This is a retro-post. I put this online 31 May 2009 using the date it was originally sent out.
This was written for the fans of the Miami Matadors on my Matadors mailing list. I have corrected the spelling and re-formatted it for this blog, but it appears otherwise unedited. My Matador page still exists here: http://darsys.com/matador.html and it has lots of links, etc.
Hello Matador Fans:
I promised you all a special post on Tuesday. It’s Tuesday and here it is as promised. Sorry for the typos but I might have had just a bit too much to drink.
Over a month ago, I had invited the entire team to dinner at a date and time of their choosing. I didn’t hear back, and I was secretly disappointed, but I said nothing because I’m used to this treatment from the Panthers. Anyway, on Friday, April 2nd, Bob indicated to me that the team was interested and asked if the offer was still open. This morning he called me to let me know when and where. Part of my deal was that there would be no cameras, autograph hunters, etcetera.
I arrived at the Bimini Boatyard  in Fort Lauderdale this evening (4-6) at around 545pm. I was the first one there. At 6pm the first players arrived. By 630 most of the team had arrived along with the coaches and some of the staff. We had drinks. Around 645 we got a table for dinner.
I’m not going to ruin their evening, which I promised would remain private, by posting lots of details here. However I’ll give you a brief run-down. I sat at one end with Duerdin, Clancy, and Eon (which I learned is a Gaelic name).
The conversation was mostly hockey (duh), but we discussed odd meats such as caribou, other sports, and such. I also listened to the players tell stories to me and also to each other. It’s really clear that these guys really do like each other. It made me feel really good. The players can really eat. You have no idea how much a professional hockey player can eat and drink. Especially drink. Wow.
I want you to know that the players really did notice the few of us that were there every night. They know the real fans and they did appreciate it.
A few of the players had already left town, so they weren’t there for this event. And a couple were out due to injuries. Most of the team was there though. I was really surprised they all showed since it was entirely voluntary. I also have to say they’re really great guys: friendly, polite, and everything you don’t expect from many athletes.
It was a sincere pleasure and honour to be a Matadors fan this season, and I am sorry to see them go. As I type this I was thinking about the posts where all you guys said you cried when it was over, and I didn’t think I’d get that sad. But I knew I had this still coming, so it wasn’t really done for me. Now that it is, it’s my turn to be sad.
Some of us exchanged phone numbers and/or emails. I’m hoping I’ll continue to stay in touch with some of the players. I’d really like to tell you all more because I had such a wonderful time, but I promised the players this was a private event and I keep my promises.
At 930pm, as we began to break up, there was one last round of handshakes and mutual thank-yous. Then it was over, and I had to drive home. Alone and sad (and probably not a good idea either, but we’ll leave that alone).
Adieu mes amis,
5-31-09: I remember this event this morning and when I came back from seeing Up, I thought I’d dig it out and share it. It was one of the most awesome and memorable nights of my life. I had fun, I met some fantastic guys (some of whom I still randomly hear from).
 Bob Snyder, owner of the team
 Still in business so I hyper-linked it