The 2017 NFL Draft is in the books. The Miami Dolphins started it out with a bang giving their fans a great event at this years annual draft party.
Growing up in Northern Iowa a Miami Dolphins fan isn’t easy. I grew up watching Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs games with the very random opportunity to catch a Dolphins game when they played close enough to be considered a regional game. Being 25 I haven’t enjoyed many winning seasons which means the only games I could catch growing up were those few Monday night games. I coveted those opportunities and looked forward to those few hours for months.
It’s been a lifelong dream to get to Miami for a Dolphins game. I attended my first game in Chicago a couple years ago when they were there for a week one preseason contest. While it was a great opportunity it still wasn’t South Florida. It still wasn’t the field that Dan Marino set so many records.
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Finally in February I had my first opportunity to book a vacation to Miami. It wasn’t for a game but I had a different idea in mind: Attend the Dolphins draft party.
I love the NFL Draft almost as much as I love opening week of the season. A weekend full of hope for the future all while watching dreams come true for so many young men that have worked their whole lives for that one moment. What better way to watch it than with the best fans in the NFL?
When the team announced details for the draft party I was just as excited as I was for the kickoff of this years Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. When I got to Hard Rock Stadium last Thursday, seeing the place I dreamed of for so many years, I felt like I’d personally just won the Super Bowl.
The first thing on the agenda was to get a tour of a locker room. Last week I’d gotten a phone call from a rep with an invitation; they were offering these as a tool to sell upcoming season tickets (or a membership as they’re called) which, as someone that works in sports for a living, I think was a great move. Living in Wisconsin I don’t have a need for season tickets – obviously – but they put on a great presentation in the locker room of all the exciting things happening at Hard Rock this upcoming year. As a benefit of purchasing a membership you’d receive a seat back from the original seats.
Those of us a part of the tour were then taken into the Samsung Business Preview Center which had a model of the Hard Rock Stadium renovations and a chance to check out all the new seats they put in.
We were then joined with the rest of the attendees on the field for the party. There was a large beer tent in the middle of the field, Publix was handing out free sandwiches and rally flags, and a stage set up with Kim Bokamper hosting the party. Other sponsors were set up around the field as well as well as a couple photo op’s and some interactive activities for the kids. They also had a garage sale set up with inexpensive gear all going towards the Miami Dolphins Foundation.
Overall the event was great for the fans. If you were present then you can vouch that the atmosphere continued to amp up as Reuben Foster fell down the draft board and was still there when Miami hit the clock at 22. Once Charles Harris was announced many were disappointed but the optimism was still there.
I want to personally thank the Miami Dolphins for a great first experience. My love for the organization only grew last Thursday night as I spent four hours with you fans, and I can’t wait until the day I catch my first game at Hard Rock Stadium.