Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Why I Loved The Dolphins Win
Sunday saw the Miami Dolphins win their first game of the 2007 NFL season to avoid the possibility of being the first team to go 0-16 in the history of the league. It was an amazing evasion of futility, and while a lot of people thought the celebrations got out of hand, I thought it was a great story. However, my favorite part of the win was not the Dolphins avoiding a completely defeated season, it wasn't the undefeated '72 Dolphins being on hand for their 35th anniversary, it wasn't any of those big stories. My favorite part of that whole game was the man that caught the 64 yard touchdown in overtime to win the game: Greg Camarillo.
Most people have no idea who Camarillo is, and seeing as how half the Dolphins are no name players due to massive injuries to the starters I'm not that surprised. But I've known who Greg Camarillo was since I was in middle school. He's the son of Susan Camarillo, a woman who worked at my middle school as a counselor, and who I knew very well for three years. Here's what I know of her son's story:
He went to Menlo-Atherton High School, right down the road from where I went to high school in Atherton, California. He went on to college at Stanford, where he walked onto the football team just as the Tyrone Willingham era had ended, the coach bolted for Notre Dame, and the Buddy Teevens & Walt Harris tenures began. Camarillo played so well at tight end that he was given a scholarship for his later years on the team, and was given a fifth year of eligibility due to injury. After completing his college career, he ended up on the practice squad for the San Diego Chargers, and that was the last I had heard of him until Sunday when I watched him take a pass and run all the way down the field to give the Dolphins their first win in almost a year.
It's extraordinarily satisfying to know his story; to have seen someone take a different route into a meaningful place in the NFL. Camarillo didn't get a scholarship out of high school football, didn't get drafted, didn't have anything handed to him in any way to give him a chance to shine, but he still carved a place for himself in a way many players who have coasted through to a professional career haven't been able to. Yes, the Dolphins suck, and yes, when the starters come back from injuries Camarillo will most likely be headed back to the practice squad. But there's no way fans in Miami will forget the players responsible for keeping them from utter humiliation in the 2007 season. Greg Camarillo's name will be remembered, and I think he's very deserving of that.