LOACHAPOKA, Ala. (WSFA) - “When you go to sleep at night, if your dreams are not big enough to where you just want to jump out of your bed in the middle of the night, they’re not big enough.”
That was the message shared with the Loachapoka football team Friday morning as they gathered outside for a “special surprise. Thanks to Tennessee Titans linebacker Rashaan Evans, the program feels like they are a little bit closer to achieving those dreams.
“Today was a great day,” said Loachapoka head coach Frederick Newton. “To see my kids smile the way they did, especially during this pandemic and what’s going on, it just brings my heart up.”
Evans and his foundation, the Razor Foundation, donated more than $40,000 worth of equipment to the players, a gift that some of them have never received.
“Nobody has every given us nothing like this before, so it feels good to get something for the community,” said senior linebacker and running back Brandon Bedgood. “Me and my teammates - some of us have never had stuff like this, so it feels good to get this stuff.”
For them to come out and do that for us when they didn’t have to, it was just great to see that,” added Newton. “If you saw those kids over there looking at the shoes and everything, like I told someone earlier, it’s like Christmas in August.”
Rashaan was unable to be at the high school because of coronavirus restrictions, but even 280 miles away, he was still overwhelmed at the impact his donation made.
“It means everything. That’s the biggest thing about doing what I do and the things that I live by, is trying to inspire as many people as I come across, and change as many lives as I can,” said Rashaan. “I can only being in that situation where some of these guys have nothing. They have no shirt on their own backs, so to be able to have the opportunity to give shoes and some of the other gear, it definitely was a good thing for me to do.”
His father, Alan, who helps out with the Razor Foundation echoed those sentiments; and is proud that his son is finding ways to make an impact in local communities.
“Him having the opportunity to play in the NFL, and make the kind of money he makes, and then to be able to give back some of what he has earned, it makes me feel good as a father because he could be doing a lot of other things with his money,” said Alan. “He could be buying a Ferrari, or he could be doing something else with it, but he decided he wanted to give a portion of the proceeds of his earnings back to the community.”
“I think it was a beautiful thing from some of the pictures I’ve seen, which really made me feel good because at the end of the day, you play football, you get all these accolades and achievements, but the number one thing is what have you done at the end of the day for other people, and I feel like this opportunity is one that was given to me, especially to do it for some kids and a community who needed it,” added Rashaan.
No matter how uncertain the 2020 football season is, the Evans family hopes their donation will inspire more players to have their dreams keep them up at night.
“It motivates me a lot because we play the same position, so I feel like if he can do it, I can do it, too if I put in the same work,” said Bedgood.
“To see [The Evans family], hopefully when I go in and speak to [the team] about what this meant to us, and get their opinion on what this meant to them, this hopefully will open up dreaming to them also,” said Newton. “So they can be the next Rashaan Evans.”
The Razor Foundation also donated gear to the Loachapoka boys and girls basketball teams last November.