IMG_8329Tuesday did not start out as a day in which I planned to meet 2008 gold medal gymnast Nastia Liukin, Hootie and the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker and Gene Simmons of KISS.

But there they were, all assembled as part of an event for MATTER, a locally based and global non-profit. (Yes, sure, of course, there they are all pictured together, no identification needed).

Liukin was the main draw — or at least she made the most sense as to why I would be there to do an interview.

But as things were winding down, there was Hootie. And I’m thinking to myself, “the Dolphins are 0-2 after a pair of frustrating losses. This is the guy who once sang that ‘the Dolphins make me cry.‘ Do I bring this up?”

So I go over and extend my hand. I don’t make a “hold my hand” joke; I’m not some kind of monster. But we shake hands and I stumble into it. “How about those Dolphins?”

Rucker, who might be one of the nicest people in the entire world (at least based on the 2 minutes we interacted), doesn’t miss a beat. “Unbelievable. They should have won both of those games.”

For sure, Miami was in prime position in Week 1 to pull off an upset of Seattle. But Russell Wilson’s TD pass to Doug Baldwin in the final minute bailed out the Seahawks in a 12-10 win. This past Sunday, the Dolphins tried a furious rally but it fell short in a 31-24 loss to the Patriots.

That aside, we had at least established that Rucker still cared deeply about the Dolphins — enough to make the follow-up OK, probably?

“So, do the Dolphins still make you cry?” I ask.

And Rucker, heroically, launched into the story of why he penned those lyrics in the first place. He was on the phone with his mom, and he was irritated because Miami was losing.

“I was in a bad mood. She was asking me questions and I was giving her one-word answers,” Rucker said. “She said, ‘boy what’s wrong with you?” Then she looked at her TV and saw the Dolphins were losing and said, ‘you’re still crying about that?’”

Rucker was in his late 20s when “Only Wanna Be With You” came out. The Dolphins were in the early stages of making the playoffs seven times in eight years (though never making it past the divisional round). Since then? Ah, not so good. One playoff appearance from 2002-present.

This past May, Rucker turned 50. Time — and the Dolphins — have perhaps combined to dull his anger.

“So yeah, I used to get really upset when they lost,” he said. “After the 1-15 season (in 2007) I don’t get too upset anymore.”

Rucker said he still goes to Dolphins games but has also developed an affinity for the Vikings since becoming friends with tight end Kyle Rudolph.

“When he was at Notre Dame he started coming out to shows and we’ve been good buddies ever since,” Rucker said.

If he’s looking for a new team, Rucker could do a lot worse than a 2-0 squad — though Vikings fans would probably also caution him that he should be equally prepared to cry.

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