It's rare to find something that's ultimately as rewarding as the time, money, and effort one puts into it. Offhand, we can think of Jello jigglers, grilled hot dogs, and alligator wrestling.
And that's about it.
What's unlikely to ever pop into our minds, according to a new ESPN poll, is our South Florida sports franchises.
An annual survey known as the Ultimate Standings measures (or attempts to measure) how much MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL teams "give back" to their fans for their investment -- emotional, financial, and otherwise. The worldwide leader took a look at a team's ability to convert fan dollars into wins, ownership's loyalty to core players and the community, the strength of on-field leadership and off-field behavior, likability of and effort by players, the number of championships in a lifetime, affordability, and transparency -- and ranked them, along with input from fans.
Survey says: we're getting ripped off.
(It also gave Detroit a historic top five finish in something that doesn't involve "unspeakable horror," "stabbiness," and "bleak," but we digress.)
Out of 122 teams, the Heat have the highest South Florida showing at no. 55. That isn't surprising, because they're also the team with the most recent league championship -- and, therefore, goodwill -- under their belts. The Dolphins followed at no. 61, and the Panthers and Marlins brought up the rear coming in 77th and 90th, respectively.
Is anyone surprised? We imagine a resounding "no!" from baseball and hockey fans in particular, who could be forgiven for abandoning their favorite franchises any minute after years of seemingly lackadaisical management and far too few postseason appearances. In fact, in the category "ownership," the Fish and Cats placed no. 100 and no. 111. Again.
But what keeps the Heat and the Dolphins so far down the list? Well, Miamians are probably far too busy being fabulous to head over to the ESPN website and voice their opinions with a vote.
Or maybe we were all just off listening to Jimmy Buffet. We're told that's what we like.