Pre-season football: it's not all sweat and torture. Tony Sparano showed his softer side yesterday when he canceled practice and took his hard-working little Dolphins to the movies to see "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" (tagline: "surprisingly not a Mike Dee biopic").
“When you see 66 players sprinting out of the bubble like they were a kid at Christmas," Sparano said, "I think it was pretty good for them.”
It wasn't the first time the bubble belched forth a shrieking, happy brood in the midst of the pre-season. A year ago, Sparano surprised the team with a trip to see “The Express,” a biopic of the first African-American to win the Heisman, Ernie Davis.
“Last year [the choice of films] was a little bit easier, that was a little bit more relative to what we’re trying to do,” Sparano said. “This thing here, I figured there'd just be a lot of things blowing up and all those things. It had a nice-looking woman in it for them, so I think all those things probably helped."
Or, maybe not.
Of course, Smith was quick to add he was "hella happy we saw the movie today," but one does wonder: what should the Dolphins have seen? If barrier-breaker Ernie Davis ushered in an expectations-shattering season last year, does a childhood-desecrating G.I. Joe film doom us all to another season longing for the early '80s Dolphins along with early '80s cartoons?
At least we can be thankful Sparano didn't depress the oft-injured Chad Pennington by taking him to see "The Time-Traveler's Wife," in which a physical condition keeps a man popping in and out of the life he loves only to have frostbite claim his feet and eventually kill him.
Perhaps next year, the Dolphins should take a page from the Williams sisters' playbook and write their own inspiring screenplay. Tony Sparano, the gruff, old-school coach who likes red meat, anger, and elastic waistbands, can be played by Tony Sparano. Chad Henne, the Michigan-bred, unproven backup who must eventually take over the team, will be played by Chad Henne. With any luck, Fred Astaire comes back to life to make Stephen Ross' sing-along seem charming, and the only person who dies in the end is Nick Saban. Playing himself.
Janie Campbell is glad there wasn't a "Brigadoon" revival playing anywhere, lest a viewing indicate the Fins will win another pair of Super Bowls -- but not for 100 years. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the Internet.