Jacksonville Jaguars safety Nick Sorensen and Firehouse Subs founders Robin and Chris Sorensen have more in common than just their last name. They also have a commitment to the Jacksonville community and will be teaming up on Friday, April 27 to host the Big Cats vs. Firefighters Basketball Game at Jacksonville University.
The event tips off at 7 p.m. and will feature several Jaguars and other local celebrities. The ROAR will perform at halftime and spectators will have an opportunity to get autographs following the game. An after party featuring a live performance from Philadelphia-based Kristen and the Noise will be held at the Plush Night Club. Tickets are $10 for each event or $15 for both and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 904-886-8300.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation (FSPSF) which was established in 2005 to provide funding, resources and support to public safety entities. The goal of the foundation is to improve the life-saving capabilities of emergency service entities.
"I always wanted to do a fundraiser here in Jacksonville," said Sorensen, who signed with the Jaguars in 2003. "It's where I live and it affects the people I am around. This is a great community and people appreciate it. I want to show that we can all help. You don't have to be a football player.
"Basketball is fun and I thought it would be an interesting because we play the local firefighters every year in a softball game. They (Sorensens) started a foundation and I like what they are about. They buy lifesaving equipment for firehouses that can't afford it. They do it wherever they have stores. They buy things such as defibrillators and try to get those in police cars. Not all of these small towns have the funding to buy this stuff."
Sorensen has always admired the work of firefighters since his father, Richard Sorensen, was a volunteer firefighter.
"It has always been one of those things I thought was cool," Sorensen said. "I could see myself doing that in a small town."
Prior to moving to Jacksonville, Sorensen spent two seasons with the St. Louis Rams. His former teammates in St. Louis would get together once a week and play basketball against local high schools to help raise money. He is doing the same with the Jaguars.
"I just want to promote community involvement wherever you are," Sorensen said. "I want people to realize that wherever I am is where I want to help people out. If everyone involves themselves in other people's lives, we don't need the government's help. We are more efficient and we care more. Those are just my beliefs."
Helping a valuable cause is the goal of the game, not to make anyone look bad on the basketball court.
"It's not about the score," Sorensen said. "It's more Harlem Globetrotters than it is competition. We don't want anyone getting hurt.
Showing support for his university
Sorensen was shocked to learn of the tragedy at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. on Monday. He was a four-year letterman on the Hokies football team from 1997-2000 and graduated with a degree in marketing.
"It really wasn't about where it was," Sorensen said. "People were coming up to me asking me what was going on at my school. It wasn't about what's going on at my school. First, it was just what is going on period. The guy could have been anywhere in the world, but he just happened to be in Blacksburg.
"Every time someone says Blacksburg, I smile. Blacksburg is such a quaint town and anyone I know who has ever been there or went to school there had a great time. It's a shame it happened anywhere. It's an awful event."