Go Away With … Dontari Poe

2015 Kansas City Chiefs

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
November 1, 2016

Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Dontari Poe loves football almost as much as he enjoys helping children. His Poe Man’s Dream Foundation started off with an annual free football camp for kids in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn. It has since grown into a program for children in Memphis and Kansas City, Mo., where they are given support with tech events and a three-month program called Dream Big Build Strong. “That program teaches them about healthy living and eating, and provides additional educational support,” says Poe, 26. “I speak with our board and team on a regular basis to figure out what sort of programs make the most sense for these children. I grew up in the inner city, so I have an understanding of what the kids there need.”

For more information on Poe and his projects, check out his website and follow him on Twitter.

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?

A. My first trip was going to Six Flags in St. Louis, Mo. I had a really fun time with my family. Maybe it was like foretelling the future, because I ended up being a NFL player in Kansas City.

Q. Which city has the most vocal football fans — both good and bad?

A. Of course, I think that Kansas City fans are the best! They are so supportive of their team. I have to say that Oakland has the worst fans. They are so loud, will say anything and curse you out.

Q. What was it like playing exhibition games overseas?

A. I’ve only played an exhibition game in London and it was really fun there. That was actually the first time I’d ever traveled overseas. The fans were really into the game.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. I love the beach and how relaxing everything is in Miami. The nightlife in both places is really fun. I would recommend walking down Ocean Drive, then I’d tell them to go to Wet Willies for one of their drinks and then walk right across to the beach after. I also like Phoenix.

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?

A. Salt Lake City is an untapped destination, in my opinion, when it comes to the nightlife and going out. People usually think about going there to get to the snow, but I’ve had a lot of fun going out to clubs, bars and restaurants.

Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?

A. To never take a bag that you love and never check your bag. You never know what can happen to it if you let it out of your sight. I’m a minimalist, so I really don’t need much. I believe in packing very light. I honestly would say the only “must-have” item I need is a toothbrush.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. Los Angeles and Miami. I usually do annual trips with my high school friends and sometimes with my teammates, and those are really fun places for going out. The restaurants were really good.

Q. What are your favorite cities?

A. Miami, L.A., Salt Lake City, Memphis, Houston and Kansas City. It’s sort of a tie between a few of them.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. I would love to go to Africa some time. I’m not sure where exactly yet, but I feel like it’d be an incredible experience to go and experience the culture there.

Q. What would be your dream trip?

A. Going to the Maldives. As you can see, I like beach settings.

Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?

A. My best vacation memory was going out to L.A. with my high school friends. We rented a house together. I don’t even remember sleeping the entire weekend. My worst vacation memory was going out to Miami for spring break with my teammates and I was flying out alone. I missed my flight in Atlanta and got stuck there for a whole day. I ended up getting on a plane the next day. By the time I got to Miami, there was only one day left to hang out.

Q. Do you travel for fun during the holidays?
A. No. Growing up, we mostly always stayed home in Memphis, because most of our family is there. And in season now, we are usually playing games during the holidays!

Q. You got a relatively late start in playing football. What would you tell children — who may not be the most talented — who want to follow in your footsteps?
A. The best words of advice I can give kids are to always put in hard work. There is nothing like hard work. No matter how skilled you are or aren’t, hard work is the biggest component and will pull you through in whatever you’re trying to achieve.

Q. What is your favorite restaurant?
A. Prime 112 in Miami.

Q. What is your favorite hotel?
A. The Fountainbleu in Miami.

Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. I currently live here now, but Kansas City reminds me most of home, which is Memphis, where I grew up. I think the vibe and food options are what remind me of home, so it’s great that I live here when I’m not back home!

Q. Where is the most romantic destination?
A.  I think Hawaii is one of the most romantic destination. When you look at all the restaurants there, they all give off that romantic vibe with the dim lights and everything.

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I usually do some research to find out the best hotel that is in the middle of the action. I like to ask people where they suggest to go rather than researching myself online. I feel like word of mouth is always the best way to go. Honestly, I don’t really plan too much before a trip though. I usually get to my destination and then ask people that I meet or down in the lobby where the fun places are to eat and go out and I follow their lead. Who better to know than the locals?

© 2016 JAE-HA KIM


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