It is with a mixed emotion (don't you love that as an opening?), that I announce my retirement, and the end of Dave's Bitchin' Look at the Miami Dolphins as you know it (more below).
I've been at this a long time. I started emailing friends (back in the early days of email) about my thoughts on the team as early as 1992. Then, when the web came along in 1994, I was all over it; and I started a formal website in 1995. So I am certainly one of the longest-tenured writers (and critics) of this team. And that also means that my career writing about this team is longer than Marino's career as a player (and vice president!). And I find it amusing that I made it through 8 head coaches in that time.
I wrote through some relative good times, and a fair amount of bad times. I used different mediums: I posted entries to message forums, wrote long-form articles, posted entirely new websites each week, and carried on a blog. I also hosted an internet radio show with Shed Dawg Mike for a while, and did a podcast both before and after that. I tried my hand at videos, created some flash files, and played with some new technology.
At the heart of it all was my love for the Dolphins. Along the way, I had some personal moments that I will always treasure:
- I got an email from someone at the Dolphins - before they started their own site - telling me how much they loved my site, To paraphrase, It's witty and we enjoy reading it
- The invite to the first "web weekend" (hosted by THE Miami Dolphins) was special, and the experience was great
- I got a chance to interview Larry Csonka. I enjoyed that thoroughly.
- Mike and I had a 90 minute interview with John Offerdahl that was so much fun.
- I got to meet and build a relationship a number of people who are associated with the Fins, including some former players
- Deadspin once did a review of blog sites for the NFL and called me "quite obviously insane"
Of course, there's a lot more, but to me, those are the major hilights.
I really did enjoy doing this over the years. It was fun to speak my mind and talk about how this team couldn't beat my grandmother.
But here we are, 16 years after I started a website. I always said I'd stop when the Dolphins won a superbowl. I realize now that I will probably be one hundred and twenty two years old by then. And so I decided to go out on my own terms.
A few observations about things I've seen in my time, that lead me down the path to hanging up my cleats:
- The dolphins have gone from good, to mediocre, to bad, to mediocre again.
- It seems clear that this team has a curse on it of sorts. Different owners, different leadership, different players. And still no success.
- We saw teams fall apart (anyone remember the December swoons?), some monster victories, and the agony of defeat - a lot (62-7 anyone? How about 1-15?)
- The passion died along the way for a lot of reasons (not the least of which was the performance ON the field); today this feels more like work
- The team takes itself too seriously, and I get the sense that the fans are in tune with that - when I say anything that strays from the positive outlook (even when its RIGHT, people react, rather than laugh)
- I have trouble even watching the games these days. The dolphins just don't matter to me the way they once did.
- The Dolphins have taken many of my (and other sites') good ideas and incorporated them into their website, so the uniqueness is lessened. (but then imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?)
- There are a number of good fan sites out there now, and even a few humorous ones
- And though records are made to be broken, Dan Marino's passing record falling made me realize just how elusive greatness is.
To me, all of these combined make me feel like its time; enough good reasons for me to stop doing this.
And besides, my mom kicked me out of her basement, and where else can I sit in my underwear and write my "uninformed opinion"?
I know some of you might miss me, and some of you will say things like "good riddance" and either way, that's fine. Its like the band Kiss used to say about themselves in the late 70s - "we're loved or hated, but never ignored" which is kind of the way I feel.
My thanks to the Dolphins for their graciousness. I mean, after all, I was occasionally harsh, yet they were always accommodating. I do appreciate the organization on the whole.
You may ask "what is to become of Dave? of the website? does he really like oatmeal cookies?"
Let me 'splain. No wait, there is too much. Let me sum up:
- DolphinBlog.BitchinDave.com (where this is posted) will continue to exist - a few other fans expressed an interest in posting comments, or "guest blogging." Rather than letting the blog simply disappear, we'll try that and see how that goes. But this is *my* last entry. Any further content will be from the new bloggers, and they are responsible for whatever appears. You'll see their names on the entry. I'll "moderate" it, so if there are issues, please let me know. Also, if you're interested in writing, drop me a line. I'll be glad to give you a chance.
- MiamiDolphins.BitchinDave.com is no more. I redirect automatically to the blog. But the "good" content has migrated to links on the blog. Want to listen to old podcasts, read about my grandmother, check out the entrants in the wanker hall, or ogle cheerleader pics from the past? Be my guest!
- Twitter and Facebook will remain as they are for now - any blog posts will be repeated there. I'll decide what to do with them later.
- As for me - about the time I stopped doing a Dolphins podcast, I shifted my podcast focus - I am currently producing a podcast about Disney World that I feel passionate about, and take pride in. If you're a Disney fan, you might enjoy it. Feel free to check it out at http://disneypodcast.net
- App development will continue for me. Please check out my iPhone apps at http://bitchindave.com/apps.
- And yes, I like oatmeal cookies
Not surprisingly, I will watch football - I still love the sport - but will take a broader view and watch games, teams, and players that interest me. Even so, I will still consider the Dolphins as my defacto favorite team, even if I don't follow them as closely as I once did.
That's a wrap on Dave's Bitchin' Look at the Miami Dolphins.
Thanks for tuning in, and for your support over the years.
In Disney parlance "now it's time to say goodnight to all our company...."
-- The Bitchin' One
"Hailing Frequencies Closed"