I'll be honest, its been really hard to organize my thoughts lately. I will do my best.
Not long after attending my 1st Dolphins game up in the Pontiac Silverdome back in 1985, I knew I loved attending the games live & in person. That is where all of this really started. In those early years I would I hit the games with my Mom, an assortment of different friends ( some DolFans, some not ), or my 1st ( starter) Wife. If they played within 5-6 hours of Toledo, chance were I was there. In 1993 the Toledo Dolphins Fan Club was formed, and I joined the following year all with the purpose of hanging with other like-minded football fans. Here I expanded the amount of people I could recruit for my yearly road trip. Well that worked like a charm ! I was part of the driving force that organized club trips to Detroit, Cleveland x2, Cincy x2. One of the guys from the club was even a part of my wedding. It was also there I met Steve AKA The Stalker. All of the pictures and autographs I've amassed is really due to his know-how. Steve left Toledo and moved to Weston and became a season ticket holder a few years before I started traveling South for the Winter. I simply followed his lead, and by doing so I've met some the team's biggest stars.
Now that brings me to The Phinsider. I discovered this place back in 2008, and knew straight away this was a web site I could relate too. I place where I could get all things Dolphins without having to bounce all around the net to do so. And a place that little ol' me could share my adventures complete with pictures ( my strong suite ). In no way, shape, or form did I ever think my alter ego, OFF4L, would turn into what it has become. I just wanted to share my experience with others that might be interested. Having come from Ohio, I knew there are DolFans all over the country that might get a kick out of my perspective. And, of course, I also knew that there are those who could care less. None the less, I enjoy sharing the adventures.
It has also been well documented my indoctrination in to The Deep End and the donning of the face paint. To sum up that aspect of OFF4L....what was once the exception, is now the norm. And for a pair of free tickets in the front row,....well the rest is history. It is certainly different. I am regularly stopped and asked to pose for photos. And I do so gladly. I love the Dolphins, and I love seeing kids ( and grown-ups too ) get a kick out of my "look". And , when asked, I've been known to paint up a kid or two....
Blah, blah, blah......
Let me talk a bit about winning the contest, and really,....how the Phinsider helped me do so. Like Mosul said I entered the contest after becoming this sites "Boldest" fan. It simply was 4 questions, all revolving around the word bold. and one of them was something to the effect of this : How does your "boldness" motivate others ? Well,...here I mentioned my efforts in The DCC. You at The Phinsider by far led my fundraising efforts ! More than the Toledo Fan Club, more than those in The Deep End, more than family, friend, co-workers, more than what my Mom raised at the sports bar she works in. While I am not minimizing a single donation, and am grateful for every penny I raised,.....The Phinsiders contribution was simply more than the rest. Now I also mentioned that I was going to ride 170 miles after only owning my bike less than a year. What is truly amazing to me is that I don't really know anybody here personally ( mostly,....I'll claim Mr Medic ),....and when I asked for cash money, all be it for a worthy cause,.......The Phinsider responded ! Too me,....that's pretty F'n bold ! So in reality, it is because of you I won this contest, and that's a fact !!!
THANK YOU,....EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU !!!
So,....I'm going to Indy for Super Bowl Weekend. And while I'm there I'll pick up some swag to add to my Super Bowl contest. I'm not sure what I'll get but it will be something Super Bowl specific. I also contacted my buddy Fro of The Phin Addict and he is donating one of his "Fighting Phins" T-shirts ( not sure what color or size he's sending ) to add to the prize package. One just like I'm wearing here with Drew & Gino ( Brothers I met thru The Phinsider that made it to Buffalo two seasons ago, and Cleveland this last season ).
I really don't know what more I can add at this point, except how humbled I am by the whole thing.
The camera will be snapping pictures non-stop, Mini Marino is making the trip, my Mom & Uncle just might swing by for a day ( 4 hours from Toledo ), one of my best friends lives in Indy ( could be trouble,...lol), and I don't know how I'm going to sleep the next few days. The party starts Thursday night right after work,....Dinner out, hockey, then it is on !!!!
Look for the post about trippin' in Indy sometime on Wens or Thurs.