MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 07: Flag bearers run with giant flags with the logo of the Miami Dolphins on them against the New York Jets at Dolphin Stadium on September 7, 2008 in Miami, Florida.Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images
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 he is also covered from top to bottom. This is Roger Avila, better known as the Dolfan-Maniac.
Avila is an imposing man who resembles Hulk Hogan in physique; he wears 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 displayed his passion for Dolphins football on his body for the better part of two decades. But just two years ago, he decided to display it on his vehicle as well. And it only cost him $3,000.
Dolfan Maniac Roger Avila poses with truck (Photo Credit: Niema Hulin)
What makes this particular vehicle extra special? Upon closer inspection, it tells the story of a team and one of its most avid fans. On both the driver’s and passenger’s side are four poses of Avila, in various states of excitement, displaying good old-fashioned Dolphin toughness. At the center of the truck is a list of Dolphin Hall of Famers like legendary coach Don Shula and quarterback Dan Marino. Continue toward the rear of the truck and you’ll find two more pictures: Avila pointing to another photo of himself touting the Dolphins’ 1972 perfect season and five Super Bowl appearances. It’s a welcome reminder since much of the team’s success is in the rear-view mirror.
Roger Aviva on his truck (Photo Credit: Niema Hulin)
“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 around 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. Another cartoon shows Avila 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 and have turned to a life of crime. He has turned his Dolphins vehicle 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 Dolphins football is eternal.
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.