The Phinsider's BOLDEST Fan Is....

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Come on.  Like there was any doubt here? The Phinsider's BOLDEST is, of course, Ohiofinfan4life.  I would like to thank Ohio, or OFF4L, for agreeing to do an interview as part of this selection.  So, without further ado, I give you Ohiofinfan4life:

Congratulations on being named the Phinsider's Boldest Fan! Your posts, full of pictures of all the Miami Dolphins items you have, the players you have met, and the places you have gone, are epic portions of the site.  Thank you for doing this interview with me.

Let's do this!

I swear, there's not a Dolphins player or coach you haven't met.  Who was your favorite?  What player, past or present, that you haven't met would be first on OFF4L's must meet list?

Got to go with Zach Thomas here. The year before we started traveling we took a vacation to FL. Included was me asking Tanya to marry me, 2 home games, meeting Shula at a promotional event, got my Dolphin tattoo, and a short stop at the training facility. While looking at all the displays in the lobby, Zach walked out. I got about 5 minutes talking with him, and to hear my Wife tell the story I was like a deer in headlights for a moment before I started talking his ear off. To quote her, "You didn't let him get a word in." What can I say,...I was a bit excited about meeting my favorite player. 

As for the 2nd part of that question....it's a no-brainer. He hails from Stow, Ohio, wore #39, and was a punishing RB.......Larry Csonka !

How many Dolphins games have you attended?  Do you remember your first?  What was the best moment of Dolphins football that you witnessed live?

Games attended....a lot. I never counted but I would say it's pushing 50....maybe more, maybe less. This year I'm hitting 8, last year was 6...but who's counting. My 1st game was in 1985 in the Pontiac Silverdome...it was a Dolphins loss. But it was a great time and laid the foundation for making annual road trips to see the Fins play in Indy, Buffalo, Cleveland, Cincy, & Detroit. Best memory witnessed live is a two way tie. Marino overcoming 20+pt deficit in the 4th quarter in Indy for the win, and watching Ricky run for 200+ yards on a snowy Buffalo afternoon in a Fins loss. I still remember punching my buddy saying "Look! He ran right out of his shoe!!" on one of his long gainers that day. 

I was at both games that Marino ruptured his Achilles tendon (bummer x 2: Indy & Cleveland). Scott Mitchell's first pass was a pick 6, yet the Fins won the game. In my first game at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincy I forgot my camera! We bought tickets a few hours before the game at the stadium and got great seats. Something like six rows from the field right on the goal line. Well, Fins scored three TD's that day and won the game. Two of them came right to the pylon we were seated by. The first was when Jason Taylor forced a fumble on a QB that was on a 7 step drop around the 20-25 yard line. He knocked the ball out, it bounced right to him, off he goes heading straight towards us! TOUCHDOWN!! NO CAMERA!!! The second was a Lamar Thomas 20-25 yard run where he bounced off about seven defenders and again headed straight to our pylon.

I also attended the game against the Raiders after 9-11 with 4 buddies from High School. It was a boring game until the last 90 seconds where Fiedler drove the field for a TD with no time outs. 

Since you are obviously from Ohio, how did you get to be a Dolphins fan, and when did it move from being a normal fan to being the obsessed fan we all know?

My grandparents took me on a driving vacation to Florida for my 5th birthday. There, we took in a Dolphin show at Marineland near Daytona Beach. I don't remember calling for it, but next winter I had a Dolphins knit cap. My obsession started after that. Only one season since then have I missed going to a game live. I love it, seeing a game live is to feel the energy and excitement that doesn't transcend through the TV. Then when we started traveling, I knew my Dolphin karma was strong as it was too easy talking Tanya into heading to Florida for the fall/winter and attending all home Fin games - thus adding to my "obsession". 

Since you seem to be headed across the country every year to see the Dolphins, along with your yearly move down to south Florida, in how many different stadiums have you seen the Dolphins?  Which stadium, other than Sun Life/Joe Robbie, is your favorite?

Road game: Detroit (Pontiac Sliverdome & Ford Field), Cleveland (both the old & new Cleveland Stadium), Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium, Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium, Indy's RCA Dome, Cincy's Paul Brown Stadium, Houston's Reilant Stadium, and finally the old Giants Stadium. My favorite....and not because of the dump of a stadium...is Buffalo. I just love the region, they share Lake Erie with Toledo, the Falls are close by, Toronto is not far which makes for a great road trip. And their fans....they do hate us and I love going there. 

This will be our 5th year traveling to Florida for the winter. But, many times I leave wherever I am and head to Florida without a job lined up before we leave, as will most certainly be the case this year. Working in healthcare we seem to be very fortunate to be able to find work where and when we want it. For example, one year we came down there and didn't work for the better part of 8 weeks while we waited for the best job opportunity. If my grandparents taught me anything, it's the value of saving for a rainy day which affords me the ability to do such things

How long did it take to get the infamous Dolphins tattoo?  How long have you had it?

The tattoo took over 2.5 hours and it's just over 6 years old. 

What is your standard Dolphins game apparel, and how long does it take to get ready?

My game day appeal can be an issue. It's not uncommon for me to have 3 to 4 clothing options on the road, always making my choice shortly before leaving the hotel. For example, here in Cleveland, I brought three hats, two t-shirts, a long sleeve shirt, new tennis shoes (white w/ orange highlights), a coat, and.....my Dolphins sports coat complete with white shirt & necktie, Dolphins belt buckle and aqua dress shoes. And let's not forget the Dolphins rain poncho....just in case. 

You know, the whole make-up thing was the exception and now is the norm since becoming a Deep End member. But, like anything the more you do it, the better you get at it. So hair & make-up can be done in an hour. 

Have you ever had problems in opposing stadiums wearing your Dolphins paraphernalia?

Problems in opposing stadium.....yes. And, always when I'm alone with Tanya. It never ceases to amaze me how brazen some folks get when fueled by beer and supported by several friends. It has always been a reminder of how not to treat opposing fans in Miami. Being a lifelong athlete, I know the meaning of being a good sport. I hate my rivals, yet respect them. After all, it's just a game. A game we all love, no matter who you root for. 

We've all seen the pictures of your man cave, and I'm pretty sure most of us are jealous of the memorabilia collection you have.  Can you take a guess at the number of Dolphins related items you have?  What one piece means the most to you and why?

The collection....never took any inventory, but its up there. I got a few favorite pieces. The Shula signed ball. The picture of me and Mercury Morris, where he signed it to me with the addition of "Perfectville Pop. 1"...that is a classic. Another favorite is a pic of me & Offerdahl, it was taken just as he started to roughhouse me a bit (a really funny pic). He signed it to me with addition "Hit the line hard!" as to the way we look in the picture. Then of course, there is my Zach Thomas signed jersey. Those are my favorites......and you want me to pick one ???? Tough call.....really tough. 

We all know that you are signed up for the Dolphins Cycling Challenge coming up in November.  You also signed up for the longest ride, pledging to raise $750 and ride on the 2-day, 170 mile route.  Oh, and you've only had your bike, what, seven months now?  Are you ready for the challenge.  Since you have blown past the minimum amount, what's your personal goal for money raised?  Can you talk about the program and how can we donate?

The DCC, glad you asked. I've got time and I've been training regularly. I can ride 40 miles without any trouble at 18-19.5 MPH pace (A Group). So I feel pretty confident as it is a ride and not a race. Being an athlete has helped with my mind set, because at a certain point its more mental than physical (hope I don't have to eat those words....lol). But, I can tell you this, I rode yesterday and I can't wait to get back on it. Kind of habit forming.

Years of being an athlete have served me well. While I have never attempted any type of endurance event like this I believe I will ride it with no problem. With one exception.....and how do I say this. Well, let's just say I need to build up my.......taint toughness. After about 2 hours in the saddle things begin to feel different. So, all the experienced riders I've spoke to say I just need time in the saddle to build "that" type of endurance. I also bought the best butt butter, as I call it, money can buy. Amazingly it does help. 

My goal....good question. I said from the onset I wanted a total of 150 sponsors at $5 per person. Thus far I haven't got 40 sponsors yet, but those who contributed really answered the call. I'm currently sitting just over $1800, which is amazing to me!!! 

Let me talk a minute about why I'm riding 170 miles in the DCC. I could tell you about lost family members, but that's too singular. Tanya & I work in health care, we're therapists in nursing homes. I see the pain and suffering caused from this disease on a daily basis. It's a horrible sight to watch patients and their families suffer. So, I'm riding for the masses, and I chose the longest distance as to maximize my fund raising efforts. Why...because I can and I want to help.

To become my sponsor, one just needs to search for my rider page (Griffin Van Nest) at RideDCC.com.....anything helps. And I am truly humbled by the support I've received so far. 

When you met your wife, was she a Dolphins fan, or did you show her the light?  What did she think of your obsession? 

The Wifey....she was not a big sports fan. However, early on she realized that I wasn't about to hang up my skates or miss any Dolphins games I could attend. It was a tough sell after those first couple of road games, but once we hit a home game together, and started coming to FL, she has grown to love going to games also. And, convincing her to buy new Dolphins gear is almost too easy. On that front, it's almost as if I created a monster. She now has quite a collection of ladies Dolphins gear....my favorite? Her Fins bikini....duh. 

What game/games are you planning to attend this year?

Planning on attending 8 games this year. Cleveland this past weekend, then once we leave Ohio it's on to MNF in NYC vs. the Jets, before ending up in FL for the last 6 home games. 

What do you think of the Dolphins performance against the Browns?  What do you think will happen the rest of this year?

Well, this is coming right off the top of my head, having just returned home and haven't watched any highlight shows or listened to any talking heads. 

I really disliked the QB sack differential. I think I counted Henne getting sacked 4 times, 3 seemed to be blitzes that were not picked up and the other seemed to be a coverage sack. On the other side of the coin, I don't think we sacked Colt once today. So, let's just say that lack of getting sacks and giving them up drives me nuts. It did seem there were a couple almost sacks....another thing I can't stand. I wonder if having Vernon Carrey knocked out of the game played into that. 

More...sure there is. What about keeping their offense in check.....until their final drive. What was that all about! Again....it drives me nuts. Not to mention the offsides on 3rd & 10 that was an incomplete pass (JT???). Wow...talk about bad timing ! 

I didn't see it, and they didn't replay it at the stadium, but Brandon Marshall's personal foul after the play??? It seems like he's good for one or two of those a game. I'm sure it's hard to keep emotions and the what not in check during the heat of battle (hard to bitch about that, when I generally get an above average amount of penalties in my hockey leagues). 

I think everyone here is tired of FG's instead of TD's. Not real happy about the missed 51 yarded either......however, that is a long kick.

On one Reggie Bush play, it looked like he had enough speed to run wide and turn it up field. Instead he headed wide, but then cut upfield for a small gain. I didn't like that decision.  

And.....not being able to move the ball when it mattered most.....what can I say that hasn't already said. Not good!

On the upside, it really looks like Daniel Thomas runs north & south with purpose. It appears he hits the hole hard, and keeps his feet moving at all times. I also like Henne getting positive yards on his scrambles. I thought Hartline had a couple of nice catches. 

More yards and time of possession, yet we lose......by a single point. That was hard to swallow. 

I would have bet the house on the over (7.5 wins)....now 6-10......maybe. I just got a bad feeling about this situation thus far. 

Then there was the walk of shame leaving the game. And, of course, there's always that one guy that just has to be a dick about things. Don't get me wrong, I'm not that sensitive to the verbal barbs after a loss. Our group had wives & kids in it, and I'm not about to go to jail for the sake of teaching some jack-ass a lesson. But, it was nice to have other Browns fans come up to me and say he didn't represent them or their team (while I was in full face paint). 

All and all, it was a great weekend. Good times were had and lots of new friend were made. I mean after that nice return with an additional 15 yard penalty....I thought we were in store for a dramatic finish and a Fins victory. Oh well, getting our tickets for MNF with another DolFans group. This time we'll be hanging with DolfansNYC and two of the guys that came to Cleveland are from the NY area and going as well. More fun.....and NO make-up in NY. 

Thank you very much, OFF4L for agreeing to do this interview.  I know the readers will love getting to know you a little better, and you were easily the correct choice for the Phinsider's Boldest Fan.  Hopefully the other seven games you attend this year are a lot better than Sunday's.

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