Welcome to the refreshed State of the U! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [contest rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here [https://www.sbnation.com/why-we-are-fans] and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
Growing up in New York (Long Island specifically), college sports are non-existent. You don’t grow up being born a Miami Hurricanes fan or Florida Gators supporter in the womb. However, since birth, my love for one team built true sports fandom that one day would be translated into my passion for the Miami Hurricanes. So before I tell you the story of “Why I’m A Fan Of The Miami Hurricanes,” I must tell you where my love for sports came from.
I climbed with glee and expectation—heart pounding—lifting my four-year-old legs with the energy and determination of a breathlessly thrilled traveler finally ascending the 1,860 steps of the Empire State Building. I was on a sacred pilgrimage to the place that my father spoke of in hushed tones when he tucked me in each night. I reached my seat and gazed at the caps on the heroic figures below me: METS. I had arrived.
The activity around me was invigorating: a screeching call for hot dogs, the sweet expectation of crackerjacks as vendors moved through the aisles; fathers and sons filling in the line-ups on scorecards. Then the cowbell man began his chant: "Let's Go Mets," and the words swelled from section to section until it hit mine—section 72. The minutes go by and then it happens: Mike Piazza crushes a ball over the left field wall. The homerun apple in center field rises and the fans rise with it.
Since the age of four, I have sought to reconnect with those first moments—the superstitions on the field, the pulse of the fans, the umpire's focus when the pitcher fires the ball to home plate, the lifer in the next seat who rattles off batting averages like they were members of his extended family. As I grew, so did my understanding of the collaborative nature of the ballpark. These were the bleachers where my father taught me what it meant to win gracefully and lose decorously; the seats in which three generations of my family supported a team that had won only twice in half a century—yet we rallied willingly on their behalf.
Baseball became a tool for learning and connecting. Strat-O-Matic baseball leagues honed my mathematics skills with computerized simulations that utilized advanced statistics such as WHIP, OPS, or WAR, and enhanced the effectiveness of my communication skills as I made trades with others and improved my team. The living room became the nerve center of the house as my brothers and I sorted and stacked our 13,347 player cards on the wide wood planks, reinforcing my love of numbers and zeal for history of the game.
As I continued to grow, I developed a taste for hockey (a sport that really doesn’t exist in South Florida), basketball and football. Being from New York bleeding orange and blue (just needed to change one color), there are multiple teams for each sport. Based on location and characteristics, I picked the losers (with one exception). I grew up watching Michael Strahan slam Donavan McNabb to the ground time and time again, a young Islanders team that finally had The PIECE in Rick DiPietro (who the Islanders signed to a 15-year deal…he barely played half of that contract before retiring), and the Knicks who are now known for Phil Jackson’s antics, but as I remember them as the team led by Stephon Marbury. Yes, that Stephon Marbury who is tearing it up in his early 40s in the CBA (Chinese Basketball Association).
The older I got, the more I loved each sport and so did my love for each team that I supported. When it came to apply for college, I knew I wanted a university with a primetime sports and tradition. My parents and my oldest brother went to Columbia (definitely the biggest powerhouse sports wise you will ever see), while my other brother went to Duke (ew). I began to search for a school with good journalism program, a strong sports program and warm weather. Only one school in the nation offers that: the University of Miami.
I visited Coral Gables for the first time in the Spring of 2015 (my junior year of high school) and the second I got on campus I fell in love. I knew exactly where I wanted to spend the next chapter of my life, and fortunately in the spring of 2016 that became true when I was admitted to the University of Miami.
With every second I’m on campus in Coral Gables, my love continues to grow for Hurricane sports. Although I never saw the Miami greats in Jim Kelly or Vinny Testaverde play at the Orange Bowl or watch in awe of Ray Lewis’ heart or even witness the struggle of the Al Golden era, I can proudly say I bleed orange and green. I follow Miami football religiously and admire the tradition that the five time national champions have accomplished over their impressive history (and will add to in the near future). I’m constantly spending hours at the Watsco Center seeing the Hurricanes program grow under the dancing sensation Jim Larrañaga. I’ve made myself comfy in the press box at The Light rooting for every SIENTATE and holding out for some Mark Light Magic if the Canes are trailing late in the game. While I unfortunately didn’t have the privilege of growing up a Hurricanes fan, I’m proud to say that I’m a Miami Hurricanes fan and feel a part of the Canes family. A family true to their team and will be rewarded in the very near future for their support through thick and thin.
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