I'm originally from South Florida. I was born in Orlando, but moved to Ft. Lauderdale when I was in 2nd grade. I remember watching Dolphins games with my dad at a very young age. It is what made me love the phins the way I do. (My mom, however, is a Patriots fan who swears that I liked the Pats growing up. If ANYONE, I liked the Niners a little bit, but Miami was always my first love.)
I currently live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I received a phone call last week from my mother informing me of the unfortunate news regarding my grandfather; he has suffered two strokes and was diagnosed with systolic heart failure. He was a big influence on me growing up. My father wasn't really around much, so my grandpa was the man who taught me what I needed to know about being a man. He hadn't met my wife, or his first great grand-son (through marriage) Easton. After the news, I made an emergency trip down to SoFla so that they could meet the man who means so much to me, and so he could in turn meet my beautiful wife and son.
I figured that he wouldn't want us at the hospital the entire time, I mean, going through rehab is stressful and the guy would need to sleep at some point. So I downloaded some tickets to go to Training Camp last Thursday. Before we left for our trip, I tweeted the Dolphins to say that I was bringing my family down and that I would be attending training camp, and that I have a four year old dolphins fan. I asked if they had anything special they could do. I didn't actually expect a response but figured that it wouldn't hurt to ask.
They replied. Here is the direct message I received.
"Shaun--look forward to having you here on Thursday. When you get to camp, please check in at the Family check-in desk, you're on a list now.
Thanks for your support and for making the trip south!"
I about pooped a brick.
I got so excited. I own about 10 Dolphins jerseys-- a few Marinos, a Culpepper-- yikes--, a Marshall, a Taylor, a Thomas, so on and so forth. It's hard to find anything Dolphins related in North Carolina so I decided that we had to buy some new swag when we got down to South Florida, just because it was so easy to get a hold of. I picked up a new Wake jersey, the Wife and Baby got Tannehills.
When we arrived at TC, we checked in. A super nice girl took us up into the season ticket holder booths, which covered us from the blaring hot sun. It was awesome. There were free food and drinks, and the promise of a tour of the practice bubble and training facilities. A man named Xavier I believe came over and was quite courteous, asking about our trip and explaining how everything worked for us. We went on the tours and enjoyed the food. It was amazing to think that a life long Dolphin fan who has watched countless hours of games, cried, laughed, screamed, and felt every pain that this franchise has felt in recent years, mattered enough to someone in the organization to just do something as small as this. To them, it was nothing... to me, it was a memory for a lifetime. I hope it was as awesome for Easton, because one day I want him to think back on it the way I think back on my time with my dad before he passed.