If you watched the Dolphins in the ’80s you can skip the next several paragraphs, since you don’t need me to tell you who Jim Jensen was.
Jim Jensen, man. He’d played quarterback at Boston University, a school that doesn’t play football anymore, and that’s the position Don Shula brought him to Miami to play. But not long after, some guy named Marino arrived and Jensen, still wearing his quarterback’s no. 11, started making himself useful in other ways. He played running back. He lined up at receiver. He threw himself down the field on special teams. Howard Cosell is said to have given him the nickname he’d keep through his career, “Crash,” and it made sense when you watched him hurtle down the field on the kickoff team.
He was the football equivalent of that one guy in the office who isn’t the IT guy but just sort of … fixes stuff? Like, Dale’s not IT or maintenance, but if you’ve got a wonky chair or a printer that’s making Exorcist noises, you call him and he does something. Does Dale even have an office? Does he even work here, or is wandering around offices and fixing stuff just something he does for fun?
Jim Jensen was the Dolphins’ Dale. He even looked the part, with the aw-shucks grin and moustache of the good-natured blue-collar guy who gets framed for the crime in Murder She Wrote. He was my favorite Dolphin.
This is not to say – and I suspect Jensen himself would agree – that he was the greatest Dolphin. Again, some guy named Marino was around at the time. But of course, favorites are a tricky business.
In this, our “Best Of” issue, we play favorites. Although, well, not exactly. It’s not like there’s some scoreboard out there where you can see who, incontrovertibly and demonstrably, is Fort Lauderdale’s best band, best park or best theater. In fact, if I could ask one small favor, I’d ask you to read our Best of Fort Lauderdale story not as the definitive guide. Read it more like a friend who’s excited to tell you about a favorite thing. And by all means, tell us if you’ve got a different favorite thing.
Because really, that’s half the fun when discussing what’s “best.” His favorite play may not be her favorite play, their favorite Panthers hockey player might not be the other ones’ favorite, my best South Florida meal may not be yours. There’s no right and wrong, only debate. (Well, unless your favorite South Florida meal is something other than conch fritters. Then, sorry, but you’re wrong.)
And today, there’s so much to debate. There was a time in Fort Lauderdale where it wouldn’t have made much sense to argue about, say, local arts and culture or food and drink, because there wasn’t enough to argue over. No more. Now when we hold forth on which local brewery does the best IPA or what gallery we should hit first during ArtWalk, we’ve got something to talk about.
So by all means, check out the places we tell you about – and then tell us about the places you like. Heck, tell me personally – I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m into craft beer, art mixed with walking, weird foreign films, live sports and bars down at the proletariat end of Las Olas. But in Fort Lauderdale in 2017, there’s so much out there, and a person should be ready to try something they’re not familiar with. So I try to be versatile. Like Jim Jensen, if you will.