Lockout Doesn’t Stop Dolphins From Raising over $600,000 During Fins Weekend
In case you have been living under a rock for the past few months, the National Football League is locked out. Meaning that players are not allowed to participate in any organized activity that involves their respective teams. But the one exception to the rule is charity events. So even a work stoppage couldn’t stop the 15th Annual Fins Weekend from raising over $600,000 for the Miami Dolphins Foundation.
PLAYERS AND COACHES GET A RARE GLIMPSE OF EACH OTHER
The Fins Weekend actually started before the actual weekend, with the brief Celebrity Draw party Thursday night. Here, teams spun a giant, epileptic nightmare of a prize wheel to determine which celeb they would be playing golf with the next morning. But more notably, it was the first time in months that coaches and players were in the same place at the same time.
“Boy, it’s nice to see all the players in here again,” remarked Dolphins President Jeff Ireland as he addressed the perpetually talking crowd at the party. “We need to get back to some football.”
LOCKOUT? WHAT LOCKOUT?
The lockout became an interesting topic as the weekend went on. Ireland and coach Tony Sparano talked about it at the opening party, saying they were on “about plan WWW” insofar as how the season would progress. And players gave very standard, cliché answers to questions about it, comments so vague they may as well have been no comment. Even never-short-for-words Brian Cox, the former all-pro linebacker and current Pass Rush coach, was not allowed to discuss the issue. So while the lockout kind of became the elephant on the Golf Course, it didn’t seem to hamper anyone’s good time.
The party ended early so participants could be up early the next day for golf. Though pretty much everyone adjourned to the Fairmont’s lobby bar to watch the Heat game.
The next morning started out early, with teams hitting the course at the Fairmont at Turnberry in Aventura. Teams competed all day, battling the stifling humidity but enjoying some delicious food and drinks along the way. Morton’s Steakhouse hosted a tent right next to the clubhouse featuring Prime Sliders and a full liquor bar, and it became the de-facto stop through for most of the players. Again, none really wanted to talk much about the lockout past “We’ve been organizing our own workouts.” And even a few on-course beers didn’t get any of them to open up.
Chan Henne’s team won the tournament with a team score of 57.
HOOKING AND TACKLING
That night the Dolphins threw the Hook and Tackle Captains Party at the Miami Beach Marina. The fishing tournament is really the main event of the entire weekend, so this party was exponentially bigger – and louder – than the previous night’s at the Fairmont. 83 boats were to participate in the next day’S fishing tourney, and all were allowed to bring guests. So the tent got packed, and the drinks were flowing.
Fullback Lusaka Polite received the team’s Nat Moore Community Service award for his work in schools. He became the first back to back winner since Brian Cox won in 1994 and 1995, which was more or less the only time any of the Dolphins were on stage. But then again, this wasn’t exactly an event for autograph seekers. The $5000-per-team entry fee tends to keep out people who just want to come and star gaze.
We spent the day with Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline on the Qualifier, a 52-foot luxury fishing vessel that overshadowed many of the 82 boats participating in the tournament.
Also joining us was Hartline’s younger brother, Mike, who played quarterback at the University of Kentucky and is hoping to enter the NFL once this lockout is resolved.
But the lockout was the furthest thing from their minds on Saturday.
It was all about the fish. They ended up catching several dolphins and a few bonitos under the guidance of Captain Terry Claus and his son, First Mate Trey Claus.
And Brian Hartline ended up winning the Billfish Trophy because he caught two sailfish, which are highly sought even though they are released without even bringing them onto the boat because they are protected species.
None of the other 40 Dolphin players, coaches or alumni captured a single sailfish.
Photos and video by Carlos Miller
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