A Futile Love? by Rachel Frick Cardell

A Futile Love?

By Rachel Frick Cardell

When I was in second grade, my parents decided to get rid of our television. Since at the time television was the only source for watching sports, I grew up never really watching them or developing a love for a particular team. So, on our wedding day, in the throes of young love, I vowed to root for my husband’s sports teams. Unbeknownst to me, loving my husband’s teams would prove to be futile over the decades. Every spring he gives his heart to his beloved Baltimore Orioles and every fall he dusts off the bruised, battered remains of his heart and hands it over to the Miami Dolphins.

For those who do not follow baseball or American football, let me assure you of the futility of this love. Since the last time the Orioles won the World Series in 1983 (39 years ago, and five years before I met my husband) they have made the playoffs just five times, and lost in the second round four times and the first round the fifth time. So over four decades we have won four post season games in baseball. Period. In 2021, one headline read, “The Orioles Have Been Legendarily, Historically Awful.”

As for the Dolphins… sigh. The Dolphins are the only team to be able to boast a perfect season. That was a half century ago, almost 20 years before we married. In the last two decades, they have made it to the post-season twice. Let me do the math for you: we’ve seen post-season in football once a decade. And we have won exactly zero post-season games.

In sum, between baseball and football, we’ve celebrated four postseason game wins in the 31 years of our marriage.

In the last 30 years, I have learned a few positive things about futile love.

■ No one can deliver a bigger upset and more joy to fans than the last place losers. Every time the Dolphins defeated Brady and his Patriots in Miami in December it brought much celebration to our house. Not a successful post season game, but still, a celebration.

■ It’s easy to gloat with fellow fans when your team consistently wins. At least seeing Yankee and Patriots fans over the years, it has looked that way to me. But when you see another soul wearing your team’s gear despite years of losing, there is a rightgeous camaraderie. You know this person isn’t a fair weather friend, but one who will stick by you in the stormiest of times. So I give a shout out to Brian D., a devoted O’s fan at SUNY O whose Orioles cap always makes our day brighter.

■ It’s easier to join post-season game gatherings when your team isn’t involved. There’s no awkward moments when you find yourself nose-to-nose with a neighbor defending a ref’s call in favor of your team; you can just be supportive and say, “Oh yeah, you were TOTALLY robbed!”

■ A losing franchise can teach youth the importance of history. My daughters still brag about “our” Dolphins team having the only perfect season, which happened 25 years before they were born!

■ Every season brings fresh hope and fun, regardless of the outcome.

So maybe the real lesson is that love is never futile for it always finds a way to reward. And not for nothing, the Orioles aren’t in last place right now and have a really reasonable shot at post-season play (ask Brian if you don’t believe me).

And just maybe the Dolphins will turn our current hot mess into a winning season?

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