The Pahokee area of South Florida has become famous for the talented football players it produces. Close to 60 players from the area have made it to the "league," including Fred Taylor, Santonio Holmes and Anquan Boldin.
The natural follow-up question, of course, is how so much talent has come out of one small stretch of Florida. The answer: rabbits. Yes, rabbits. That's because an area that is known for sugar cane is overrun with rabbits. When residents burn the fields before harvesting and the rabbits start running, they chase them. In turn, the citizens build up speed, which translates to the football field.
It sounds insane, but it's is something that for years has helped Pahokee football players, a group that includes new San Diego Charger Travis Benjamin. After catching 68 passes last season (in Cleveland) he spoke with ESPN.com and admitted that he too was part of the unusual tradition.
Q. So what's up with catching the rabbits in Muck City? Can you describe what that means in your community?
Benjamin: Growing up it was just kind of a tradition. You would hear the stories growing up how they used to catch rabbits, and you finally see a field out there burning, and you get in the wave (of people).
Q. So you were part of the wave?
Benjamin: Yeah, you see a field like this burning, and that's the rabbits' home. And so when they see the fire and smoke coming, they run out and you chase them.
From there, he continued.
Q. So what did you have to do to be effective?
Benjamin: You have to be quick on your feet, because you're running in dirt, and in some places it's like knee-high. So you're out there just running in dirt, and getting dirty and having fun.
Q. So where did you rank in catching rabbits?
Benjamin: There were some guys that could [get] at least 100 (in one day). I was in like the 15 to 20 range. Those guys would be out there from sun up to sun down.
Overall it's a fascinating interview with Benjamin and even moreso a fascinating tradition altogether.
There's a short video from a few years ago on the tradition (embedded above), and it's definitely worth taking a couple minutes to check out.