As a young fan of 19 years, I could not help but notice in my first few months as a follower of the Phinsider that it appears to be a comparatively older crowd that frequents this blog. With this notion, I just thought I would share my story...
I was born in 1993 to a diehard Dolphins fan in my father, who I am named after. The Dolphins were the medium through which me and my Dad forged our earliest bond. 19 years later, I still haven't missed one Sunday. My earliest memory as a fan was meeting Dan the Man himself during a signing. The next was the 62-7 drubbing by the Jaguars in Marino's last game as a Dolphin. Outside the fleeting glimpses of success a stellar defense (and Ricky Williams) could muster in the early 00s, the majority of my memories of a Dolphins fan consist of the most erratic decade of quarterbacking in NFL history, a no-name WR in Greg Camarillo saving our season in OT from the bowels of historical embarrassment, and the 2008 season where Chad Pennington and the Wildcat had their respective swan songs. The rest is mired with mediocre seasons under the likes of Brian Griese, Gus Frerotte, AJ Feeley, and countless others. I witnessed a couple of the most puzzling coaching terms of recent memory in Nick Saban and Cam Cameron. Needless to say, it has rarely, if ever, been an easy road as a young Dolphins fan. Add in the fact I am a Jersey native (and surrounded in a sea of Giants and Patriots fans), and you might get a full picture.
Despite their shortcomings, I can honestly say I would not trade my experience as a Phins fan for anything. Sticking to my team as a young and impressionable fan, as many kids switched to popular teams (or emerged from the closet with Eli Manning jerseys), has taught me the values of perseverance and patience. You learn that sports is as much about what happens in your living room as it does what happens on the field. Bringing people together, sparking conversation and debate, and sharing in the ups and downs of a season with other fans are the essence of why we come back year after year. I appreciate the little things more: I can honestly say I have gotten more enjoyment out of seeing positives in some losses than some Patriots fans have while watching their team rout an opponent. I enjoy watching young players grow, and DEFINITELY have developed a sense of humor when it comes to my teams shortcomings. Most importantly, I have learned there is one thing any fan of any team has: hope, and how far that can go in enjoying a season.
As the most optimistic season in the entirety of my Dolphins fanhood begins to trickle in I must say I feel I have some good karma awaiting me 'round the corner. Although there is nobody more cautiously optimistic than a Dolphins fan, we seem to have a combination of direction, coaching, and personnel that I haven't seen in years, if ever in my lifetime (as many older fans shudder at the thought of that statement). Although I enter the season praying for the best, I know assuredly that even if we plunge into another decade of mediocrity, Tannehill enters the laundry list of failed QB experiments, and Philbin is doomed to simply be an offensive coordinator once again, I won't regret a day I spent as a Dolphins fan. Phins up, and I think I speak for everyone when I say these next 4 weeks can't fly by soon enough!