Thursday, September 18, 2014

Becoming A Dolfan

Whenever I see the Chiefs on our schedule, my mind kindly wonders back to the day I became a Dolfan.

It was Christmas Day 1971 and my Mom's side of the family was trekking into New Jersey from Pennsylvania to share Christmas dinner with us.

The plan was to watch the Divisional Playoff game between the defending Super Bowl Champs Kansas City Chiefs and the visiting upstart Miami Dolphins and then eat dinner immediately after the game.

Ahh, the best laid plans of mice and men.

Now all my cousins and Uncle from Pa. were all Eagles fans. My brother was and still is a die hard Raider fan and my Dad hailed the Redskins.

I hadn't picked out a team yet so when everyone else decided to cheer for the Chiefs, I hopped on the Dolphin bandwagon.

When I think about it, I became a Dolfan just to be antagonistic!

While Mom and all the other women were in the kitchen preparing the turkey and side dishes, all the guys were glued to the TV.

It was a classic football game that had 13 future Hall of Famers playing in it. Little did I know at age 13 how important this game would be in both Miami Dolphins and NFL lore.

The game was tied at 10 at halftime and the Chiefs took the lead 24-17 with only a few minutes left. All my cousins starting ribbing me.

Mom politely announced that the turkey was ready so we should get ready to eat. That was the last kind word from her mouth that day.

Bob Griese led the Dolphins down the field to tie the game with 1:25 left.  Now, I was hooting and hollering.

Then Ed Podolak, the Chiefs RB who had a monster game, returned the kick off to our 22 yard line setting the Chiefs up nicely to run out the clock and kick a game winning field goal.  I was showered in laughter and got quite annoyed.

My Mom started to yell now "Its time to eat!"

The Chiefs sent Hall of Fame Kicker Jan Stenerud out to end the game and my misery. But he missed!

Overtime!! "Hahaha" was my reply to my loving family.

Mom came back into the living room "Lets eat everyone." "After the game." was the general consensus.

I could hear pots and pans and women biting their teeth.

Both teams missed opportunities to end the game with FGs in the first overtime period.

Yep, you read right, first overtime period.

Throughout the OT, as each team would drive towards victory, we would send one brave messenger into the kitchen to declare that the game will end soon.

And through the cheers and laughs and groans, my Mom would bellow "The turkey is drying out!"

My Dad dared not respond.

Finally, as Garo Yepremian split the uprights after 82 minutes and 40 seconds the longest game in NFL history had ended and my love affair with the Miami Dolphins had just begun.

I sat at the table with a shit eating grin on my face surrounded by my family struggling to chew an overcooked turkey.  I didn't care. To this day, it was the best turkey I have ever eaten.

Who would of thought that in my first 114 weeks as a Dolfan, we would go on to the next 3 Super Bowls, winning two and ending my first full season as a Dolfan undefeated.

Amazing!

I know that I have been blessed and I also know that many of you haven't had the opportunity to enjoy the same experiences but hang in there.

You never know in this world when something magnificent just wonders into your life.

Hopefully it will happen soon for you and us all.

I would love to hear how many of you became Dolfans.  I am sure many of you have some interesting tales as well.

Phins Up!!!

Carl Leone
Dolfan since 12/25/1971
Carldleone@aol.com
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6 comments

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Aaaah, the good old days!!

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Yes indeed Steve.

I do feel for the younger generation of fans. They may be more passionate about the team than I am.

Having to follow mediocrity. Too bad they weren't along for the 1970's through early 2000's. We had so many good teams. Only 2 losing season in 34 years.

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I also became a Phins Fan way back when Shula came from Baltimore. And Butch and Sundance aka Csonka and Kiick.

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Remember their commercials with them riding horses.

Everybody had a big mustache back then.

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I know I did and long sideburns too.

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Haha on the sideburns!