It’s not quite 14 miles from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins. About a 20-minute ride, if traffic cooperates.
A man who once served as a substitute teacher at St. Thomas in subjects including math knows that’s what the numbers say, even if his life experiences tell him the distance is infinitely farther.
Michael Palardy is that man. On Saturday night, he’ll make his Dolphins debut at the stadium, serving as their punter in a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons.
A field trip, you might say.
Of course, anytime a local athlete latches on with his hometown team, it’s a statement in perseverance for the community. But Palardy’s path takes it to sublime levels. Try this math exercise:
“My first 2½ years I was probably the epitome of a journeyman,” Palardy said. “I was on nine, 10, maybe 11 teams. Sometimes I lose track. (I had) 26 different workouts, so I was all over the place.”