Hello South Florida!
You probably read the title and wondered, “What the hell is this guy talking about?” Well before you pull out your maps and question how this is even possible, let me give you some back story.
My name is Brandon McFayden, I am 26 years old, and I am from Ottawa, Ontario. Growing up in Canada, I soaked up and absorbed American culture; the food, the film, the music, the sports. Everywhere you went and everywhere you looked, there was America. But I will be the first person to tell you, it’s not the same. It’s just a completely different feeling being in the land of the free and the home of the brave. You can see the patriotism on every person’s front porch as the red, white, and blue flag breezes gently in the wind. At an early age, I just felt different from other people about my identity and who I believe I truly am.
You’re probably expecting me to be a full blown expert and mad scientist about the sport of hockey, but I’m not. Although I grew up playing and watching hockey, my love for the true American sports of football, baseball, and basketball took over, and so did my passion for those games. And at the same time, my love and adoration for Florida took hold as well.
I can’t even recall how many times I’ve seen Scarface. Not just for the over the top violence, or the artistic performance of Al Pacino, but for the cinematography. You see, when I watched Scarface and I saw beautiful South Beach, Ocean Drive, and Pacino look so cool hanging out at the Fontainebleau, I became obsessed. From there, an even bigger wave caught my eye as I combed through the past: Miami Vice. I watched an interview from the 80’s where a reporter made a statement about everyone wanting
to be Don Johnson (or Sonny Crockett as he’s known in the show). The year may have been 2010 for me, but damn it I wanted to be him too! The pastel suits, the lingo, the unorthodox jokes, the cars, the music, the vibe, I bathed in it all. Quickly, I discovered a new home away from home, my utopia: Miami.
From there, it was a huge mixing pot of adoration and love for the city that branched out into sports I had played and studied since I was a kid. Don’t get me wrong, Miami is my go-to getaway destination and my ultimate vacation spot. But my love for the Miami Dolphins branched out from my initial love for the city as a young kid. My fin has always been up. I have battled with this team for so long, through thick and thin: Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown, Chad Pennington, Jay Cutler, Ryan Tannehill, and the list can go on for days. I wish I was around to see the biggest Miami Dolphin absolutely abuse the league in the air, Dan Marino. But with Marino in the advisory seat, Brian Flores at the helm, the suffocating defense and new additions to our wide receiver core, I believe the tide will turn and it will turn rather soon. Now I can’t say I’ve got the same love for the Marlins, but maybe one day I’ll get there.
My grandfather told me a story as a kid about his first visit to Yankee Stadium. He and his friends drove from Canada to New York City to watch Mickey Mantle play in the “House that Ruth Built” and said how it was such a great atmosphere to be in. He then proceeded to tell me how he and his friends got lost driving around New York and although he said he was a bit intimidated by this, he laughed as he told me. This story has always stuck with me and is where my love for the New York Yankees grew from. Since that time, I’ve been through it all in pinstripes. I watched as my Yankees blew a 3-0 lead to the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS. I watched as my Yankees took home their 27th World Series in 2009. I’ve watched them try to recover from the loss of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, and Jorge Posada ever since. 28 is on the way, but I can’t put a finger on when the delivery date is going to be.
I will never say I’m a sports expert or a former super athlete by any means, but I know the game. I’ve seen what wins Super Bowls. I’ve seen what wins the World Series. I’ve seen what wins Larry O’Brien’s. I’ve studied these games ever since I was a kid. I’ve personally played these games. I’m not going to call myself a superstar, but I know the journey and I know what it takes. I may be rather straightforward with my opinion sometimes when it comes to sports but with sports, you can’t beat around the bush. I like to tell it how it is. If a player is hot, they’re hot. If they’re cold, they’re cold. There’s no point in lying about it because then there would be two fools in the scenario.
I would like to thank Scott for giving me this opportunity to be a contributor for the South Florida Tribune and I can’t wait to meet the rest of the SFT team so I can pick their brains about the sports we all love. I cannot wait to share my love of the game with this team, the platform and hope to meet lifelong friends along the way. And finally, I can’t wait to share my love of the game with you: the reader, the couch coach, the fan.
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