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Dolphins fans thrive in cold Newfoundland


I was doing a guest host spot on Dolfan Radio last week, which by the way will be live tonight at 8pm and I will be on again, when we were graced with a caller from Newfoundland. In fact, he is not just a fan, but one of many who support the Miami Dolphins north of the border.

Mike Brothers is his name and he pointed us to a web site called Sheddawgs. A Miami Dolphins fan site from Newfoundland.

So I did what most would do, I checked it out. In the process I found this nifty little article from what I suppose is the writer of a local newspaper. She writes about the “Sheddawgs”, and come to find out, the mayor of this little town even declared a day “Sheddawg” day and encouraged others to join in the support of our very own Miami Dolphins. This is the article as it appears on their site.

A Party in the shed

These football fans take Miami Dolphins and their shed very seriously

Danette Dooley
For The Express

There aren’t a lot of proclamations in Mount Pearl that the majority of the city’s residents don’t hear about.

However, Mayor Steve Kent declared Dec. 18 as ‘Shed Dawgs Day,’ and encouraged all Shed Dawgs to continue to support the Miami Dolphins.

According to Shed Dawgs’ owner Mike Brothers, all Shed Dawgs are card-carrying members of the Tailgate Inc. web page — the most easterly Miami Dolphins fan site in North America.

While Kent considers himself a Shed Dawg already, Brothers says he will have to attend more games and prove he is indeed a Dawg before he’s officially made part of the team.

The group even has a web page —www.sheddawgs.com — to display and encourage the enthusiasm and dedication they show each week in watching their beloved Miami Dolphins of the National Football League.

“Although we are situated over 2,100 miles from Pro Player Stadium, we still believe in celebrating each game to the fullest, the web site states. “The members of Tailgate Inc. have become known as the Shed Dawgs as each week we all pile into Mike’s (AKA Sugar) Shed to watch the game.

According to Brothers, a Corner Brook native who teaches at Academy Canada, the Shed Dawgs have grown over the past several years. They expand, modify and remodel the shed and its surroundings all as a means of improving pre-game, game and post-game experiences, and in keeping with the Shed Dawgs’ motto: ‘Crankin’ It Up A Notch!’

Brothers’ interest in the Dolphins goes back more than two decades when, as a teenager, he tuned into a game between the Dolphins and the Chargers. It was the defining moment for him in choosing a team that would win his undying devotion.

“It was in 1982, and I was watching a playoff game, he remembers. “The Dolphins were losing 24-3 in the first half, but they managed to come back and tie it. Eventually, they ended up losing in overtime, but a lot of people pick it as one of the best games in the history of the NFL.

Brothers’ shed is just feet from his back door. It wasn’t unusual in the late 1990s for him and his buddies to spend every Sunday afternoon and the occasional Monday night there watching football.

“At first we’d go from my rec room to the shed watching the games, but these past few years, it’s totally in the shed.

The shed has come a long way from its humble beginnings, where the Dawgs sat around a 19-inch television cheering for their favourite team. A mini fridge has also been replaced with a full-size fridge. There’s also a wood stove and a five-foot Dolphins logo on the floor — perhaps the largest Dolphins logo in Newfoundland.

In fact, Brothers won a Labatt contest several years ago, when the beer company went looking for the best shed.

“It was $5,000. We took that and put in a new 35-inch TV. We didn’t have much room because we were getting so many people showing up for the games. So we actually cut a hole in the shed wall and sunk it back so we could expand the floor space, Brothers laughs.

The shed is also equipped with a computer and web cam.

“You can actually click on the web site and see us idiots in the shed on Sundays during the game.

While there are about 10 regular Shed Dawgs, there have been games when there’s been standing room only in the shed and many other milling around its doors.

“We have an overflow section out in a tent and we’ve had 25 people at a game at times.

While prior years saw die-hard Shed Dawgs lighting up inside, the rules have now changed in keeping with rules in other establishments where football is more popular than chicken wings.

“A couple of our Shed Dawgs (Sean Brake and Barry Walsh) are the owners of the Jungle Jim’s franchise. They’re both non-smokers and they had to go non-smoking so we thought it was only fair for the shed to go non-smoking as well, Brothers laughs.

Brothers and other Shed Dawgs have gone to Miami stadium to see their team take to the field. However, it’s not something they can do on a regular basis.

“We can’t get to Miami to the stadium so we do the next best thing. We tailgate, we BBQ. There’s always lots of food and drink floating around.

With only 16 games in the National Football League season, the Shed Dawgs enjoy everyone one of them. It’s all about forming friendships and sharing a laugh with people that have similar interests.

“We do more on a regular Sunday than 99 per cent of people do on a Super Bowl Sunday, Brothers says.

“And after we started tailgating every game and spending all the time in the shed, we started taking digital camera photos and we began recording our antics out there.

Initially there were many photos of when the team won with less focus on their losses, Brothers says.

“So what we started to do was, win or lose, we started to take a group shot of everyone who was watching the game. And now we have that group shot to record everyone who was there.?

There’s also now a ‘Photo of the Week’ and a ‘Shed Dawg of the Week.’

“Some guys were getting the ‘Shed Dawg of the Week’ photo for just flippin’ some burgers, so we decided that it was an award that wouldn’t be given every week because we didn’t want to cheapen it — something as classy as ‘Shed Dawg of the Week Award,’ Brothers laughs.

Brothers’ wife Patti is also a huge Dolphins supporter. The couple has two young daughters, Ally and Melanie. Some of the Shed Dawgs’ wives and families have also bonded in friendship beyond football.

“It gets to the point where you think, ‘How silly is this? We’re a bunch of grown men.’ But as my wife says, it’s harmless. We’re just out in the shed and everyone knows what we’re up to. So she’s a big supporter and most of the guys’ wives know they are coming here for the games and they’re fine with it, too. The shed is in my backyard, but it’s the Shed Dawgs shed because it’s their haven.

While the Dolphins season ended without a playoff berth, Brothers says cheering for the team in every game is really what the Shed Dawgs are all about.

“Even if they lost every game and won the last game, we’d cheer for that as if it was the Super Bowl. There are no fair weather fans in the Shed Dawgs.