Being a fan of South Florida sports teams is a microcosm of the city itself: The highs are extremely high, but the lows — oh, the lows — they are so low. Whether you're a fan of the Dolphins, Panthers, Hurricanes, or Marlins, supporting each team has
Here are the best and worst parts of rooting for each local team:
1. Miami Dolphins
The Best Stuff: Forever and always, Miami will be a football town. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Interest might sway from year to year, depending upon what the Heat is up to, but deep down in our hearts, the Dolphins reign supreme. No matter what, the Fins will have always given us 15 seasons of Dan "the Right Arm of God" Marino. The fact that nobody has been able to duplicate the undefeated season the Dolphins accomplished in 1972 is one of the cooler facts in sports.
The Worst Stuff: We can't quit them, even though no one would have blamed us if we did a long time ago. Dolphins fans could write an entire Taylor Swift album about what the team has done to them in just the past 20 years. Every other year, the Fins find a way to get on Good Morning America, and it's never for a good reason.
Being a Dolphins fan is quite the pickle. The quandary can be summed up with the simple abbreviation "AM" — "After Marino." There's everything that came before the 1999 Dolphins and everything that came after: no playoff wins in damn near 20 seasons and no Super Bowls since Michael Jackson was just the cute kid from the Jackson Five.
2. The Miami Hurricanes
The Best Stuff: The number five, as in five championships. Inventing swagger. Being the original bad boys of college football. The brotherhood and fraternity that is being a "pro Cane" in the NFL — or anywhere else — is unlike almost any other school's alumni.
The Worst Stuff: The glory days are quickly fading, and before you know it, the Hurricanes will be in a very Dolphins-like situation where the now is supermediocre and — as it becomes increasingly clear it will never be like the good old days — watching Canes squads not living up to those old standards will become increasingly frustrating.
When the Canes are winning, the fans show up. When the Canes are losing, the fans do anything else but support the team. That looks bad and it feels bad, but it will probably never change unless the team gets an on-campus stadium.
3. Miami Marlins
The Best Stuff: Two titles in their short history: That's impressive! Marlins Park is beautiful, and the experience at the ballpark is amazing. For a team so young, there have been an impressive number of future Hall of Fame players who have put on a Marlins uniform. The early days of Marlins baseball will always hold a special place in South Florida.
The Worst Stuff: All of those future Hall of Fame players get traded. Marlins Park will continue to cost Miami taxpayers money for decades. The Fish are the laughingstock of not only Major League Baseball but also sports in general.
Almost everything is bad. There was a time when things were not so bad. This is not one of those times.
4. Miami Heat
The Best Stuff: So much stuff is the best stuff. Watching this team from 2006 to 2014 was about as good a run as a sports fan could ever ask for. Miami won three championships in that span and, quite literally, transformed the NBA through the Heat's position-less "small ball" and "superteam" approach. Being a fan of one of the classiest franchises in sports doesn't suck.
Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem are like having two Dan Marinos at the same time. It's almost a given at this point that the Heat will, at the very least, make the playoffs. Other teams in town can't do it once, much less annually. The Ray Allen shot in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals is arguably the best moment in sports history.
The Worst Stuff: The best is behind Heat fans. It will never be as good as it was. Wade's son could win a championship with the Heat, and it likely wouldn't match what the Big Three era brought to Miami.
5. The Florida Panthers
The Best Stuff: You're invisible. Nobody judges you. When the Panthers are good, it's a feel-good story. When the Panthers are bad, it's a nonstory and nobody pays attention. Panthers games aren't crowded, and the BB&T Center is a pretty chill place to watch a game and a superconvenient location for Broward residents. Hockey is still a niche sport in South Florida, so it truly feels like you're part of a club when you support the Panthers.
The Worst Stuff: Never making the playoffs sucks. The team has no titles, and the closest thing to a championship at this point is a fairy-tale story that seems like it happened in the '50s. As with the Marlins, the greatest Panthers players seem to find their way onto opponents' rosters due to lack of funds. Having no national attention is great when you're losing, but when the Cats are winning and nobody cares, it's a bummer.
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