Thursday, April 26, 2012
The Pain of Loving a Loser
Three years later I did get some measure of satisfaction when Miami beat Satan's team (the Cowboys) in a 1978 regular season game. Having not learned about avoiding the fleeting joys of revenge, I used stencil art to write down the score of the game - in aqua and orange, of course - and handed out copies to all of the Cowboy fans in my middle school. The Cowboy fans pointed out that Dallas had won the Super Bowl a year earlier and that I was still waiting to see Miami win one.
In 1983 I was walking home from school in my junior year with the Hugo Daily News. I opened up to the sports page (there was no ESPN coverage of the draft back then) to see who the Dolphins had selected the day before. I recall exactly where I was when I uttered the words, "Wow, they got Marino." I was really excited at the prospect of Miami landing a great quarterback to follow in the footsteps of my childhood hero, Bob Griese (who sent me three different autographs while he was with Miami - a result of me calling him long distance back when unauthorized long distance calls would get you a beating from your mom...)
In 1984 the miracle seemed to have arrived. Miami got off to an 11-0 start, eventually going 14-2 with Marino passing for 5,084 yards and an incredible 48 touchdowns. The Dolphins destroyed everyone in the playoffs that year and caused me to lose my mind.
I was a freshman in college, 92 miles north of my hometown, but still in Cowboys country. Miami had beaten Dallas on Monday Night Football in December and I made sure when I got back to campus that all the Cowboys fans knew about it. In January I was was totally insufferable in predicting Miami would win the Super Bowl against the 49ers. People coming into my dorm room saw my bulletin board decorated as a shrine to Dan Marino, who, I was sure, could not be stopped.
49ers 38, Miami 16.
In about 7-degree weather my car broke down on the way back to my college. Then, when I finally got to my room at about 2am I discovered that the Cowboys fans had pulled down all of my Marino photos and replaced them with Polaroid photos of a sheep "going number two" on my bed.