Friday, September 24, 2010

Super Fan Series: PhinAddicts

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines addiction as the compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal. If you’re one of those people who go through the week counting down the minutes until kick-off because nothing brings you greater joy than watching the Dolphins take the field, and the idea of a having to fill your Sundays with some other form of entertainment during a bye week is unbearable, then you my friend are a PhinAddict.

Jeff Smith and Jeff Rudman were the first to coin the term "PhinAddicts". Smith who resides in Fort Myers and drives hours to and from each game has been a Dolfan for decades. Rudman is a 26 year season ticket holder who grew up attending Dolphins games at the Orange Bowl during the glory days. The two met only a couple of years ago when near the end of the 2006 season Smith bought West Endzone Field Club tickets from Rudman and was so overwhelmed by the experience that the two decided to attend games together in the Field Club during the 2007 season.

Solely attending games was not enough though, so in 2007 Fro and Stripe were born. Fro and Stripe more than being characters are a true representation of Smith and Rudman’s identity as Dolfans and are so named because of the outfit , or more specifically the headware each of them sport on gameday; Smith an orange afro wig and Rudman a teal mohawk with an orange stripe down the middle.

While at the stadium doing their thing one day their phones began to buzz with texts and phone calls from friends and relatives who had just seen them not only in the jumbotron but also on network TV. Shortly thereafter their true moment of realization would come when they had people coming up to them around the stadium asking them to keep up the good work, it was then that they felt the need to adopt an identity that all Dolfans could relate to, hence the PhinAddicts.

Essentially the PhinAddicts are a byproduct of the 2007 character building one win season. They saw this as a chance to show everyone that they would support any team that wears the dolphins uniform, even if the product on the field is not as productive as it should be. As they expressed to me, they were and continue to be just a couple of passionate fans in the stands who enjoy expressing their “Phintensity” and are looking to raise the bar of “Phinaddicism” reenergizing the Dolphins fan base while bringing back the home field advantage we as a team used to have!

Spreading the word about the PhinAddicts proved to be an easy task thanks to Facebook, where a page with the PhinAddicts name was created as a place for them to easily talk to their fans. The PhinAddicts page might not be the most informative of all Dolfan pages or even the one with the biggest following but that was never their intention upon creating it; what they really wanted was to establish relationships with true Dolphins fans and that is something they feel like they have truly done. “There are days during the work week that we are up most of the night just chatting with other Dolfans from around the world and we love every minute of it.”

Today, they’re not alone in their goal; the PhinAddicts, along with other groups and individuals like the Dolfan Bandits, Fins Chix, FINtastic Four, Papa Pump & Co., Roger Avila & Jr., Finman Finhead, Mike Smoller and his precious girls, Venus Utegg and many others understand that the sports culture in Miami lends itself to bandwagon jumping and together they have set out to change this mindset and they truly believe that they can spread the Phinaddicism not just on a local or national level, but on a global one. “It is gut check time for true Dofans to be accountable as are their players for their play on the field and give it all they have through both the great and challenging times.”

This group of fans has become so tight knit that when one of the members was called out in a local sports talk radio show for choosing to spend much of his available personal time painting his body and pumping up the crowd in practice they decided to use Facebook as a platform to voice their opinion and spearheaded a movement to demand an apology which they received not only on the air but off the air as well.

It is this sense of camaraderie that has made the PhinAddict movement worthwhile for Smith and Rudman, whom I got a chance to interview for this article. It has been almost impossible for me to replicate the passion they showed when talking about what they do which is why I have chosen to share a little bit of that session with you so you can see for yourselves.

Q.- What game are you looking forward to the most this season and why?
A.- Without question the Jets Sunday night home opener. This intense rivalry game on its own would be circled on our calendar but the fact that it represents the return of J.T. in a Jets uniform makes the plot line all the more interesting. Nothing would make us more excited than to pound them in our Home stadium and be able to watch Rex “Cryan” over and over again during the post game press conference. ;)

Q.- What is the best thing that has come from this?
A.- Easy answer; undoubtedly, the camaraderie with fellow PhinAddicts such as Erwin Ridwan, Cynthia Rubio & Mark Tiapkov! The networking has allowed us to meet some amazing soldiers fighting over seas as well as some wonderful veterans. We are so appreciative for what they have done and continue to do keeping America safe and out of harm’s way allowing us to enjoy our liberties. Being asked to participate as a judge for the Miami Dolphins Cheerleading Selection Committee was quite an honor and an amazing experience. We have the most talented and beautiful group of girls in the entire NFL!
Dolphin games give us a sense of community, a familiarity among ordinary strangers joined by one common bond MIAMI DOLPHINS FOOTBALL. We recognize how fortunate we are to attend all home games and the occasional road game. There are so many Dolfans out there who we have come into contact with whose dream it is to simply attend one Home game. It’s an amazing feeling to get recognized whether it is on the jumbotron or by someone walking by you with a high five. Each time we express ourselves on the field we do so knowing full well we are representing those who wish they could be there! If we have our voice left after a game; shame on us!

Q.- Do you have a favorite memory?
A.- There are so many to choose from like reminding Ravens DB Terrell Suggs he picked the wrong endzone to celebrate his INT-TD “NOT IN OUR HOUSE” but we would have to say Camarillo’s TD to prevent our proud franchise from going winless and the ensuing celebration thereafter with the entire team in our Field Club section. That was what we call a “PHINGASMIC” moment. Phingasm – Euphoria following a climactic, game defining moment leading to a Dolphins victory. Look out Wikipedia – here we come!

Q.- Is there anything you look forward to doing in the future?
A.- Raising more money for the Miami Dolphins Foundation. We look forward to meeting new Dolfans and celebrating Super Bowl Victories with our Fan base! Also, we are currently in the process of creating the “ULTIMATE DOLFANS GLOBAL ALBUM”. The Purpose of the album is to bring about the unification of all Dolfans worldwide. We are asking everyone to submit their favorite Dolphins picture of all time for all to enjoy. We currently have hundreds of pictures submitted and are hopeful to have it completed by the 1st quarter of the 2010 season. You really have to see these! Right now we have them in one of our many Facebook albums called; you guessed it, ULTIMATE DOLFANS GLOBAL ALBUM.

As much as they feel have taken from the Dolfan community, the PhinAddicts have also made sure to contribute back in many ways. They collaborated on a project to produce Phinaddicts’ “PHINFANS4LIFE” original art T-Shirts for “$19.72” while donating a portion of the proceeds to the MDF - Miami Dolphins Foundation. Thus far, they have had a very favorable reaction and are very grateful for all the support. Their second print titled “Logo” will be priced at “$20.10” and has just been released so please look out for it! The MDF is devoted to providing and supporting signature Education, Health, Youth Athletic Programs and Volunteer Activities that inspire and engage communities throughout Florida.

They have also made sure to find a way to give something back to the fans that make everything they do possible; so, as a way to reward their Facebook friends, their journey has enabled them to partner up with www.Gold, a successful internet based retail store who is an authorized Hook & Tackle® dealer specializing in innovative technical fishing wear and the casual fisherman lifestyle. Gold Marlin has graciously become a sponsor of their Facebook Score Prediction Contest for all Dolphin road games. The objective of this contest is to be the closest to predict the final score of a Dolphins victory and the winner will receive an authentic Hook & Tackle® garment/s. The contest is usually announced on their FB page a few hours before kickoff and the first person to submit the most accurate score after their submission request post wins.

Ultimately, the PhinAddicts are about one thing, and that is interacting with other fans who share their “addiction” for Dolphins football and so before I go I will share this request with you:

“We love to tailgate at E-12 - Blue Lot in front of Gate D and would hope that everyone reading this knows we encourage all to come by and say hello or just hang with us. We’ve got good food, good vibes and nothing but good times. A tailgate would not be complete without a competitive game of corn hole so if you have not heard of it and are willing to try something new come on over.

We would love nothing more than to travel to each road game and find front row seats to represent our team but unfortunately our obligations to our families prevent us from having the time and resources to make this happen. We do our best to make it to at least one road game a year and we have yet to decide which one it will be for this season. In the meantime, we do the next best thing; hold Dolphin Road Rallys at different sports bars. We usually announce the location a few days before the game on Facebook so everyone can make their plans, so please join us.”

The PhinAddicts were featured as the fan of the week the very first week of the season on ESPNs Facebook page, show them your support by heading over and reading that article as well, and let's do them proud by heading out to support our team each and every Sunday. We know the Dolphins have the best fans in the NFL, let's go out there and prove it.


Ralph Lanier Jr. said...

Another Great article Carolina! The PhinAddicts are Awesome!! They possess true "Fandemonium" for our favorite Team!! The MIAMI DOLPHINS!! I am proud to know TRUE fans like Jeff & Jeff!! We have a lot in common, life-long Dolfans & wanting to meet as many other Dolfans as possible!! Dolfans are everywhere & the "Best Fans in the NFL".
The work they do for the Miami Dolphins Foundation is truly what it's all about! Donating time & money to a great cause that helps so many families in South Florida. I will be joining them in the "Deep End" this Sunday for the JETS game & don't expect to have a voice when I leave either!!! GO DOLPHINS!!!

Ralph Lanier Jr.
2010 NFL Director of Fandemonium

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