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Family And Football Combine At Dolphins Camp

Posted Jul 28, 2012

The Miami Dolphins celebrated the connection between family and football on Saturday morning, hosting a special Family Day event during the team’s second full day of training camp.

When practice opened to the public at 8:40 a.m., fans had plenty to keep themselves busy. Aside from the typical on-field action of the football team, the team hosted a number of special activities, including Training Camp Facility tours, interactive games, Dolphins cheerleader and alumni player autograph signings and a prize wheel.

If a young Dolphins fan wanted to channel his inner David Garrard or Matt Moore, he could work on his spiral at one of inflatable targets set up. To simulate to some degree what was happening just a few hundred feet away, kids participated at the Gatorade Junior Training Camp.

It all combined to create an ideal prelude to the upcoming season for families.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Tyrone Sandaal, who brought his two young children to Family Day. “I’m a lifelong fan. This is there first time doing any kind of Dolphins event, so we’re really psyched.”

Though it may have been designed to draw younger families, those with children whose connections with the team are just beginning, “Family Day” attracted Finatics of all ages.

When the practice schedule was released, Marc Wolff decided that he and his family would take his mother-in-law, a Dolphins season ticket holder in the ‘70s, to training camp for her 68th birthday.

For the family full of football fans, there was no better place for three generations to celebrate.

“Yeah, we are (fans). My mother-in-law, especially,” Wolff said. “She’s a die-hard Dolphins fan. Win or lose, we’ll get ‘em next week kind of fan. She’s just tickled pink about being out here on her birthday.”

Nearly all of the day’s special activities were set up beyond the gate that encloses the south end of the Dolphins’ practice field, a perfect vantage point to keep at least one eye on the quarterback competition, Hard Knocks cameras and whatever else jumped out during practice.

So while the Dolphins players worked through a rigorous round of team drills, nobody was ever too far away from the field, even if you decided to get your face painted or meet some Dolphins cheerleaders.

“It’s well-situated,” Sandaal said. “I can watch the team while the kids do the bouncy house, so it actually works out really well.”

Despite all of the additional excitement, though, the main focus, of course, was the football - in particular, how the team looked. As his daughter enjoyed some of the festivities nearby, Wolff and his son, Nathan, took in all the action on the practice field, getting an up-close look at the Dolphins’ offensive line.

“My 15-year-old son is realizing that he’s not going to be an NFL football player,” Wolff said. “He realizes that he’s not going to be like No. 75 (Nate Garner). What is that guy, 6-foot-6, 325, maybe more? So, anyway, just bringing the family out.”

Perhaps spurred by nostalgia from their youth, fathers will pass their team allegiance to children, hoping that the next generation keeps that team support intact.

Sandaal hopes to do just that.

“Absolutely,” he said. “This is a good first day for that.”

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