There's a New York Times best seller called The Book of Awesome written by Neil Pasricha that's based on his award-winning website, 1000awesomethings.com. The concept of both the book and the site is simple: Pasricha writes every day about one awesome thing.
Covering topics ranging from the smell of coffee to the other side of a pillow to a checkout lane opening and you slide right in, Pasricha reminds readers about awesome things that everyone loves but rarely talks about. His approach is simple, obvious, and, most important, positive.
New Times is borrowing that idea, but instead of reminding everyone how awesome it is to take off their pants after a long day at work, we're going to point out some of the unsung coolest things in South Florida sports. Why? Because we need this — especially after that Dolphins game this past weekend.
1. The sight of a Dan Marino jersey. Think about a Dan Marino jersey. Close your eyes and picture one. Wasn't that delightful? Did you see the glowing orbs and hear the angels singing? Did you feel Dan touch your shoulder and whisper a message from your childhood pet?
I saw a Dan Marino T-shirt in Target the other day. IN TARGET. IN 2018! Marino hasn't played in 20 years, yet his work outfit is still being sold next to the Marvel T-shirts at Target. That's how you know he's a legend.
2. The Legend of Pat Riley. No matter what happens from here until he retires, Pat Riley's legacy in Miami is already set in stone: He's on the Mount Rushmore of local sports figures. Riley will forever be known as the man who took the Miami Heat from a fun little arts-and-crafts project to a globally renowned brand.
Riley has added clout to Miami sports like few others have ever done. He made people take the Heat seriously. Now the team is one of the most respected organizations in the world.
3. The feeling right before the first pitch of a Miami Marlins game. There's something special about the moments leading up to the first pitch of a baseball game — yes, even when the Marlins are 61-99. The mixture of silence and anticipation as the pitcher circles the mound before a first pitch is one of the most excellent moments in sports. Something about that first pitch brings everyone in the stadium back to that moment when we were kids with butterflies in our stomachs at a Little League game.
We might be getting weary of the Marlins being awful, but we'll never tire of the feelings we experience before a first pitch. It's a big part of what makes baseball special.
4. The player introductions at a Miami Dolphins game. It's Sunday. You just made it to your seat with an already half-gone overpriced beer and a cardboard box full of food you'd otherwise never eat. It's almost game time, and the announcer begins calling out the Dolphins' starters with what appears to be fire alarms following their names.
Dolphins pregame intros are one of the greatest feelings in South Florida sports. Nothing that happens afterward can ruin this emotion.
.@SAVELGBT is working tirelessly in the LGBT community to bring people together on the road to equality...grateful to spend time with them last week and honored to accept this award. pic.twitter.com/Tfw8OEtyS2— Kenny Stills (@KSTiLLS) September 18, 2018
5. Kenny Stills' work in the South Florida community. Kenny Stills is a tremendous wide receiver, but he's been a much bigger addition to the South Florida community since being traded to the Dolphins three years ago. Stills doesn't have to do many of the charitable things he does off the field, but he does them anyway because he's a stand-up dude.
America knows Stills for his ongoing protests against police brutality and racial inequality during the National Anthem before Fins games, but most people don't pay enough attention to what he does every other day of the week. Miami is lucky to have him.
6. The U. Often imitated but never duplicated, there's only one school people are referring to when they say "the U": the University of Miami. You know how they say the NFL practically owns a day of the week? Well, Miami practically has a copyright on the capital letter U.
Throwing that U up will always be unique to UM, and it's one of the best traditions in sports. It's a Miami thing — others wouldn't understand.
7. Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem being teammates one last time. Like two long-lost lovers, Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade somehow found a storybook ending to their long love affair. After flings and flirts with two other franchises, Wade is back in Miami for his last season, and, luckily, Haslem is still around to be his teammate one last time.
Since 2003, Miami Heat fans have grown used to seeing No. 3 and No. 40 play huge parts in their favorite team's success. In 2018, they'll have one final chance to watch Wade and Haslem play basketball together. But as we saw last week when they opened a pizza joint together, they'll be a part of the community together for a long time.
8. Miami versus Florida State. This Saturday, UM and FSU will meet for the 63rd time. Miami leads the series 32–30, which makes a lot of sense because it actually feels like the two teams have played 500 times and the series is tied 250-250.
Of all the rivalries in South Florida sports, Canes-Seminoles might be the most storied. What makes this rivalry different from others is there's a brotherly respect. UM fans respect FSU. FSU fans respect UM. It's a little-brother/big-brother kind of fight, and the teams take turns playing each role. It's a special day when these schools meet on the football field — almost a holiday really. Saturday marks the 63rd time we'll get to experience one of the most special regular moments in South Florida sports.
9. The Miami Dolphins' undefeated 1972 season. (In extreme Michael Buffer voice.) Annnnnnnd STILL champions of the
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Think about it: Every team in the history of the NFL has lost at least one game per season except the 1972 Dolphins. It's tough to wrap your head around that achievement.
10. The Marlins' home-run sculpture. Hands off, Jeter. Although the Marlins' new bossman hates the home-run sculpture, it's one of us now. The sculpture stays. Though Marlins Park replaced the beloved Orange Bowl, which would have made this list had it not been demolished, the sculpture that sits in center field is a nice perk in the tradeoff.
Baseball in Miami isn't known for many positive things. The home-run sculpture is one of the few. People love it because it's just crazy enough to be "Miami." We'll claim this lovable monstrosity as our own.