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Fun Dan Marino Stories

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by KeyFin, Aug 7, 2018.

  1. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I don't think I've ever shared some of my Marino moments on this site so I figured it would be a good time. I grew up in Davie, Florida with one of the area's biggest sports collectors as a neighbor, and he'd often take me and the neighborhood kids for autographs whenever a player was in town or whatever. Our most common stop was to visit Dan Marino out in Weston Country Club every Thursday for his live radio interviews- I probably talked with him 100 times during his prime.

    On an average Thursday, he'd do the radio show for a few hours and then hit the bar to socialize and relax. We were too young to hit the bar so we'd wait in the parking lot for him to come out. Sometimes he'd be in a good mood and chat with us for 15-20 minutes- I've actually caught passes from Dan Marino while just hanging out and goofing around. Most of the time though, he'd either cuss us out or just sign a few things and leave immediately; which I now understand as an adult looking back.

    Okay, story #1.

    This was in the late 80's and the Fins were destroying opponents. If my memory is right, we were like 7-1 at the time. So Dan comes out to the parking lot and he was in a really good mood, he laughed and said that he'd be all over his kids if they were hanging out in a parking lot that late on a school night. And we briefly chatted about practice that week and the upcoming game- he told us that it should be a blowout since the team was playing so well.

    But then I ruined everything with one stupid question- I asked him if we were going to win the Super Bowl that year. He instantly got pissed off and everyone there fell silent...I didn't know this was a personal superstition of his. Dan started yelling at me that you don't talk about the playoffs or the Super Bowl until you're in the Super Bowl, then he stormed off to his white Suburban and left. He called me just about every name in the book on his way to his car though.

    I wasn't invited back to get Marino autographs for a few months after that one.

    I have a lot of fun stories to share though- meeting Jordan at Baja Beach Club, going to Shula's son's wedding, etc. I'll try to share the Fins stories throughout the pre-season.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
  2. Fin-O

    Fin-O Initiated Club Member

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    How old were you?

    I imagine at least 15-16 if he was actually cussing you out. Great story, looking forward to the next.
     
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  3. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    This is my favorite story by a long-shot so I figured I'd get it out of the way. It's one of the last times I met Marino since I was 17 and no longer getting those "sympathy autographs" as a kid. Because that's one thing he was always big on- he hated signing autographs but he'd stop every single time if there was a kid there. Marino really loved children.

    The radio show used to be from 8-10 PM, so we'd get to Weston Country Club at 10 on the dot just in case he left immediately. Most of the time though, he'd hang out and socialize for awhile inside. The more he drank, the more he'd socialize and sign autographs...so we were rooting for him to hit the bar.

    On this particular night, Marino headed out of the country club at like 12:30. He had a huge handful of balloons and that didn't pair well with drinking a lot of beer. He was stumbling all over the place and slightly slurring his words- our boy was definitely drunk. Well, one of the younger kids with us got an autograph and it was super-sloppy...the autograph hound Frankie we were there with was signaling for us to not get any signatures at all because he wouldn't be able to get them authenticated. Besides, here's Marino with a sharpie in one hand, about 30 balloon strings in the other hand and he's losing a balloon every 2-3 seconds. He tells us that he's taking them home because it's his kid's birthday the next day.

    For no particular reason, one of my friends asks if Marino wants him to hold the balloons while he talks. So he passes them over and continues to chat; I remember he was giving Frankie grief for driving a newer Jeep Grand Cherokee instead of a Suburban like him. We chat for maybe 5 minutes and Marino says that he has to get home, so he instructs us to put the balloons in his back seat on the passenger side (so he can see while driving).

    So we get the balloons in the car and Marino's headed towards the driver's door, and I asked him, "Are you sure you're okay to drive?" He paused for 3-4 seconds as he thought about it- after all, he only lived a few blocks away and a cop definitely wasn't going to give him a DUI in his own neighborhood. Out of nowhere though, he replies, "Naw, you can drive me." He casually tossed me his car keys and I remember thinking that it was the coolest moment of my life...mainly from the look on all my friend's jealous faces.

    So I hop in the driver's seat of the Suburban, Marino takes shotgun and suddenly all my happiness turns to fear- this thing's a freaking house on wheels and I have to back it out. Frankie was parked in front of us though and moved his Cherokee quick, so luckily I could just pull forward. I drive the couple of blocks to enter Marino's neighborhood and pull up to the guard gate, which was already open by the time we got there. I told the guard I was driving him home (not that he cared) and we sailed right through, then I hung a left and went all the way down to the last driveway. Side note- Marino's house was one of the first built in Weston and they gave it to him for free in order to get people interested in the area. It was also one of the most visible homes in the early building stages so everybody knew where he lived.

    Anyway, we arrive safely and I hopped out, wished Marino a good night and tossed him his keys back. He said thanks and started walking towards the front door, then stopped after a few steps and asked me if I wanted to come in for a drink. My heart was beating out of my chest as I tried to play it cool while saying, "Sure, I'll come in for a bit." So I take a few quick steps to catch up to him as we head for the front door.

    I swear we are less than 5 steps away from the door handle....and here comes Frankie up the driveway with a Jeep full of my friends. Marino spins around and says, "What the F*$# are they doing here? Get the F*$& off my property!" And just like that, my dream night drinking a beer with Dan Marino at his house ended.
     
  4. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    For that story, I think I was around 16....I know I was already playing in high school anyway so I was in the 13-17 range.

    The neighbor started bringing me when I was probably 10 or 11, and I made runs with him for various autographs up until I was around 20. It was cool growing up because he'd pay us $10-20 per autograph and he'd supply whatever we were getting signed (photos, footballs, jerseys, etc.), plus he would drive us there and prep us on how that person usually reacted. So it was spending money as a kid plus getting to meet sports stars and celebrities.

    He'd call us up sometimes last minute and say something like, "Bruce Springsteen's private jet lands in 12 minutes in Ft. Lauderdale...can you leave now?" He'd get 3-4 of us kids and off we'd go. It was a lot of fun because the guy was an amazing detective with contacts everywhere- he probably could have been an FBI agent if he wasn't so big into memorabilia.

    For Marino though, he cussed us out a lot when people crowded him for autographs. We used to think it was funny because 4 times out of 5, he'd tell us off and we'd leave empty handed. That was really part of the fun honestly.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
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  5. Fin-O

    Fin-O Initiated Club Member

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    :chuckle: Dan Marino was going to rape you!

    Epic!!!
     
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  6. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    LMAO- no! Why would you even say that? The thought had never crossed my mind. That's freaking hilarious!
     
  7. Fin-O

    Fin-O Initiated Club Member

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    HaHa, just hearing him offer you inside for drink, then immediately get irritated when your friends arrived....sounded a little defensive on his part.
     
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  8. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    He was an a-hole to fans most of the time....that's just how he was off the field since he didn't want to be bothered.

    There was a story in the papers back in the early 90's....I have no idea if it was true or not. The story claimed a kid was dying of cancer and the Make a Wish foundation worked it out for Marino to throw him a TD pass in Joe Robbie. So they haul the kid out on the field, they shake hands and pose for the cameras, then the kid goes strutting down the field to catch that pass. Marino throws a beautiful spiral that hits the kid in stride, the child dances into the end zone and everyone there cheered. Great moment.

    Evidently though, Marino had other plans and he was trying to get out of there as quickly as possible. So when the sick kid asked him a few minutes later, "Hey Dan, can you throw me another pass?" His answer was, "You had your pass kid." Then he walked away without thinking twice about it.

    As I said, I have no idea if the story is true or not....but the media went after him hard for it. The Marino I saw would definitely say something like that if you caught him off guard. He was usually drinking when I was around him though so I'm sure that changes a lot.
     
  9. resnor

    resnor Derp Sherpa

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    I'm loving each and every one of these stories. So freaking awesome. Thanks, Key!
     
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  10. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    Maybe Dan’s BS detector was going off after the kid “dying of cancer” dances into the end zone and then asks for another.

    Maybe the kid was genuine however, human nature being what it is, it’s a common scam to get access to celebrities.
     
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  11. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    One of the first celebrities I met was Madonna- the autograph collector saw me riding my bike through the neighborhood with my dad. He stopped and asked if I wanted to go meet Madonna, so I'm thinking he's talking about a concert or something....I begged my dad until he said yes. But then we end up in the parking lot of a diner in downtown Ft. Lauderdale and he tells me Madonna is in the private area in the back.

    He told me when she leaves the restaurant through the back door OR goes to the bathroom, my job was to be the cute kid who runs up and asks for the autograph. He gave me probably 8-10 large high quality photos and I was supposed to get as many signed as I could.

    About 10 minutes later, the back door opens and Madonna walks out with two other people....which is about the best you ever get with a major celebrity. So I'm hustling over there thinking a million things at once, Madonna looks at me and I completely freeze. LOL, I just stood there looking like an idiot- this was the mid 80's and she was still really hot. Madonna sees that I have the photos though so she comes over, asks me my name and signed 5 or 6 of them. Once she started signing, that's when Frankie jumped out of the car and rushed over....and that's when she stopped signing for me and hopped in her car. I completely see why he used us kids for this stuff.

    Anyway, we get back in the car and Frankie is super-happy....which I didn't understand because I completely messed up what he asked me to do (at least I thought so...the only goal was the autographs and I did fine there). So I can completely understand not being able to talk to celebrities; it took me a very long time to be able to just walk up to famous people and act normal. That's sort of why I was perfect though; a superstar saw a young kid too nervous to talk to them, so they'd hook me up.

    Frankie took care me me that night as well- he bought me a burger and a milkshake, plus gave me $50. I was 10 at the time so it was like hitting the lottery. He probably sold those images for $50+ each though, so we both won on that trip. I was instantly hooked to it...even if I couldn't put words together in front of a celebrity. I did the exact same thing a few weeks later with Stallone- I saw how big he was in real life and wanted to run the other way. He was super cool though- he talked to us for about 15 minutes and ended up giving me his sunglasses.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
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  12. Fin-O

    Fin-O Initiated Club Member

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    Can you imagine Dan (and 80% of athletes) if the present day media were to get ahold of some of these stories!!

    "Dan Marino, being investigated for offering alcohol in plastic straws to minor's"

    "Dan Marino's insensitivity leads to pain and suffering lawsuit"

    "Dan Marino is racist"

    Man, typing that I almost feel sorry for modern day athletes.
     
  13. djphinfan

    djphinfan Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    My story is facinating... I shook his hand in the locker room one time..



    what’d I tell you
     
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  14. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Seriously, social media made it a very different world. It seems like nobody has thick skin anymore and people are so quick to pile on bandwagons for someone doing something wrong. I almost think it's funny because you hear some crazy celebrity story where someone messed up, then "the good people" of the internet sink 10x lower attacking that person.

    I honestly hesitated telling a few of these since this is a much bigger Fins forum than I used to be on. I figured what the heck though, it's good entertainment for the slow season and it shouldn't be a secret that some of the folks we idolize will occasionally get drunk, act crazy and/or say something stupid.

    That's really the main thing I learned from all that autograph chasing- 99% of celebrities are just regular people that want to be treated normal. I've told you guys in the past that my best friend down in S Florida sees Marino just about weekly at the Publix in Weston. They both have handicapped kids and they just talk casually like two fathers- my buddy is scared to ever mention football since they have been friendly for years. I don't know if you'd call them friends, but Dan says, "Hi Ken" every time he sees him and asks about his daughter. So I think he's a pretty good guy when fans aren't harassing the crap out of him.

    You'd be amazed how many fans forget that their idols are actual people with regular feelings and emotions, plus all the regular stuff life throws at us. The fans I saw as a kid were always much bigger jerks than the celebrities....it's the rude fans that make them jerks in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
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  15. Surfs Up 99

    Surfs Up 99 Team Flores & Team Tua

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    Thanks for sharing, Key! Pretty cool childhood. I realize, you met Marino because of the autograph connection, etc., but any luck with Darius Rucker? They say he used to live in Marino's pool house. I usually don't get star struck, but he's a guy I really like. He seems like a good all around dude and has an amazing voice.
     
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  16. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Unfortunately no- I was in the Carolinas by the time he became a huge star. "Let Her Cry" from his Hootie years is one of my all-time favorite songs and I would have loved to meet him too. I've heard that he's very down to Earth and approachable though.

    My wife is a massive fan as well though and happened to meet him when he switched to country. Pretty neat story. She worked at Converse College and they do an outdoor concert every year for the students. She happened to run into him about an hour before the concert, said hi to him in the hallway and then went about her business. She didn't realize who he was until she saw him on stage that night- I thought that was pretty funny. That's like the only celebrity she's ever met in her entire life and she didn't even know it.

    If you're a fan, check out his episode on Undercover Boss- it was really cool and it lets you get to know him a little more. You can stream in on CBS or Direct TV if you have access to either of those; here's the episode preview-

     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
  17. Hiruma78

    Hiruma78 Season Ticket Holder Club Member

    what a wonderful idea for a thread, I love this kind of stuff, thanks thanks thanks to KeyFin:bless:
     
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  18. Bumrush

    Bumrush Stable Genius Club Member

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    I was involved in a charity event with the Miccosukee tribe. Dan Marino was at the event. I won a Dan Marino signed football. Dan Marino threw me the football in the middle of the event hall. I caught it. We shook hands and I told him I spent a majority of my youth idolizing him. He looked at me like I was a complete weirdo.

    That's my Dan Marino story!
     
  19. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    We used to go to Miccosukee all the time to play poker- the buddy Ken I mentioned (who sees Marino all the time) was a cop out there for years. I was actually training there to be a poker dealer when Hurricane Andrew hit...it stinks that didn't work out. For those that don't know, it was pretty much destroyed along with the rest of Miami and it took around a year to rebuild.

    I still tell folks I was a professional dealer for a week, even though I never actually worked a paid shift there. =)
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
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