October 15th, 2012
From the Cheap Seats
Special Edition – A fan amongst the fans
This is a special edition of From the Cheap Seats. Many of you know that my purpose with this column is to bring out a different perspective than the ones you read from other sportswriters covering all the X’s and O’s of the game. In case you didn’t know that, my articles are written from a fans perspective. I could care less about statistics; I love my teams and like to talk with my readers like we were sitting across the table from each other in our favorite sports bar drinking our favorite cold beverage.
But this article is highlighting one particular fan that I have yet to meet in person but I have gotten to know online through Facebook and one
of the many Cardinal fans that I consider my friends. The average person might not know who Dino Pena is, but if you are on Facebook talking amongst Cardinal fans most will probably know who Red Rage is. The reason why I chose this young man as a subject of this article is because of his passion for the Arizona Cardinals and the excitement that had been building for weeks if not months for his trip to Arizona and to see for the first time live and in-person his first Arizona Cardinals game.
I think we can all relate to that experience and the first time that we took in a Cardinals game at their new stadium and the excitement that that entailed. That is an aspect of professional sports that I truly enjoy, although we may be adults we can still be kids at heart and have that excitement of merely walking up to the stadium. But before Red Rage could go inside, he had to make the rounds to a lot of the other Cardinal tailgaters out of the parking lot. Trust me on this; this is an experience you do not want to miss. I’ve included with this article pictures that he took at the stadium of his experience so that you can have an idea of the excitement that he shared with us.
In my time of getting to know Dino over the past year, I thought it was very cool of his love for the Arizona Cardinals and yet living hundreds of miles away in Albuquerque New Mexico. We all know that New Mexico doesn’t have any professional teams and as a sports fan, it can be difficult to be fulfilled with your sports experience by watching it on TV because we all know there’s nothing like a live game. But people are where they are, and this is why I wanted to do an article on him, so that we may highlight his vacation and give them something to remember us by here in Arizona. Because I feel it is very important that Arizona Cardinals fans unite nationwide as Cardinal Nation. The only thing I couldn’t control was the game itself and as you will read in my article on the Arizona Cardinals for this week, it was a very exciting yet frustrating game.
Dino’s trip began on a plane flight from Albuquerque to Phoenix with his fiancée Amery, his friends Tracy with them, Dean and Wayne also made the trip as well. Dino was 40 years old and has three children, Autumn Day – 19, Valentino – 20 and Porscher – 23.
After spending a couple of nights in Phoenix making the rounds to places like the SandBar, Dino in his Red Rage gang got ready to make
their way to the stadium. It didn’t take long for Dino to experience what we all have done at some point at University of Phoenix Stadium which was sensory overload. The sheer masses of people milling about outside the stadium made it almost impossible for him to meet up with the other Facebook friends he had spoken to for months. But he did get to meet a lot of other Cardinal fans and had the opportunity to share a few cold ones he finally made his way into the stadium.
It was there that day and those eyes were fixed wide open and took in the awe of the stadium that he has seen so many times on TV, live and in person. While interviewing the Dino, I couldn’t help but laugh when he described walking into the stadium and seen the giant Red Zone sign. He went on to tell me that his knees actually got weak and had to balance himself against the railing while he took it all in. I’m sure that experience will stay fresh in his mind for quite a while but that wasn’t the only experience. Is he found the entrance to the stadium as he was walking in here the chance to snap a few shots with some cheerleaders, which who in their right mind would pass up? By the mother and her young daughter was there at the game and they commented to him how much they liked his outfit and would he mind if they took a picture with him. Dino said that he didn’t want to ruin the experience for them by telling them that this was his first game ever but with the very thankful heart he posed with them and welcomed them.
This cool thing about being an Arizona fan that are fan base is growing to the point where we no longer look to be like other fans in other cities but we are carving out our own identity and I really like what I see. Dino felt as I did about the outcome of the game but still did not allow his experience to be overshadowed by a loss because going to a Cardinals game means so much more than just a game.
In talking with him I also suggested another opportunity to experience all of what the Arizona Cardinals bring to our state by taking in Card’s Camp in Flagstaff for next season. Dino did tell me that it was his desire to come here at the start of the season to check that out but couldn’t get off of work but I encouraged him to go ahead and start making plans to check it out in 2013 because this event continues to grow out of control and literally takes over all of Flagstaff. This is a must-see for any Cardinal fan.
I went on to talk to him for about another hour after the interview for this article and just talk football and talked about what it means to be a Cardinal fan. It truly is becoming a family environment where we genuinely care for each other and what’s going on in our lives. I’ve said that these are the formative years for the Arizona Cardinals because we’ve had our tough sledding but what this franchise is evolving into is beyond what even the ownership of the Cardinals had envisioned. So Dino will be heading back to Albuquerque by the end of the week but it’s a good thing that you don’t need luggage for all the memories he’s taking back with him.
If the Cardinals make it to the playoffs he is planning a return trip to experience what it would be like for a home playoff game here. Let’s hope that he needs to make that sort of planning because we all want to see the Cardinals playing in the postseason.
Dino’s last comment to me was addressed to the Arizona Cardinals fans. He said that though outsiders wearing other teams jerseys have
moved in don’t ever lose your faith in the Cardinals and for this fan base to grow strong because this is a red and white state and to be there when the Cardinals are on top once again.
This is the cool part of my job to get the interview the average everyday fan that most times only gets to see his favorite team play on his TV at home. Dino doesn’t have the luxury of living in the city that has professional franchises and because of that, must endure a heavy influence of Bronco, Cowboy and Raider fans. We’ve all been there before but it’s a new day in Arizona and a long time faithful Cardinal fan has gotten the opportunity to experience his favorite team with his favorite fans. So if you are one of the Facebook faithful as I am, hang tight something tells me that the Red Rage will be back before the end of the season and will do our best to get together then.
Thanks Red Rage for being the fan and the man that I knew you were and thank you for sharing a small part of your life.
Let me know what you think about the article I leave a comment below and again thank you for your continued support.