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Jason Taylor Foundation, Hall of Fame Collaborate to Create Poetic Ode to 2021 Season

Jason Taylor Foundation, Hall of Fame Collaborate to Create Poetic Ode to 2021 Season

09/10/2021
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The Pro Football Hall of Fame has collaborated with four young poets from the Jason Taylor Foundation to create “Game of Our Lives,” an ode to the game of pro football and its values as the 2021 NFL season kicks off this weekend.

The poem – in a video format that includes a dramatic reading by three of the four co-authors and in text form– has been offered to all National Football League teams and broadcast network partners for consideration as part of their Week 1 celebrations.

Originally conceived by Hall of Fame Executive Producer George Veras as a potential alternative to a traditional musical performance for the halftime show at the 2021 Hall of Fame Game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, the idea evolved when he reached out to Taylor’s foundation, which includes poetry as a method for working with youth in South Florida.

The concept became a fuller tribute to the return of football and fans in the fall. Seth Levit, executive director of the Jason Taylor Foundation, embraced the idea and with Veras recruited the four poets: Amorette “Epiphany” Lormil, John Persaud, Isabella Ramirez and Christopher Simpson, students from the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area who were intrigued by the idea of collaborating on the writing and recording of their work.

“It was an out-of-the-box concept, something never done before for a college or NFL halftime,” Veras said. “The students were amazingly collaborative. It was obvious that the work of the Jason Taylor Foundation was producing a great new generation of poets, and once we saw how everything was coming together, we realized the right place to showcase their work was the kickoff weekend of the NFL season.”

Taping took place in mid-August at the studio of Canvas Films in Fort Lauderdale. One that day, however, Lormil and unable to attend. Veras directed Persaud, Ramirez and Simpson in picking up her lines. Kara Kwiecinski, Senior Video Producer at the Hall of Fame, added photos and music to the final cut.

“Over the past 10 years, I have had the honor of witnessing the growth of so many amazing young artists through our Foundation’s Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network, and what always grabs my attention is the passion and emotion in their writing and performance,” said Taylor, a member of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017. “It only makes sense that four of our program’s finest poets have captured the importance of this NFL season with this beautifully crafted piece in collaboration with my forever team at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

The bluapple Poetry Network gives students across South Florida the opportunity to truly be the center of the educational process and express themselves through the art of spoken word poetry, the foundation notes on its website. Students in grades K-12 are exposed to the transformative power of poetry through teacher- and student-led workshops, virtual poetry readings, regional conferences and other programming.

“This spectacular poem and the video with it shine a light on the values that made it possible for the National Football League, under Commissioner Roger Goodell, to complete a successful 2020 season and sets the stage for an even better 2021 season with fans back in the stadiums,” said David Baker, President & CEO of the Hall of Fame.

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