Youth coaches on free trip to Super Bowl

By Ashley Harding - Reporter, Crystal Chen - Assignment editor/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two area youth football coaches are boarding a plane for a free trip to Minnesota for the Super Bowl.

Just before the start of the playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and Jaguars, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell presented coaches Rickie Simon Jr. and Tim Terry with tickets to the Super Bowl. 

This gift is a thank you for the men work hard to be a positive influence for local kids. Simon and Terry make a difference in the lives of children every day with the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Florida. 

When they were led onto the field that day, Simon thought they might get something like a T-shirt. They never thought they would be given the gift of going to the Super Bowl. So they are layering up to prepare for the cold Minnesota temperatures.

Super Bowl surprise


 
The surprise was nothing short of incredible. Two life-size tickets now decorate Simon's office.

"I'm going to keep one here at the club, so the kids can have something to look at," Simon said.
 
Through coaching the Duval Dynasty team for the Boys and Girls Club, Simon and Terry have been able to inspire kids every day.

Simon knows what it's like to need a role model.

"We were homeless. I had a mom who suffered from cancer ... and my father was in prison, in and out of jail," said Simon. "Just the situations that were brought upon us, the light wasn't bright when it came to the future. I was supposed to actually do what the rest of the guys were doing. Turn to the streets."

Despite failing in school twice, Simon graduated from college, turned to the Boy and Girls Club and has been there for kids, just like him, ever since.  

"If I can put a smile on your face, I'm excited. Because a lot of these kids- oh man, they go through the same thing I went through. So to be able to see them, it means the world to me," said Simon.

For these dedicated coaches to have an opportunity like this, it truly doesn't get any better.

"This is a lifelong, I can't even say this is a dream- it's never been a thought. It's wonderful, to say the least- it's absolutely wonderful," said Simon.

The coaches are scheduled to return on Monday and expect visit The Morning Show on Tuesday to share their experiences.

Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.