By Hector Gonzalez
In red carpet style – youth football & cheer was celebrated on a glamorous night at the Miramar Cultural Center, last Friday evening.
Presenting the 2nd annual Crowning of the Champions Award ceremony hosted by Marjorie Acosta and Sam Goodman– Generation Nexxt put together their own version of a youth ESPY awards show – to celebrate South Florida’s biggest names in youth football & cheer in front of a capacity filled crowd.
The kids’ dressed to impress in their suit & ties, the young ladies & women wore their elegant frocks, as the men made fashion statements with bow ties, slacks and gator leather shoes, as nominations of the respective categories were announced.
Over 25 different categories were presented to the 2011 top performers. By category Leagues’ Top Teams of the Year were : Northeast Rebels 90lbs, Florida City Razorbacks 160lbs, West Park Hurricanes 75lbs, Lake Stevens Cardinals 120lbs, and Miami Gardens Cowboys 80lbs.
Applauds from the audience sitting in the orchestra-built theater kept pouring in after each selection was announced by a host of presenters such as Youth Sports Doctor- Dr. Manish Gupta, Generation Nexxt’s, Marjorie Acosta, Danielle Lyn and Joy Taylor, just to name a few. The Miami Dolphins cheerleaders, former Dolphins players Troy Drayton, Patrick Surtain and former Miami Hurricane standout Mike Rumph paid tribute in their categories.
West Pembroke Pines Wildcats 110lbs, Florida City Razorbacks 160’s, Kendall Hammocks Warriors 135 lbs, Washington Park Buccaneers 175 lbs, and Ft. Lauderdale Hurricanes 90lbs from different leagues’ earned Top Coaching Staff awards.
With red carpet entrance, well dressed youth sports fans, and an elegant venue, it was a luxurious experience for the youth athletes, coaches, and youth sports fans.
Starting from the backstage where show producers, Generation Nexxt members, Miami Dolphins Special Teams and a full event staff coordinated each of the awards by sets and brought up special guests from the VIP rooms. This production resembled an awards show that you would view on major television network. The lighting effects, musical performances, and pageant girls who carried out each award, set the bar high for any awards gala.
The crowd cheered especially loud when Miami Garden Vikings’ 165 lbs received the Most Exciting Play of the Year honor, presented by the members of Airo Athletics. Also, a great response was given when the Most Dominate Defensive Team award that went to Miami Gardens Ravens’ 110 lbs and the Most Outstanding Offensive Team award was given to the Deerfield Packer Rattlers’ 120 lbs team.
Also, the crowd erupted when the Plantation Wildcats Senior Cheerleaders won the Top Over-All Cheerleading award, presented by the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders.
The youth sports audience, with representation from every league seemed to come alive every time Strong-IMG Hip-Hop artist, Whyl-Chyl performed between show segments, Dancers Gallery girls provided some hip-hop action as well, as they kept the crowd of families and coaches zeroed in.
Generation Nexxt honored Dolphins wide receiver Davone Bess & Chris Kidawsi – The Bess Route Foundation – with the Community Impact Award, presented by the Orange Bowl Committee. Overall Top Youth Player of the Year winner was Pasadena Panther’s Javhari Bourdoue, whose resume included 14 touchdowns in a three game spand in the post season.
International rap star, Flo-Rida, sent fans in frenzy when he arrived in his white Bugatti along with his manager Lee “Freezy “ Prince– who rolled onto the scene in his orange Lamborghini. Flo-Rida was recognized by Generation Nexxt’s, Jonah Woullard, as a great supporter of youth sports saying, “Flo Rida could be anywhere at this moment, but he is here supporting these aspiring youth athletes.”
This night was not just about the medals, awards, entertainment and plaques. It was about honoring the kids, coaches and families who came together to celebrate their community of athletes that has excelled in one of America’s favorite sports.
The Northside Panthers’ Organization was given the Generation Nexxt’s Beyond the Game award after one of their young-players, Tyrek Collins – was shot in his leg during a football practice in the season. 11 year old, Tyrek made a comeback from a gunshot wound to his leg, to complete the season, inspiring his team and his community.
“It was a rewarding feeling for those who showed courage and bravery throughout the 2011 season. This season was definitely Beyond the Game for us as a football family this year, and were proud to say we stood together through thick and thin”, said, Northside president, Terry Joseph.
Larry Blustein and South Florida High School Sports presented their share of honors, celebrating the achievements of student athletes that excelled both on and off the field, in their “Who’s Nexxt Award” category, which went to Lauderhill Lions, Samuel Bruce, Florida City’s Razorbacks, Dionte Mullins, and Pembroke Pines Bengals’, Timothy Philips.
The Top Over-All Team honors went to the Florida City Razorbacks 160’s, who finished off their season with another undefeated, back to back National Championship.
The Blustein Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Liberty City Warrior’s President, the late Sam Johnson.
Johnson died last year early December, a loss that was felt throughout the entire youth football community. Generation Nexxt displayed videos of Sam Johnson with a tribute narrated by Marjorie Acosta.
Even legendary singer, Whitney Houston who died tragically this past month on the eve of the Grammy’s was paid tribute by a young singer Rena Ingraham. She sang the classic “The Greatest Love of All” to a standing ovation.
The night ended with Generation Nexxt’s founders, Benton Aladin and Jonah Woullard were joined by the entire Gennexxt Team on stage as they gave their closing comments.
One of them later shouted, ” Wait until you see what happens Nexxt year!”
If you missed The Crowning of The Champions in person, don’t worry, it will be aired on NBC6 mid-march.
This year’s corporate community came together to provide a platform that these kids will remember for the rest of their lives. The Title Sponsors and community partners for the Crowning of the Champions were; The Youth Sports Doc and Strong Arm-IMG.
Presenting sponsors; The Miami Dolphins, NBC6, The Orange Bowl Committee, Outback Steak House, Dicks Sporting Goods, Goldson Spine & Rehabilitation, The City of Miramar, Thaddeus Hamilton’s Law Firm, Airo Athletics, Empowerment Tutoring, South Florida High Sports.com, North-Dade Federal Credit Union, and The Dancers Gallery.