Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Miami Fans and Legends Alike Honor Marino at Hall of Fame

Alone in my dorm room, I envisioned myself as the biggest football martyr that could possibly exist. Long ago I embraced the iami Dolphins football franchise, but last year the team let me down. I didn’t know anyone who understood what I was going through, since I knew no other Dolphins fans at Georgetown.

But all the frustration of last season was erased when one August day finally came, after five years of anticipation: Dan arino’s enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It didn’t matter to me that the ceremony would take place in Canton, Ohio. There was never any doubt in my mind that I was going to be there. Marino had been my childhood idol, always my favorite player on a team that I had fallen in love with when I was just four years old. This was his moment, and television would not do. I had to be there to applaud him in person.

The ceremony – held on a Sunday, of course – was truly a day for Dolphins fans. From the moment I arrived at the stadium, I was taken aback by a sight of which I had previously only dreamt: aqua and orange, the colors of the Dolphins, filled my view for literally as far and wide as I could see. No matter where I looked, I was surrounded by Dolphins fans. Number 13 jerseys were everywhere, but there was no shortage of ways to proudly display the team colors.

The scene inside the stadium was even more surreal. My field-level tickets meant that I was going to be sitting in a section that was mixed with Dolphins legends such as Mark Duper, Richmond Webb and Jason Taylor. Many years of television had made me familiar with their faces, but this was the first time I had ever seen any of these men in person.

Yet as close as these giants of the game were to me physically, the gap between us still seemed larger than life. It was unreal to be sitting such a short distance from the players – and especially the quarterback – that I had idolized for as long as I have loved football. I was just a few seats away from legendary wide receiver Mark Clayton, yet as exciting as that was, I was truly in awe of a man whose hands had actually caught passes from Dan Marino.

When I looked around the stadium, though, my heart was filled with a different set of emotions. For me and the 20,000 other Dolphins fans in attendance, this was not a vacation – it was a pilgrimage. For all of our differences in ages, hometowns and life stories, we were all at least part of one shared, ongoing journey.

I thought back to those days in my dorm, and I realized it was childish of me to imagine that I was the only one who had to suffer through their losing season. The faces of those who wore aqua and orange that day were the faces of more than just fair-weather fans. I saw men and women, grandparents, teenagers, and young children, and something inside me told me that all of them truly loved the Dolphins.

For most of us, the road to Ohio was not an easy one. Similarly, the Dolphins’ road has not been all too smooth lately, either. But regardless of how rough their terrain is in the coming seasons, I’m convinced that I won’t be the only one left driving on the Dolphins’ road.

Dan’s day brought Dolphins fans together in a way that no other event – not even a Super Bowl victory – could have. When the Dolphins finally win a Super Bowl, I’m sure that I will meet thousands of “fans” who came in at the last minute in order to jump on their bandwagon. The real fans, though, are the kind who have always supported their team no matter how bleak the outlook might have been – the kind who would make a trip to rural Ohio to give their franchise’s greatest hero the sendoff that he deserves.

When the going gets tough this season, I know I’ll only have to close my eyes and envision a sunny August Sunday to remember that there are thousands of other devoted Dolphins fans who are experiencing exactly the same emotions that I am.

Silly me, the poor Dolphins martyr. I can’t help but laugh as I imagine myself mired in last year’s misery.

Being a fan is truly as much a part of sharing in an extended community as anything else.

And that’s what I learned on my summer vacation.

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