Being a Miami Dolphins season ticket holder has had its ups and downs over the years. Over the past ten years, the team has evolved through its various coaches and players, which have resulted in mixed results (usually leaning more towards the “L” game results column). The stadium has continued to evolve into what it is today: a world class sports venue, hosting not only the Miami Dolphins, but also the Miami Hurricanes, international soccer clubs and many Grammy award winning musicians. And, the Training Camp experience for Dolphins fans has changed considerably, as the Davie facility has been upgraded to include a covered fan seating area, certain days are now designated as “Street Festival” days with free popcorn, cotton candy, and numerous football related activities, including player autograph sessions after practice and a special children’s autograph session has been developed to allow kids to have their own place to collect player autographs.
Training camp has always been about watching the team’s practice, from the first day of Training Camp, when the players are not in full pads, to the last full pads practice day allowable for fans to watch. Everyone who is a Miami Dolphins Member (aka Season Ticket Holder), along with fans who have registered through the Dolphins team website, receive an email towards the end of June informing them of the upcoming Training Camp dates. All public dates are listed, and Dolphins fans (and those other team’s spies) sign up to attend the sessions at no cost.
However, there is one Training Camp day that does not get announced publicly through the distributed email. Miami Dolphins season ticket holders receive a separate email with information regarding the Member Day at Training Camp, which used to be called the Season Ticket Holder day. This is a day specifically designed for Dolphins fans who purchase Dolphins season tickets for the upcoming year. Usually, the Street Festival is in full gear, attendees receive free drinks and team giveaways, the practice takes place on the normal practice field, and then some extra players show up to sign autographs.
This season, however, the process changed. Coach Flores canceled the final day of Training Camp, which was the same day as Member Day, due to him allowing the team to conduct a light workout. However, instead of cancelling the Member Day, Dolphins season ticket holders received a special opportunity which has never been offered during the seven years I have been a season ticket holder.
On Saturday, August 10th, Miami Dolphins season ticket holders, who signed up to attend the Member Day in advance, were invited into the air-conditioned practice bubble at the Davie facility for more than an hour. While inside the practice bubble, members had the opportunity to take pictures with groups of Miami Dolphins players. Multiple stations were created inside the bubble, where players in groups of 4 to 6 were gathered. The fans then stood on a short line (yes, a SHORT line) to take pictures with that specific group. Once finished, fans could then move to the next station and continue on throughout the bubble.
Most, if not all, of the Miami Dolphins players were in attendance for pictures. Josh Rosen, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Xavien Howard, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Christian Wilkens were just a few of the top players that were there. Even Coach Flores made a brief appearance to thank the Dolphins season ticket holders for their support.
Players were very cordial and were also very thankful to many of the fans in attendance. They shook hands, and occasionally signed autographs (although fans were instructed to not ask for autographs), while also engaging in small talk. Over the 90 minutes that the bubble was open, fans could have easily made it through all 20+ player stations to take pictures with all of the players in attendance.
It was a special day for the approximate 1,000 Miami Dolphins season ticket holders that were in attendance for this event. The ability to take pictures with players and to wish them luck in person has not been available to fans for the seven years that I have been a season ticket holder. And the accessibility to the players has not been around for fans since the Marino days. With this event, it’s clear that Miami Dolphins membership has its privileges.
Hopefully, this will become an annual affair!