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Every year during the fall I sit in front of my television, well not much sitting, but you get the point, watching the Miami Hurricanes take the field looking to gain another victory. For those three hours, I jump up and down and scream, dance and sometimes throw a temper tantrum. My wife often runs into the room and tells me to calm down. 15 years together and my wife still cannot understand how a grown man can talk to a television as if it was human. To understand such a concept in which she calls crazy and I call passion you must go back 30 years.
I was born in 1979 so I was too young to experience the Hurricanes first National Championship. By 1987, I was hooked into the hurricane fascination during Miami’s defeat of Florida State 26 to 25 in Tallahassee. I can still remember watching that game in my living room with my brothers and friends as we jumped up and down when Bubba McDowell broke up the two-point conversion pass that would have put the Seminoles ahead. A missed onside kick later and Miami was on its way to earning their second championship and I was on my way to being a die-hard Miami Hurricane fan.
I was raised in Miami Florida, in a small community known as Richmond Heights. In my neighborhood, you were either a Hurricane or a Seminole and during football season the arguments created from college football’s biggest rivalry became legendary. My brothers and I were Hurricanes and my Mother, an avid sports fan, was a Seminole. You can just imagine how those debates went.
Outside that house on Jackson Street, those debates would go on for hours with half of my friends being Hurricanes and the others Seminoles. As I got older my understanding and love for the Miami Hurricanes grew deeper. The excitements of the wide rights and the disappointment of Lamar Thomas getting caught from behind developed memories that would last forever.
My most cherished memories of being a Hurricane fan was not the sidewalk debates as a kid. It didn’t come from the locker-room quarrels at Miami Killian Senior High school after football practice. Nor was it the excitement of silencing my friends in college as the most dominant team in college football history shut down Nebraska on its way to winning its fifth national title.
My cherished moments of being a Miami Hurricane fan took place down the street from Grandma’s house. Yes, the Greentree practice field was just a 15-minute walk from my Grandmother’s house in South Miami. I remember walking down the street, listening and peeping through the fence watching the Hurricane practices and listening to the Hurricane coaches chew out players. My little brother and I, and our friends would spend our falls doing that and if we were lucky the winter too. There were a lot of winters in those days.
Today as a grown man I sit at my desk looking at the picture that replicates the history of the Miami Hurricanes from 1937 to 2007 and I realize, I’m still that kid 30 years ago sitting in the living room watching Steve Walsh who walked to the line, read the FSU defense, and called an audible. Michael Irvin, who was appropriately nicknamed "The Playmaker" due to his penchant for making big plays glanced over and shook his head in approval. That’s the moment I became a Hurricane fan.
Walsh took a quick three-step drop and hung the ball up perfectly for Irvin on a fly route. Irvin was in double coverage but was able to get behind the coverage, catch the pass, and take it 73-yards for a Miami touchdown and I danced.
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