DAVIE — Miami Dolphins kicker Cody Parkey has converted 92 percent of his field goal attempts this season, including three game-winners. And no kicker in the NFL is as good at pinning opponents down after a kickoff.
Joining the Dolphins this season has been a dream for Parkey, who grew up in Jupiter as a Dolphins fan. We wanted to dive into all things Palm Beach with Parkey, and he obliged on a Friday afternoon.
What was your first Pee Wee football team?
We were the Jupiter Mustangs. It was the sixth grade. My coach was Mike Stango. I played left guard, middle linebacker and kicker. I was a little chunkier back then. But I wasn’t very good at hitting. I would take a beating. But I was pretty good at kicking. In Pee Wee football, field goals were worth 2 points, so it was more valuable to have a kicker. And nobody really had one. Me and my Dad would go out all the time and we would kick field goals. It became my thing. My Dad was a high school kicker and was a tennis player at Iowa.
When were you first in the Palm Beach Post?
High school. Actually, maybe for the Punt, Pass and Kick. That was at Pro Player Stadium. I won the state of Florida two years in a row, when I was maybe 12 to 14. I was in middle school. My arm wasn’t the best. My legs got me to the final.
What is Jupiter like?
It’s a cool area, you’re never more than two miles from the water.
Did you ever work at the minor league baseball stadium in Jupiter?
No, but my senior year, when football ended, I worked at the PGA National Hotel as a bellman and a valet. I got to work for the golf tournament, the Honda Classic. I checked in Vijah Sing and Rory McIllroy. I was a bit starstruck. I like golfing. I knew who they were.
What is your family into?
I have two brothers. I’m in the middle. So my older brother is Doug. And my younger brother is Hunter. My Mom had a few jobs but for the most part she was a stay-at-home Mom, which she was awesome at, by the way. And my Dad was into the banking world. And my grandpas are both like 80 years old and they go to the gym like three to four times a week. Physical specimen. So I have some good genes.
Does that mean you will kick until you’re 48?
Morten Andersen was up there. I take it year by year but obviously if I was blessed to play that long. I mean, I’m 25. So that’s a long time. So that’s 23 more years. That would be something.
What restaurants do you recommend in Jupiter?
One of my favorite restaurants in called Leftovers. It’s in Abacoa. Well priced. If you want to go somewhere with scenery, Square Grouper Tiki Bar is a great spot. Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett shot the music video for “It’s 5 O’clock somewhere” there. And Guanabanas. It’s seafood and plantains. Very good.
Where do you go for the beach?
My wife and I like to go to the beach. It’s like miles and miles where they let dogs off the leash and they can do whatever. So that’s the beach. It’s right off of Marcinski Park. We go there in the mornings. Walk the dog. He doesn’t like the water. He’s a mut. We rescued him in Philadelphia. He’d be like a boxer-lab mix. His name is Marlin. Like the Marlins.
Your wife is from Jupiter?
She was born in Pittsburgh but moved to Jupiter when she was 5. And has been there ever since. Her parents live there. We meet in high school. We met at Jupiter High School. We were so young. We got engaged in Jupiter. My grandparents live in the Intercoastal. And so I took her to their house and we did it at the dock. We have a cool picture. Hired one of our buddies from high school, who is in the photography game.
Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Burt Reynolds and Bill Parcells all have places in Jupiter. Ever seen those guys around town?
Tiger has a restaurant called The Woods. I haven’t personally seen him but I’ve eaten there. Michael Jordan is building a restaurant right now. I’ve seen him eating at Rocco’s Tacos in Palm Beach Gardens. I’ve seen Rory McIllroy at the mall. You kind of have to keep your head on a swivel because there are a lot of famous people there.
Did you know you’re listed on the Wikipedia famous people from Jupiter?
That’s something, man. I would have never thought. If you would have asked me that 10 years ago, I would have said you’re crazy. But that’s pretty cool. Pretty neat.
Who influenced you?
My parents. I would say Coach Stango. He still lives in Jupiter. He sent me a note my freshman year at high school in the mail. He said, ‘You’re one of the best kickers I’ve ever seen. Keep working hard and I’ll be at your first NFL game.’ He sent me that when I was a freshman and in my first NFL game, he came down to Philly. Coach Charlie Perssons at Jupiter, who was there for 30-plus years.
My colleague, Jason Lieser, has nicknamed you the “Jupiter Juggernaut.” Have you embraced that nickname?
I’m in the middle on that one. I do like, my buddies sent me I guess you had put up a Jupiter orbiting yesterday. I like the orbiting Jupiter. We’re putting Jupiter on the map. That’s all good.