One birthday present Dylan Wolpers received last year just keeps on giving.
The Houston wine salesman celebrated his 26th birthday with a Dynamo home game against Minnesota United in the U.S. Open Cup on June 18 last season. He didn’t think much of it; he goes to nearly all Dynamo matches.
Wolpers’ girlfriend, Veronica Stark, organized a “Happy Birthday Dylan Wolpers!!!” written message to appear the video board at BBVA Compass Stadium. Their season-ticket rep said the message would appear in 60th minute of the game and was expected to be gone in a flash. Again, not a big deal.
Wolpers laughed at those expectations Friday.
The birthday wishes not only stayed on the stadium video board but interrupted the online stream of the U.S. Open Cup game for more than a few seconds. In Minnesota, Loons fans were puzzled and perturbed at the interruption but soon were adding their own well-wishes to a stranger.
Then, when Houston and Minnesota played an MLS game at Allianz Field in May, the clubs unofficially nicknamed it the “Dylan Wolpers Derby.”
Now, the Dynamo and Loons will play again in the U.S. Open Cup’s round of 16 in Houston on Tuesdaym June 18 — Wolpers’ 27th birthday.
“We play the same team two years in a row on my birthday, especially under this circumstances?” Wolpers asked. “Sure enough. It was like it was meant to be.”
Last year, Wolpers thought it was odd his birthday message stayed on the video board in Houston for more than a few seconds. But he didn’t know it had been accidentally streamed and went viral until he met his brother at a taco stand after the game.
“They’re talking about you on Reddit,” Drake Wolpers told him. Dylan checked it out and enjoyed the banter, but again, thought the meme would be forgotten soon enough.
In May, the Dynamo embraced it so much they made a jersey with Wolpers name on it and tweeted it on game day. United also has run with it on social media and in real life.
United supporters made a banner for the game that read, “It’s our birthday now, Dylan Wolpers.” The Loons did make it their day with a 1-0 victory over the Dynamo on May 25.
Wolpers and Stark celebrated the game with a cookie birthday cake and blue frosting that read, “Happy Dylan Wolpers Derby Day.” But once the Loons won, Wolpers looked sad as he took a knife, scraped off “happy” and ate it.
Wolpers is playing along. “I love it, especially the Minnesota fans,” Wolpers said. “They have been absolutely incredible. … I never in a million years would have figured this is how a birthday wish from my girlfriend would have turned out. It’s something that we’re having fun with.”
After Thursday’s Open Cup game was announced, Wolpers was telling some co-workers about these strange circumstances. One colleague didn’t believe it.
“He google-searched it and found a handful of images of me and some Minnesota-related stuff,” Wolpers said.
“You weren’t lying,” his co-worker, Travis Finch, acknowledged. “You’re kind of internet famous.”
“It’s weird how it works out,” Wolpers said.
It’s not fading away, either. The Dynamo have asked Wolpers if he would be willing to arrive at the stadium early Tuesday. They have some promo events they would like him to be a part of.