Written by Luis Sung | Twitter: @FLSportDebater
On November 3, Monday evening at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida, former Dolphins defensive end and legend Jason Taylor hosted the Jason Taylor Foundation's eleventh annual Ping-Pong Smash event.
For a five dollar donation to the Jason Taylor Foundation, people could come in and see their favorite Dolphins players - both former and current - compete against each other in a Ping-Pong tournament to decide who among them is the best smasher of them all.
"Me, I'm not that good...but, I will talk enough to make you think that I'm the world's greatest Ping-Pong player." joked former Dolphins tight end Troy Drayton.
Immediately upon walking into the huge auditorium, kids of all ages were seen playing games (Madden anyone?), getting autographs, and there was even a section where kids could get their haircut! I have seen a lot of interesting things in my day, but a barber chair in the middle of a Ping-Pong tournament is something I never expected to find.
But what really got the kids excited was getting to see all of their favorite Dolphins players, and there were definitely a lot to go around. Cornerback Brent Grimes and his wife Miko arrived and was almost immediately swarmed by kids, as did defensive end Olivier Vernon, wide receiver Brian Hartline, center/guard Mike Pouncey, punter Brandon Fields and many more.
"It's an atmosphere where you can still get close to the players, so it's kinda intimate. That's what I can appreciate about it." Troy Drayton said. "A lot of the events that we do, you don't get to touch the people as much. This one, you get to interact with the people."
Troy also had plenty to say about his former teammate Jason Taylor, whose philanthropic efforts are a big reason why he continues to come to these charity events.
"Jason does a lot of great things in the community," he said. "He has his back to school event for the kids, this (the Ping Pong Tournament) is one of his signature events as well ... now that he's retired, he can have an even greater impact in the community. He's a long time friend, I consider him a brother."
Not everyone who arrived came to play however, like defensive tackle Jared Odrick, who also expressed his willingness to come and support the event, even if he didn't plan to play.
"Its a tournament where people are playing some Ping-Pong which I'm not good at." Odrick joked. "So I just come here to cheer everybody on and support the cause."
The Jason Taylor Foundation's main focus has always been on helping children in need, whether it be for education, medical needs or financial needs. This Ping-Pong event does a great job of giving a lot of kids a place to spend some time having fun with each other, playing videogames, meeting their favorite players and of course playing Ping-Pong, and from what I could see, the event was a great success.