It was 1994, the year of Ace Ventura and Forrest Gump. I was seven. Both movies had a profound impact on my highly impressionable mind. During the summer, I watched Forrest Gump daily—seriously, once every day. I eventually felt so inspired by the film that I decided to bring the VHS case of the film to a barber shop. I gave the barber the case and showed him the different photos of Forrest that had his head at different angles. I then allowed the barber to duplicate Forrest’s haircut on my seven year-old head. It didn’t work out how I had planned. There was a deranged quality to the haircut that instantly made me realize I needed to find a hat I really liked.
1994 was also the first year I would play in a youth football league. I hated football when I was five. I hated it because I didn’t understand it. I just knew it got my dad’s total attention. He would sit there, not blinking, watching every play and suffering through every commercial. Then the day came when I happened to catch my dad watching a Detroit Lions’ game. There was this silver blur with blue streaks dashing all over the field. It didn’t stop until it reached the endzone. That’s when I realized it wasn’t a blur, but a man. It was Barry Sanders.
After that, I was hooked. It was such a rapid and severe obsession that when I ended up renting Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, I came away at the end of it with a favorite team and player. I was a Dolphins’ fan from that point forward and Dan Marino was the man. I remember carefully scanning the credits and pausing the VCR to get the spelling of his name, which in hindsight was a really strange thing to do. I think I did it so I could ask my mom to get me his jersey for my birthday. Nevertheless, it was Ace Ventura that made me a Dolphins’ fan. It also made me want a pet dolphin, but apparently that’s illegal—another dream killed by the law.