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Growing up a Dolphin Fan
Guest Columnist Stu Pace offers his thoughts as a life long Fin fan!
I was born in 1961. At the ripe old age of 7 I became a Miami Dolphins fan. In New Jersey. I became a fan because at the time, my favorite television show was Flipper. Why? I don’t know, I just always liked the actual mammal. My Dad must have had a game on one Sunday afternoon (though I am sure he was asleep-he always was startled when the channel changed by one of the three kids) and I was passing through the living room when I noticed that Flipper, yes, my Flipper was on TV. In an end zone. At a football game. Retrieving field goals and extra points. I sat down. It was 1968. I was sold.
Now, back then the merchandise for the NFL was, at best, nonexistent. You would see a kid on the block with a Giants or Jets, or maybe a Steelers shirt walking around. But a Miami Dolphin shirt? Nowhere to be seen. Thankfully, my grandparents lived in Florida (Dad was from New Smyrna) and my grandmother was able to buy and mail a Miami Dolphin shirt and winter coat to me for Christmas a year later. Well, suffice it to say, I was proud of wearing my aqua and coral. I collected the cards; I collected the little helmets that IHOP used to see for a quarter. I still have them, though they are mostly shells of their former selves from being slammed into the wall one too many times.
A few years later, on a Christmas Day, I sat in my Aunt Marie’s house…alone…watching the longest game ever played. Garo. Yes!
And then we were perfect. And then we were better than 72 in 73. And we were always relevant. And then some kid my age came out slinging the ball for us and made history. This was before satellite so I can’t say I saw many games. But when I could see the game, I watched. Oh he was special. My wedding included warnings to my wife not to interrupt my Sundays. My glorious Sundays watching the Dolphins.
And then Dan and Don went away. It’s like Game of Thrones….a long winter.
Zach and Jason couldn’t save the team. And the awful news that Jimmy was coming, and then Parcells. ARGH!!!!! What is happening to my franchise???? What horrible thing did I do to deserve this? Then Wayne sold to Ross. And Ross screwed EVERYTHING up that he touched. WHY, oh god, WHY DID YOU BUY THIS FRANCHISE??? Then comes Bullygate! Kill me. The jersey I once wore proudly everywhere I went now brought snickers and jokes. So difficult to be a Dolphins fan. But I never waver. I buy a Tannehill jersey. Why, because I am optimistic that like the economy, the Dolphins will return.
There is a little Florida sunlight here now. Will Ross bring Dan back to be the “Owners’ eyes”? I would like that. Let Aponte and Hickey report to him. Let him be Ross during his absence. Let Dan the Man bring good publicity and integrity back to this team that has been devoid of leadership since Shula was pushed away. I won’t take off my jersey…ever…but let me wear it again with pride and dignity.
Let me be 7 again.
Be sure to check out Stu’s Youtube page where he and his buddy Steve discuss the NFL each week!
Electric Football Show
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