Fins Weekend Shows Dolphins Love Miami
By Being a Part of the Miami Community, The Dolphins Develop the Only Loyal Following in Town
You can sign the best player in the world and build the newest stadium in sports. The Dolphins are still THE team in South Florida.
On a weekend when the Miami Heat continued its march through the playoffs and the Marlins continued to showcase their new palace in Little Havana, the Dolphins hosted their annual Fins Weekend. And showed once again why they are the only team in Miami that has a loyal, consistent fan base.
MIAMI AND THE DOLPHINS ARE TRULY TEAMMATES
Fins Weekend is a charity golf and fishing event that routinely raises over half a million dollars for the Miami Dolphins Foundation. Each golf foursome or fishing boat gets a former or current player to compete with them, literally making the Dolphins teammates with the community for one weekend.
“The team brings the community together,” owner Stephen Ross said, “And owning a team is all about recognizing that importance and being a part of the community.”
And the only cost is a donation to a worthy charity.
During Friday’s golf tournament at Turnberry in Aventura, teams pay $5000 for three players to compete. The fourth “celebrity” golfer is chosen at random, most of whom are current or former players who relish this chance to both relax and give back.
“It’s a win-win,” Dolphins Defensive End John Denney said as he stopped for a soda by Turnberry’s clubhouse. “You get to come out, play some golf, and give back to the community. If you like golf and fishing, why not do it?”
“This is the only event that will get me to come to Miami,” Dolphin alum Jeff Cross said. “This is, what, my 13th year doing this? It’s just great to come out here and help South Florida at the same time.”
The afternoon of golf was followed by the extravagant Hook and Tackle Captain’s Party, where participants in the fishing tournament could mingle with Dolphins past and present. It’s this sort of accessibility that makes Miamians loyal to the Dolphins.
The weekend concluded Saturday with a day-long fishing tournament, capped off by a weigh-in on the shores of Biscayne Bay.
DOING WHAT OTHER TEAMS CAN’T
A unique event like Fins Weekend also shows that the Dolphins understand South Florida, and use our natural advantages to raise money for good causes.
“We’re able to do a lot here, “Ross said. “It’s South Florida. Between the golf and the fishing tournament, you can’t do that in the middle of the United States.”
“This is such a unique event,” Miami Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said. “I don’t think there is anything like it in sports. It fits our community and we are so fortunate to have so many people that volunteer their time….This puts us in a position to fulfill the commitment we have to make a difference in the community.”
AN MVP THE REST OF AMERICA CAN LIKE
The players who volunteer their time are also likable. Prior to Friday’s party, Quarterback Matt Moore was named the team’s Most Valuable Player at an informal media event outside Monty’s in South Beach. But he has not gained any ego because of it.
“A year ago I did not see myself in this spot,” he said as the sun set behind him.
“A year ago I was coming in to be the backup quarterback, and I think most of my career I’ve been in a backup role. I’ve tried to prepare and know my stuff as a starter would and I’ve been fortunate to do well. I couldn’t have done it without the guys I played with.”
The affable, approachable team leader stood alone after the small media gathering, with an entourage consisting only of his wife, Tara. Media and fans alike could come up and chat with the man who led the team to a 6-3 record down the stretch.
Contrast this with any public appearances by the MVPs of the Marlins and Heat and you can see why the Dolphins make Miamians feel like the team and the community are one.
COMMUNITY SERVICE IS GREAT AND ALL…..
With guys like Matt Moore leading the team on the field, and devoted community outreach off of it, the Dolphins will remain the face of Miami sports. This year’s Fins Weekend raised over $600,000 for South Florida charities, while at the same time making players accessible to fans. Hopefully with new coach Joe Philbin at the helm the Dolphins will begin to carry their off the field success onfield.
“It’s all about winning,” Ross said. “We do a lot for charity, and people recognize that and come out and support the team. But ultimately, it’s all about winning.”
Photos by Lucie Jean Faris
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