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Super Bowl 2021: Poet Amanda Gorman Honors NFL’s Three ‘Honorary Captains’

Youth National Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman — who spoke at President Joe Biden’s inauguration last month — presented a new piece titled “Chorus of the Captains” dedicated to the three “honorary captains” the NFL selected to laud before the big game: educator Trimaine Davis, nurse manager Suzie Dorner, and Marine veteran James Martin. The trio were selected for recognition because they embodied the message of the NFL’s season-long It Takes All of Us campaign.

“Poetry at the Super Bowl is a feat for art and our country, because it means we’re thinking imaginatively about human connection even when we feel siloed,” Amanda tweeted ahead of the show. “I’ll honor three heroes who exemplify the best of this effort. Here’s to them, to poetry, and to a #SuperBowl like no other.”

Check it out below:

“During this incredibly challenging time in our lives, Trimaine, Suzie, and James have exemplified the essence of leadership, each in their own way,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier in a statement. “We are grateful for their commitment and proud to share their stories and recognize them during this special moment on Super Bowl Sunday.”

Davis helped ensure his students in Los Angeles had internet access for remote learning during the pandemic. Donner, who lost two grandparents to complications from Covid-19, has continued to help patients as the nurse manager of the Covid ICU at Tampa General Hospital (this year’s Super Bowl is taking place in Tampa, Florida). And Martin organized livestreaming events in Pittsburgh, including local high school football games, to keep community members virtually connected during the pandemic.

It’s unusual to have a poet recite at the Big Game, but after 22-year-old Gorman’s recitation of her poem “The Hill We Climb” at Biden’s inauguration on January 22nd, she gained a huge fanbase and was one of the most memorable moments. “The Hill We Climb” will be included in Gorman’s upcoming poetry collection of the same name, which will be published on September 21st.

“Chorus of the Captains”

Today we honor our three captains
For their actions and impact in
A time of uncertainty and need.
They’ve taken the lead,
Exceeding all expectations and limitations
Uplifting their communities and neighbors
As leaders, healers, and educators.

James has felt the wounds of warfare,
But this warrior still shares
His home with at-risk kids.
During Covid, he’s even lent a hand,
Live-streaming football for family and fans.

Trimaine is an educator who works nonstop,
Providing his community with hotspots,
Laptops, and tech workshops,
So his students have all the tools
They need to succeed in life and school.

Suzie is the ICU nurse manager at a Tampa Hospital.
Her chronicles prove that even in tragedy, hope is possible.
She lost her grandmothers to the pandemic,
And fights to save other lives in the ICU battle zone,
Defining the frontline heroes risking their lives for our own.

Let us walk with these warriors,
Charge on with these champions,
And carry forth the call of our captains!
We celebrate them by acting
With courage and compassion,
By doing what is right and just.
For while we honor them today,
It is them who every day honor us.

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