Video Report from Kennedy Hardman:
By Justin Rosenberg
NASSAU, Bahamas – Even paradise can be scary. Even the biggest of men can be afraid. When you’re afforded the opportunity to do something you otherwise might have never done, nerves can sometimes become a factor. Such was the case Sunday afternoon when four WKU football players joined four Central Michigan football players to swim with the dolphins at the Dolphin Cay, a state-of-the-art facility that resides within the Atlantis resort.
“These guys are acting like they’re signing their lives away,” WKU offensive lineman Cameron Clemmons joked as the other seven players read over the waivers that released the facility from any potential liability.
The hulking football players had no reason to be nervous. The facility is run by world-class trainers; the waivers were mere formalities. But that fact didn’t calm the players any – and Clemmons’ continually poked at his fellow football players’ fears.
“I’m not nervous,” Central Michigan defensive back Jason Wilson claimed before getting in the water. “It’s just the potential death part.”
“I’m just scared of being dragged under water by a dolphin,” Central Michigan defensive lineman Jabari Dean chimed in.
When told that little kids have successfully completed the excursion without incident, Dean interjected: “Maybe the dolphins just want a bigger body.”
Much like on a game day, the nervous anticipation of the players quickly dissipated once the moment finally arrived. And to the surprise of no one, the players came away from the experience with an increased appreciation of the opportunity afforded to them by being selected to participate in the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl.
“I can’t even describe it,” Central Michigan offensive lineman Kevin Henry said as he emerged from the water. “I never thought I’d be that close to a dolphin. I feel a little silly for being so nervous.”
Silly was an operative word as the dolphin assigned to the play with the players was Naia, an 18-year old female. To add to the players’ enjoyment, Naia was joined by her one-year old son, Tiko. Together, the mother-son dolphin combination put on a show for the eight wide-eyed players.
“This was better than I ever thought it could be. It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Clemmons added.
For WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty, the experience caught him off guard. “You don’t realize you’re going to all these cool activities when you go to a bowl game. You just have to take a deep breath and take it all in,” he said.