While waiting in line to park at Sun Life Stadium, you can see it: a 2009 Chevy Silverado completely wrapped from bumper to bumper in Dolphins logos beaming pride for the hometown team. As it parks and the owner gets out, you can see that the driver is also covered from top to bottom. Enter Roger Avila, better known as the Dolfan-Maniac. Picture an imposing man who resembles Hulk Hogan in physique wearing a white Dolphins uniform, aqua and orange goggles and a Dolphins helmet. Couple that with a painted face and a white beard and you’ve got a combination that’s pretty hard to miss. Instead of the traditional foam finger and Dolphins jersey, Avila has chosen to display his passion for Dolphins football on his body since 1994. But just two years ago, he chose to display it on his vehicle and it only cost him a mere $3,000.
What makes this particular vehicle special is that upon closer inspection, it tells a story. On both the driver’s and passenger’s side of the vehicle, there are four poses of Avila in various states of excitement displaying good old fashioned Dolphin toughness. At the center of the truck, there is a list of Dolphin Hall of Famers like legendary coach Don Shula and Dolphin icon Dan Marino. Continue your tour to the end of the truck and you’ll find two pictures, Avila pointing to another photo of himself touting the Dolphins greatest accomplishments such as the 1972 perfect season and the team’s five Super Bowl appearances. It’s a welcome reminder since a Superbowl birth for the Dolphins has long since been in the rear-view mirror.
“I don’t just tack on the bumper stickers when they’re winning and I don’t take them off when they’re losing,” says Avila. “Don’t forget, man. We got rings. We are champions.”
Walk to the back of the pickup truck and you’ll notice the rear window is emblazoned with a scripture and cartoon of Avila “Tebowing” in front of a cross while another cartoon of Avila is giving the touchdown signal. The scripture is from Philippians 2:12. Avila is a devout Christian and a life-long Miami native. Most would never know that 10 years ago he was addicted to cocaine and alcohol and had been a recreational drug user since the age of 17.
Avila now volunteers at Metro West Detention Center helping men who are also struggling with addictions to drugs and alcohol and have turned to a life of crime. He has turned his Dolphins mobile into his message and it sits in space W-22 in the Sun Life Stadium parking lot as a reminder to all that life goes on and that Dolphins football is eternal.
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Niema Hulin was born in Newark, NJ but raised in Lexington, South Carolina for the bulk of her formative years. In 2002, she moved to Miami after graduating from the University of Florida. Since then, she has learned to love the area and the Dolphins. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.