sense; it only requires a few players and we are blessed with an abundance of sun and sand,” said Stuart Weiss, president of Sunshine State Athletics Conference. “We believe that by adding these two new opportunities for Florida high schools, we are continuing to provide more choice and control to our partner schools addressing the need for a level playing field in high school athletics.”
Visit the SSAC website at
NCSAA academics honors
The NSCAA annually recognizes high school soccer programs that have excelled in the classroom, in addition to their work on the field.
Three hundred and eight nine soccer teams (243 girls, 146 boys) from throughout the United States have earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award for exemplary performance in the classroom as a team during the 2014-15 academic year.
To qualify for the award, the team must have a minimum grade point average of 3.25 for the entire academic year. The team GPA is determined by adding every player's GPA, then dividing by the number of players.
For information about the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, visit
Gifts in Golf
PGA Certified Pro Philip Argianas, program director of GIG-Gifts In Golf, is proud to bring his expertise to special people with special needs to Coral Gables.
GIG programing -- like Golfing with Autism and Kids Swing Into Golf -- enrich the quality of life for families in the community.
Coach Phil said in a release: “Our fun programing impacts kids by teaching them life skills while providing physical and mental training through learning the game of golf.”
For information about registration including schedules and release forms, go to GIG’s website
To volunteer or for any other questions on the Autism and Down syndrome golf programs, call Coach Phil at 888-909-5709, check the website http://www.giftsingolf.org and Facebook page for updates.
GIG was founded in 2009 and has been serving several communities in Miami-Dade County. The organization provides fun instruction and mentoring while empowering special people with special needs. Integrating families and community, it provides all the benefits that golfing delivers with a focus on a person’s ability.
Olive Garden and the NFHS Network, the nation’s leading high school sports media company, are teaming up to recognize Team Moms and the high school athletes they support. This partnership includes the launch of GoTeamMoms.com, which will serve as a resource and destination to recognize Team Moms.
Team Moms volunteer to assist coaches and often lead team communications, fundraising, travel coordination and more. The website will feature Team Mom’s Best-Kept Secrets and game day highlights from high schools around the nation. In addition, coaches, athletes, family members and the community are invited to contribute shout-outs or photos of their favorite Team Mom using #GoTeamMoms on Twitter and Instagram to be featured on the website.
“The goal of the NFHS Network is to serve and support both the athletes and their fans,” said Christopher Young, senior vice president of sales for the NFHS Network. “There’s no bigger fan than a Team Mom and no better partner for the NFHS Network than Olive Garden, which resonates so deeply with our audience and shares our same commitment to families and the local community.”
To further assist Team Moms, each Olive Garden restaurant in the U.S. will be paired with a local high school to support through two national fundraising nights and Olive Garden VIP Passes that give teams access to exclusive discounts. With dining options that include ToGo and catering, Olive Garden is often the choice for feeding an entire team.
"Our restaurants are excited to support their hometown high schools and give back to their communities," said Jose Duenas, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden. “This partnership allows us to thank Team Moms nationwide as well as give families and teams chances to connect over meals and create memories during the busy sports season.”
ABOUT OLIVE GARDEN
Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 96,000 employees and more than $3.8 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), which owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.8 billion in annual sales.
Headquartered in Orlando, and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, Olive Garden restaurants have donated more than 33 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country. For more information, visit www.olivegarden.com.
ABOUT THE NFHS NETWORK
The NFHS Network (www.nfhsnetwork.com) captures the passion, pride, and energy of the high school experience by delivering live high school sports and events to family members and fans whenever they want, wherever they are.
The NFHS Network celebrates and showcases the unique accomplishments of high schools students, including the student-athletes participating in 27 different sporting events and the student broadcasters from schools around the country that produce events through the School Broadcast Program. The NFHS Network also broadcasts state playoff and championship events in 46 states.
The NFHS Network is a joint venture among the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), its member state associations and PlayOn! Sports. The NFHS is located in Indianapolis, Indiana and is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. PlayOn! Sports is based in Atlanta, Georgia and is the nation’s largest high school sports media company.
Follow the NFHS Network on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram at @NFHSnetwork for the latest news and event information.
Heads Up Football
USA Football’s Heads Up Football program for high schools and youth organizations will include sudden cardiac arrest protocols andHeads Up Blocking fundamentals.
Both topics are now included in USA Football’s Level 1 coaching education course and its high school certification course.
USA Football is the national governing body of the sport and educates more high school and youth football coaches combined than any organization in the United States.
USA Football’s Heads Up Football program is supported by more than two dozen medical and football partners.
“Coaches should be prepared to respond to a life-threatening emergency if needed,” said Dr. Jonathan Drezner, past president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and a member of USA Football’s Medical Advisory Committee.
“With prompt recognition, early CPR and use of an AED, sudden cardiac arrest is largely a survivable event if treated quickly. USA Football is committed to the safety of young athletes, and I am proud that a sudden cardiac arrest training module is being added to the Heads Up Football program. The module provides coaches the information they need to be prepared for sudden cardiac arrest.”
“Blocking is one of football’s basic skills that every player needs to be taught,” said Jeff Saturday, a former NFL All-Pro center and ESPN analyst. Saturday is a member of USA Football’s Football Advisory Committee.
“USA Football’s Heads Up Blocking technique helps coaches teach this fundamental – properly engaging with a defender, driving with the legs and maintaining the correct body position for effective and safer play. This is how blocking should be taught.”
Heads Up Football is a comprehensive collection of resources and medically approved protocols to establish important standards rooted in education to change behavior for the better.
In addition to sudden cardiac arrest and Heads Up Blocking, the program covers concussion awareness and recognition, heat and hydration protocols, proper tackling fundamentals and equipment fitting. More than 5,500 youth leagues and 750 high schools in 2014 participated in the program this past fall, benefiting nearly 1-million players.
Follow USA Football at www.facebook.com/usafootball
or on Twitter @USAFootball
NFL Football Matters
The National Football Foundation announced the launch of FootballMatters.org, a powerful new addition to the organization’s campaign to highlight the good in the game and the lifelong benefits to those who play it.
“Football makes a positive impact on so many levels, and we realized that we needed a centralized resource for capturing and subsequently promoting all the great football stories out there,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “FootballMatters.org provides us a potent platform for addressing that void and delivering compelling content directly to audiences who can help us amplify our messages about the value of football in producing leaders and creating educational opportunities.”
NFF Chairman Archie Manning added: “It’s just gratifying to be part of something that does so much good for our young people. The stories are out there, including the thousands of young kids who could not have gone to college but got some aid because of football, and their lives have been changed for the better. FootballMatters.org will enable us to directly capture those stories and inspire the next generation to further their educations.”
The NFF has linked with Arkleus Broadcasting, a Dallas-based full-service media company, to create the platform, which also encompasses a strong social media component to gain traction for the campaign.
“Arkleus is honored and thrilled to be chosen by such a prestigious American institution as the NFF to build and market an exciting new sports media property,” said Arkleus Broadcasting President Joe Shults. “We are passionately committed to helping the NFF in every way to protect, enhance, and ensure the future of football for generations to come.”
The site focuses on stories, videos, and franchises highlighting the very best in high school and college football, such as: Football Moms, Special Teams, Hook & Corporate Ladder, Man-to-Man, the Quote of the Day and many more. The site will also be the home to exclusive profiles of Campbell Trophy finalists, Leadership Award Winners, Courage Award Winners and all the honors associated with the NFF.
“We are really excited about the Football Matters initiative,” said Hatchell. “I want to thank everybody at Arkleus for their passion for the project. They have done a marvelous job of getting it up and running in a short amount of time, and we have already received great feedback.”
The site focuses on the stories that evoke the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal, character building and the drive for academic excellence that exemplifies many of the young men who play football and the families who support them.
You can learn more about the site and watch a video featuring NFF Chairman Archie Manning and NFF Board Members Jack Ford, Archie Griffin, Kevin Plank and Rod West by clicking here.
The international sport Footgolf is being introduced to the South Miami-Dade community at Killian Greens Golf Club, 9980 SW 104th St.
Footgolf (18 holes) can be played in two hours and is a great source of exercise for those who enjoy kicking a soccer ball. Times are available everyday of the week after 4:30 p.m. to players of all skill levels, families and groups. Balls are available for rent for $5 to those who do not already own one.
Killian Greens is an accredited Footgolf course with the American Footgolf League. Call 305-271-0917.
USTA Florida and the USTA Florida Section Foundation announced a landmark three-way agreement with Special Olympics Florida to provide more tennis playing opportunities to athletes in Florida.
The formal agreement builds on the existing support that USTA Florida and its charitable arm have provided to local Special Olympics programs by offering free 10 and Under Tennis workshops, grants and other resources to providers that offer tennis programs to Special Olympics athletes.
Likewise, Special Olympics Florida will encourage their athletes to participate in USTA Florida programs and events.
To get a program started, Special Olympics coaches may apply for a USTA Florida Section Foundation equipment grant for adaptive tennis equipment and other program needs by contacting Jessica Flynn at Special Olympics Florida.
For additional training opportunities and training resources, contact Linda Curtis at the USTA Florida Section Foundation at www.USTAFloridaFoundation.com.
Tennis classes and programs for all ages are at the Penny Sugarman Tennis Center at Sans Souci, 1795 Sans Souci Blvd., North Miami. Call for information on group lessons, annual passes, court rates and private lessons. Tennis pro is Ross Dubins. Call 305-893-7130.
Miami-Dade Parks welcomes children with disabilities in its youth leagues. If you need accommodations to participate, call 305-735-7847 (V/TDD).
Submit info to Sports Scene
Sports Scene spotlights news and notes from youth sports activities in your neighborhood. The aim is to feature game notes and the accomplishments of athletes from Miami-Dade County.
We rely on the directors and coaches of each league, as well as community members, parents and schools to submit information. We accept photos but ask that everyone pictured be identified with a first and last name and the name of the team or park they represent.
Youth sports online
For more area sports photos, go to
YouTube youth sports and more
YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)
Family friendly pro wrestling in Miami
World Wrestling Entertainment’s NXT makes its third visit to Miami on Friday, Feb. 24 at the Fieldhouse at the Watsco Center (formerly Bank United Center) at the the University of Miami in Coral Gables.
Bell time is 7:30 p.m.
See some of the newer faces on the NXT roster as well as progressing talent who are continuing to build a hot NXT brand and working toward joining the ranks of the main roster in WWE. That includes Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe, Asuka, #DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa), Authors of Pain (Rezar and Akam) and more.
Tickets are on sale online and at the Watsco Center box office.