A Five-Step Program to Regaining Trust in the Miami Dolphins

A Five-Step Program to Regaining Trust in the Miami Dolphins
photo by Michele Eve Sandberg

Hold onto your butts, South Florida — the Miami Dolphins are almost definitely not bad. They might not be good, but after a four-game winning streak that has swooped down and saved their season from the fiery pit of mock-drafts-in-November hell, we can pretty much guarantee the Fins aren't that bad. Making this not-so-bold assumption might not be reason for most fan bases to celebrate, but for Dolphins fans, saying out loud the Dolphins don't suck is the first step to recovery.

So let's do that right now. Everyone together, speak the words for your own ears to hear: The Miami Dolphins do not suck. Didn't that feel good? You sort of knew that already, but saying it aloud is a huge step forward in meeting the Dolphins halfway.

Letting the team back into your circle of trust is a five-step process. Let's go over it together.

A Five-Step Program to Regaining Trust in the Miami Dolphins
Michele Eve Sandberg

1. Honesty

Being honest with yourself as a fan doesn't mean admitting you're honestly crazy for falling for this team's gut-punch routine again. Actually, it means looking at the Dolphins' performance in a vacuum and realizing they are definitely a team that can make the playoffs in 2016, even after a horrendous 1-4 start.

The quicker you come to terms with this and open yourself up to being hurt again, the more fun you'll have while watching the last half of the season. You might be disappointed again, but that wouldn't be any different from anything that has happened in the past decade. Why not live it up while you can and enjoy the run?

A Five-Step Program to Regaining Trust in the Miami Dolphins
Michele Eve Sandberg

2. Hope

Now that you've dealt with the past, you can look forward to the future. Let hope fill your heart, and envision what a Dolphins playoff appearance might look like. Imagine it in color, not black-and-white, even though it seems like that's how long it's been. Think about all the younger Dolphins fans who don't know the hurt you've been through since the '70s. Think about how happy that would make them. If you can't hope for yourself, have hope for them. Nobody deserves the hurt you've endured.

Having hope that the Fins can make the playoffs this season doesn't make you a sucker; it makes you alive. Live! Breath in the NFL excitement you've been missing for what seems like forever. Drink the Miami Dolphins Kool-Aid!

A Five-Step Program to Regaining Trust in the Miami Dolphins
Michele Eve Sandberg

3. Faith

Once you achieve hope, faith comes next, and it's not easy. How do we know it's not easy? Because we are Miami Dolphins fans, that's how. Having faith that our team will make the playoffs is like having faith that Donald Trump will eventually release his taxes. Don't hold your breath.

It's time to bypass the exit that reads "hope" and get off on the one that reads "expect" because there is no reason to believe the Dolphins can't make the playoffs — other than all of those reasons you've collected your entire life. Forget those! Live in the now!

A Five-Step Program to Regaining Trust in the Miami Dolphins
Michele Eve Sandberg

4. Courage

What's the step beyond believing the Dolphins don't suck? Believing they won't suck after the next loss. It's easy to fall back into discarding another Dolphins season as trash the moment something doesn't go their way, but it's much harder to prevent yourself from chalking it up to the norm and believe it's like a bump in the road.

This is easier said than done. Chances are if you make it to this step this season, you'll find it difficult not to fall back into old habits when the Dolphins inevitably lose to the Buffalo Bills like they always... DAMMIT! It's a process. We will work on this together.

A Five-Step Program to Regaining Trust in the Miami Dolphins
Michele Eve Sandberg

5. Positivity

This step is obviously the hardest one in regaining your trust in the Dolphins, but it's the most rewarding as well. Positivity, in this sense, means being aware that it's possible the Fins might not make the playoffs but, when it doesn't seem likely, staying positive anyway.

This is an awareness few Dolphins fans can claim at this point. We've been stepped on. We've been kicked while we were down. There is no reason to expect us to be positive about our team anymore, but if we can find it in our hearts to be positive, that's what makes a respected fan base. Look at the Chicago Cubs — they waited 108 years. Sure, they bitched about it a ton, but they always believed.

We fans who are willing to reopen the lines of communication and believe in this 2016 team, sans judgment over past failures, just might find ourselves enjoying the season much more than in previous years.


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