How an Inverness boy became a Dolphins fan

By BY MARK H. STOWERS FOR THE E-T,

Good Mornin’! Good Mornin’!

Well, well, Who Dat, Indeed!

The New Orleans Saints are travelling to Southern California this weekend for the right to represent the NFC in this year’s Super Bowl in Atlanta.

Now they’ll have to get past the recharged Los Angeles Rams team who’ve come back home and put together a Super Bowl-esqe season.

The two teams met earlier this season in New Orleans with the Saints coming out on top with a 45-35 win. Who dat, indeed. But I’ll put this statement on the table with full disclosure and the scorn that will certainly be forthcoming.

It doesn’t matter to me who wins that game, I’m an AFC fan and more importantly, a Miami Dolphins fan. Now, before you rip up your paper and start texting my boss to get rid of me and writing all kinds of nasty stuff on my Facebook page, hear me out. I’ve got a little story to tell. It was an ordinary January Sunday in the Mississippi Delta and the one thing little Delta boys love to do is ride in their daddy’s truck going anywhere. Well, except to Dr. Phillips to get a shot. But on January 17, 1972, I was an eight-year-old boy with no NFL leanings whatsoever, just riding around with my daddy on a Sunday afternoon.

It was always fun to ride around the farm and hopefully end up in town at the Co-op or parts store where I’d get a Coke and hopefully some Nabs.

But it was Sunday and none of those places were open and somehow we ended up at the late Bill Lang’s Airport.

He was our cropduster and the long, lanky late pilot was at his airstrip office with his feet up on his desk. Super Bowl VI was on a 12 or 13-inch black and white TV.

The Dallas Cowboys were taking on the Miami Dolphins that day. I don’t remember ever really watching an NFL game before that day.

But that day I did.

It was a fateful day for me as I became a Cowboy hater and a Dolphin fan for life. Now I didn’t hate the individual players for the Cowboys, heck who can hate Roger Staubach? But for some reason, I was drawn to that TV that day and I have no idea why, I started pulling for the Dolphins. They never led in the game. Down 3-0 after the first and 10-3 at half and then Dallas would put up a touchdown in the two remaining quarters for the 24-3 win.

The Dolphins became my team that day. I was hooked for life and I would follow the careers of Head Coach Don Shula and players Larry Csonka, Eugene “Mercury” Morris, Dick Anderson, Garo Yepremian, Earl Morrall, Don Strock and later John Offerdahl, Zach Thomas, David Woodley, Rickey Williams, Tony Nathan and of course, Dan Marino.

I grew to love the Dolphins through this miserable game. Yes, the next year they would do what no other team in the history of the NFL has ever done (or will ever do) – go undefeated through the regular and post season capping it with a Super Bowl VII win over the Washington Redskins. And the following year in Super Bowl VIII a win over Minnesota.

It’s another year without my Dolphins in the Super Bowl picture but there’s always next year, provided someone will convince Tom Brady to retire.

But I’m curious how kids become fans these days? Mine was an organic journey that has rooted a firm Dolphin fandom in my heart and soul replete with Dolphin Zubaz hats, shorts and long pants….lol…plenty of hats, sweatshirts and a Marino jersey that my youngest daughter loved wearing for Halloween. 

So, thanks, Mr. Bill Lang for helping make me a Dolphins fan and what the heck, Who Dat? Go Saints!...there’s always next year!

I’d always ‘preciate your comments here or over at Facebook, or you can tweet me @markhstowers ... See yah next week!

As a freelance writer, I’m working to grow my business and have created a GoFundMe (www.gofundme.com/markhstowers ) page to help with that. Please take a look and see if you can help. I’d greatly appreciate it!

A Rebel, a Statesman — or Fightin’ Okra — and even a Trojan, I’m the Sunflower County farm boy with no green thumb who longed to live in the big city, got his wish and now is working his way back to the farm.

A freelance writer, middle-of-the-road-conservative and wannabe fry cook, I look to bring native Sunflower County folks and businesses to your attention through my looking glass.

There are those of us that packed up Mississippi and took it with us to new destinations and neighbors. My area code may be 248 but my heart is all about 662 and Sunflower County.

There’s more about me at markhstowers.com.