Unlike many Miami Hurricanes fans and writers alike, I did not witness Miami's run of dominance through the 1980's-1990's due to my young age. I did not see Vinny Testaverde and Gino Torretta's Heisman trophy seasons, and I did not witness Howard Schnellenberger turn Miami into a national powerhouse. In fact, it is because I was never able to witness these moments that I am in awe of the ‘Canes greatness. From a young age, I was mesmerized watching the team's emergence from the cloud of smoke right before a game as they gathered to form a collection of helmets all with the orange and green imprint of the "U". My father attended the University of Miami, and I was born bleeding orange and green. At first it was about wearing hurricane jerseys and hats, but later it became about the admiration I had for the tradition that the players carry on their shoulders. From the very first game I remember watching as a child, I have been a Cane.
The date was September 1, 2001, and the site was Beaver Stadium. On a night where coach Joe Paterno had the chance to tie Bear Bryant on the all time wins list as a head coach, all eyes were on the Penn State Nittany Lions.
As a child I remember the hype surrounding that game, and with the history of that football program, I wondered whether Miami could answer the call. What I witnessed throughout the game not only made me dispel my original doubts; however, but also made me realize that Miami was a program like no other. Not only do the ‘Canes exemplify a rich tradition, but that matchup proved to me that the Hurricanes would have to carry and defend that tradition of excellence in every game they played.
In a matchup where all emotions went against Miami, the ‘Canes proved they were the best team in the nation. Ken Dorsey throttled Penn State's defense to the tune of 344 yards and 3 touchdowns, while also proving that he was the best running back in the country with a 164 yard performance on only 17 carries. The ‘Canes had 30 points in that game by the half, and the defense did not allow a single point until the fourth quarter.
As an adolescent I was immediately hooked on Miami's greatness, and began to become obsessed with the Miami Hurricanes. I taped the 2001 National Championship game to watch it on a seemingly endless loop, and began to dream of attending the University of Miami after High School.
I witnessed the dark days as a Hurricane fan while Randy Shannon was the coach after Larry Coker stepped down, and sank into sadness after the constant defeats throughout the Al Golden era. I constantly looked back at Miami longing for that glorious day at Penn State, but was bound by emotional shackles after each loss against Florida State.
Despite the heartbreak, my allegiance to the University of Miami became stronger once I entered high school. I began to aspire covering the Miami Hurricanes, and last season, my Senior year, I wrote a weekly column analyzing each game for my school. During this 2015 season, once again, I saw the ‘Canes struggle on the field. It was then that I decided that I was done sitting on my hands without voicing my opinion. After this season's loss to Florida State, I decided to gather a team together and produce a news story journaling what now seemed inevitable; Al Golden's collision course with the Miami fanbase. I interviewed former players such as Joaquin Gonzalez and Brett Romberg, and voiced everyone's opinion on Al Golden's regime. It was a story embedded within already existing controversy and animosity surrounding the Al Golden regime. But to me, the tradition of the U was more important than any one individual.
After producing that piece, I ended my senior year. I waited intently, and in March my dream of becoming a Hurricane came true when, thanks to help from my teachers at Christopher Columbus High School, I was accepted into the University of Miami as an incoming freshman. I will begin classes this school year, and when I walk onto campus this Fall, I will not forget my first night as a Hurricane fan watching Miami's dominance on a national stage against Penn State.