“What does MFFL mean?” I’m often asked when sporting one of my many shirts with the iconic logo.
My answer? “If you have to ask, then you don’t need really need to know!”
In all seriousness, being a MFFL is part of who I am. Ask anyone; “Dorothy? Oh yeah, she all about the Mavs.”
When did I fall in love with the Mavs, you ask? Well, my love affair with my beloved Mavs (my nickname for them) began way, way back, sometime in the 80s’ – yes, the 1980s.
I was working part-time while in high school and college at UNT-Denton for a firm called D&L Security. They are still around today. I worked at Reunion Arena – the original home of the Dallas Mavericks – and home to their first loyal fan base – the Reunion Rowdies.
I ushered and worked security and got the chance to see the home team up close and personal. That was when my real love affair with the Mavs began.
As a native Dallasite- proudly born and raised some 48 years ago -you may say, ‘Sure, it’s easy to root for the home team.’ Not necessarily. Just ask my older sister, who lives and breathes the Miami Heat, or the countless people who show up to a Mavs vs. Spurs game wearing – are you kidding me? – Spurs gear? Surely ALL those people in silver and black did not drive down from San Antonio. But that’s another story.
No, my love affair with the Mavs was not born purely out of being a Dallas native, although it helped. No, our love affair began at Reunion Arena as I checked tickets, pointed people to the nearest restroom and watched an eclectic group of athletes play my favorite sport – the game of basketball.
That group included the “superstars” of their days: “Ro” Blackman – cool as ice who became a Mav only because Kiki Vandeweghe didn’t want to be.
(On behalf of MFFL’s everywhere, thank you Kiki); Mark Aguirre – one of the best and most misunderstood athletes to ever wear a Mavs uniform and their first NBA All-Star; the original Custodian, Brad Davis; and smooth-as-they-come Derek Harper.
Other players of that time included the massively talented Roy Tarpley who just couldn’t, well, okay I’ll say it, stay away from drugs, and the always-smiling Sam Perkins who, today, could Rival Ray Allen from the 3-point line.
That early Reunion group held it down as best they could. And once they got the right players together, they began to make a splash in the league. I was hooked. This was my team. The Dallas Mavericks with their awesome green jerseys and player Tees. This was the team that stole my heart. I was in love with the atmosphere, the energy, the excitement, the potential, the Mavs.
Like any love affair, we’ve had our ups and downs over the years.
Ups like the new owner – wonder-boy Mark Cuban – new digs – the move to American Airlines Center, and downs – like the years when we won only single digit games the whole year, the days when you could literally GIVE away Mavs tickets. I was there when they made it to their first playoffs – the 83-84 season the year I graduated from high school, and I was there for the numerous coaching and player changes and failed experiments – anyone remember the three J’s (Jason, Jamal and Jim) or dare I say Lamar Odom? I was there for it all with a deep, unwavering affection for my beloved Mavs. I didn’t care. We were one. I was their ride-or-die fan.
I even saved my money to purchase season tickets. Yes, for one year I had season tickets. Okay, so it was the mini-game plan for 10 games up in the cheap seats! Hey, I had two seats for a year that were mine, all mine. Treasure! (Props to Bruno Mars.)
When I could no longer afford the tickets. I went one better; I got a part-time job at the AAC in the Fan Shop selling – what else? – MAVS GEAR! I was in 7th Heaven. For five years, ending this past season, I sold merchandise and watched the game during my breaks. I was in the house for every game!
My long-term loyalty was finally rewarded with the arrival of the Big German, Jet, Tyson and Trix and the re-arrival of J-Kidd as the boys in now royal blue brought home a championship in 2010-11. Woo-hoo!!!! 4-2 and it was all royal blue! The Time Is Now – the playoff slogan for the year read – and it was.
I stayed around – although looking through slanted, evil eyes – when Cuban jettisoned the Jet, Chandler and company the next year. But I hung in there. I was All In! Through the missed playoffs one year, the trade rumors of my beloved Trix, the re-emergence of Vinsanity and the relentless- but- aren’t- we -glad -it -didn’t- pan out pursuit of one Deron Williams. I guess you can’t go home again!
So now, almost 3 decades later, I sit watching the NBA Finals and knowing deep in my heart, my beloved Mavs will get there once again.
You see. No bandwagoners need apply here. I’m a MFFL. A real one. I’ve got the blood, sweat and tears to prove it.