Let me tell you, I am a diehard Miami Hurricanes fan. My father was a Hurricane, and he instilled that love into me. I've lived in Jacksonville Florida all my life but the Hurricanes are my home team. I remember rejoicing when they dominated Nebraska in the Rose Bowl. I remember crying when the Hurricanes were robbed vs the Buckeyes. So I've pretty much always been a Canes football fan. This is the story of how I was introduced to the Canes basketball team.
Back in 2007 I was a freshman student at Fleming Island High School in Orange Park Florida, just west of Jacksonville. I had been enrolled in the 5 normal classes of a high school student, and for my sixth I was in a musical theater class. To this day I still think it was my favorite class of high school due to the laid back nature of the teacher and the overall atmosphere of the class. I made a couple of best friends throughout the year in that class and they both happened to be big UNC basketball fans.
I had never been much into basketball so we mostly talked about football. (Of course their football teams were FSU and VT respectively.) Anyway after school I would wait for an hour or two for my parents to come and pick me up. (We lived in Jacksonville and I only went to school at FIHS to get out of going to the school I would have to go to which was Forest, not a very good school.) My parents had work so it would usually be awhile before they could come and get me.
One day after school I was waiting, when I thought I'd explore the vacant school a little bit. After walking outside for awhile and finding all the doors locked, I finally came upon the door that led into the music building. It was open. I went inside and walked the halls and all of the doors were locked except one. It was the door to my musical theater classroom. I was pretty excited since the thought of waiting inside was much better than waiting outside on the concrete.
Once I was inside I grabbed a chair and played on the piano for a bit. Then I noticed the TV in the upper left corner of the room. It was only used for school announcements so I wasn't too positive about getting a little TV watching time in. I got up on a chair and turned it on. Then I switched the channel and lo and behold it had cable! So I went to the TV guide channel and saw that Miami v Maryland was coming on in about five minutes so I thought to myself "why not?".I flipped to the game and was intrigued by the pre-game hype. Maryland was number 17 in the entire country and was the hottest team in the ACC coming into the tournament. Nice! I had flipped on the first round game of the 2007 ACC tournament. A little spark was ignited in me for the Canes basketball team and I was not disappointed.
The first half went by in a blur and the Canes were in the lead! Jack McClinton was scoring at will and Dwayne Collins would not be denied down low. Jimmy Graham and Brian Asbury also played great. I was so impressed that I called my mother and told her not to pick me up for at least another hour. Not only was Miami playing great, they were playing great shorthanded. Anthony King (the ACC's leading rebounder) was hurt and Dennis Clemente (who would later transfer to Kansas State) was suspended.
The second half was excruciating as the Canes played not-to-lose and let Maryland right back in it. But with some clutch free throw shooting at the end, the Canes pulled the upset and would be moving on in the tournament! I celebrated in that empty classroom something fierce and could not wait til the next day for some more Canes hoops. After I was picked up I told my mother not to pick me up til late the next day as well.
The next day I went through the school day as excited as I had been for a long time. At the end of the day I made sure the musical theater door was propped open so I could get back inside. After everyone had gone home I snuck back into the class and once again turned on the TV to Canes basketball.
This time the opponent was the number 4 seed Boston College and me and the Canes were ready. They came out firing but we fired right back. And we ended up with a big 2nd half lead! But again we played not-to-lose instead of playing to win and this time it would come back to haunt us. Tyrese Rice hit a 3 to send it to overtime and then the Canes went cold and BC pulled out the victory.
I had experienced my first heartbreak as a Canes Hoops fan, and it would not be the last. But I had also tasted victory and how sweet it tasted. Since then I have been become a giant Hurricanes basketball fan. I have watched every game that's been televised and gamecasted the ones that weren't. I have not missed a game at Tallahassee or Gainesville but still have yet to witness a game at the BUC. Hopefully that changes in the coming months.
This bout of recent success for the Canes has made me a little bit jealous, as my best kept secret is now out in the open for the whole world to see, but I've overcome my jealousy and welcome with open arms all of you new Canes fans that have just truly discovered Miami Hurricanes basketball. You are in for a wild, but ultimately rewarding, ride.