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Why did I become a Miami Hurricane fan?
If I had to answer that in one word, it would be Spite.
In five words - Spite, Kosar, Camouflage, and Crockett & Tubbs.
Allow me to explain.
I attended high school in Delaware at a fine institute of higher learning called Salesianum. I was a good student - actually, a top student, but I absolutely hated my high school. The only reason I was going to school there was that it was the top ranked academic high school in Delaware, which, at the time, I also hated. My plan was to suck it up for four years then use the school as a springboard to get far, far, away.
Why did I hate my high school? Well, it was an all-boys Jesuit school that happened to be a top feeder school for - gag - Notre Dame. As if the no girls thing wasn’t bad enough, our school styled itself as Lil’ Notre Dame, right down to the identical golden domed football uniforms. Ugh. Needless to say, I was not a fan of the Sals (yes, that was our pathetic nickname).
Now, the time this all occurred played a huge part in this. I was in high school from 1983-1987. I was a huge college football fan. My first memory of watching University of Miami Football on TV was watching Bernie Kosar light up Nebraska in the thrilling 1984 Orange Bowl for the Hurricanes first National Championship win. I was hooked. I loved the pro-style offense, the swagger, the Orange Bowl stadium. I began watching every game I could.
Finding out that so many of my friends and peers were big-time Irish or Penn State fans and hated Miami just made me love the Canes more. I recall being the only person at a party rooting for Miami in the ill-fated 1991 Fiesta Bowl. While people hurled insults at the TV and Canes players (and me), I secretly wished I had worn camouflage fatigues to the party. Also I wished that Jerome Brown was there with me, for obvious reasons.
My love of the Hurricanes also coincided with the debut of the TV show Miami Vice. Living in small-town Delaware at the time, I was entranced at the exotic locations, fast cars, and beautiful scenery. I was thinking, “Man, I gotta have some of this. Great football and this kind of life, hmmm, I know where I want to go to college.”
When it came time to apply for college, I immediately sought out an application packet from the University of Miami (no one called it The U back then). It turned out they had a film school - yes! - and I was able to score a scholarship and generous aid package. I took a weekend visit to campus and stayed in the Eaton dorms with a couple Kappa Sig bros. My fake ID and extensive Canes football knowledge made me a popular guy right away. I came back from that flight knowing what had to be done.
I remember making my college decision announcement to my friends (in a way, preceding the athlete commitment announcements that are now common) and seeing their shocked faces. I had become their worst nightmare - one of those hooligan, no good, punk Miami Hurricanes - and it felt amazing. Ah, Spite.
That was the beginning of a college football experience like no other. We won 3 championships while I was there - 1987, 1989, 1991 - and should have won two more. So many amazing games and great times in the Orange Bowl. It was f#*&ing epic. Jimmy Johnson was a even a regular at the bar I tended at Monty’s in the Grove. As you would expect, this forever cemented my Miami Hurricane fandom.
Spite, Kosar, Camouflage, and Crockett & Tubbs - that’s how and why I became a Miami Hurricane fan. As the old Orange Bowl cheer goes, “It’s great - to be - a Miami Hurricane”.
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