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Why I’m a fan of the Miami Marlins

Or, how a boy from England fell in love with the Fish

MLB: Miami Marlins at Milwaukee Brewers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the refreshed Fish Stripes! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

First of all, what sets my Marlins story apart from most is that I was not born or raised in South Florida, or America for that matter.

My story starts with my parents, who first visited Miami on vacation in the early 90s, and then fell in love with the area. A few years later, they bought a vacation home to escape the perpetually dark and damp British weather.

Spending time in Florida over the summer months inevitably led to exposure to Marlins highlights on the local news, and interest in the team. That interest skyrocketed during the 1997 season when Marlins fever captured South Florida, and it resulted in Marlins pajamas for one-year-old-me and my very first Marlins game not long after.

Ever since, I have been obsessed with Marlins baseball. Each vacation visit to Florida would entail attending multiple home games. As soon as one game finished, whether the team won or lost, I would always ask to come back the very next day to catch another game.

My bedroom became a shrine to the team that I had fallen in love with, both in England and South Florida. While back home for the school year, my day would always start with waking up 30 minutes early to read up on the results of the game from the night before, and then filling the score in on my Marlins calendar.

I cannot explain my passion for the Marlins, or for baseball in general. Yes, games can drag on for hours and hours, multiple mound visits during one inning are tedious, and the Marlins (in my memory) lose more than they win, but baseball is my sport, and the Marlins are my team.

From the Opening Day barrage against the Nationals in 2009, to the inaugural game at Marlins Park, to Ichiro’s first home run with the Marlins while the crowd chanted his name, personally witnessing these moments of pure theater has given me memories that will last a lifetime.

The only other Major League park I have visited is Fenway Park, and while the history of the venue had me in awe, I did not feel at home like I do when I visit Marlins Park. That demonstrates my love for the Marlins in a nutshell, and despite the heartache from all the fire sales and losing seasons, I have stayed with the team and I will continue to do so, no matter what.

I have always dreamed of working for the Marlins from a very early age. After completing high school in England, I enrolled at the University of Florida in pursuit of a Sport Management degree in 2014. This fall, I will be attending the internship fair at Marlins Park with the hope of starting with the team in January.

Regardless of what my future holds, this team will always have a big place in my heart.

That is why I am a Marlins fan; tell your own story in the comments, or put it in a FanPost for a chance to win the sweepstakes!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. SB Nation Why Are You a Fan Reader Sweepstakes starts on 8:00am ET on May 25, 2017 and ends at 11:59pm ET on June 8, 2017. Open only to eligible legal residents of the United States, 18 years or older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, odds of winning, alternative method of entry, prize details and restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Vox Media, Inc.