This past weekend Larry Fitzgerald reminded us again just why he’s the most likable person in sports at his 10th annual Fitz’s Supper Club: 1st and 10. For a man who’s done so much on the field, he’s done more off of it. Fitz’s charity work began not long after being drafted in to the NFL when he started the First Down Fund, a charity to help kids and their families in crisis and to support health-related organizations that work with families. Larry’s motivation to give back stems from his mother Carol, someone who was always adamant that being a great person came before being a great athlete.
Tomorrow, Larry will turn 35, but if you’ve ever had the opportunity to speak with him you’ll quickly find that he’s much younger at heart, and has much more wisdom than any normal 35-year-old human being is supposed to have. Like most of Larry’s events, the red carpet –or green turf in this case –was rolled out.
Media members came from just about every outlet to celebrate and highlight Larry’s message about the importance of giving back. Before Larry headed inside for the event, he spent what seemed like hours outside talking to members of the media. Whether you were from Fox Sports, ESPN, or just the little guy on the end trying to build a brand, it made no difference to Fitz and he took the time to speak with you, even in the 100+ degree heat.
His desire to give back isn’t about him. It’s not a marketing tactic nor is it just something he uses so he can feel good about himself. Make no mistake about it though, he is certainly the reason everyone wanted to take part in the evening. Fitz’s event attracted coaches, teammates, celebrities, athletes, friends, and family. Even NFL legends such as Warrick Dunn and HOF wide receiver Michael Irvin wanted to take part –a true respect to everything Larry stands for.
The event took place at Dominick’s Steakhouse in Scottsdale, Arizona where those who bought a ticket were actually served by the celebrities and able to enjoy some of Larry’s favorite dishes prepared by the respected Chef Marc Lupino. To support the First Down Fund, silent and live auctions were held on a number of amazing items and experiences. One auction that garnered a lot of attention was a “Championship Foursome” that allowed the winner to play a round of golf with Larry and teammate Patrick Peterson. Two rounds were auctioned off and went for $10k a piece! It was a historic night for the First Down Fund, and one that will be able to help a lot of people.
When speaking to Fitzgerald, it took no more than 30 seconds to understand just what kind of impact he is able to make with the support of his First Down Fund. When asked if there was any one moment in his life that stood out and made him think, “Wow! This is what it’s all about”, Larry paused as if 1,000 events came to mind. “One moment…there’s been a few moments”, Larry said. “Things I’ve done like going overseas in Africa, fitting hearing aids on kids that can’t afford them and being able to see them hear instantly. Some of those things really kind of flood my mind when I’m thinking about great impacts.”
Whether you left with a prize you won in an auction or just a belly full of the finest steak, everyone left wanting to be better people.
To find out more about how to donate to Larry Fitzgerald’s first down fund please visit: http://www.larryfitzgerald.com/helpingpeople/firstdownfund/post/2077/donate_to_the_first_down_fund.aspx
**All photos used in this article were taken by Mike Yduarte (@mike_yduarte)**
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