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Gratitude, escape, and the Miami Hurricanes

2020 has been a rough year for us all, let’s try to find the silver lining in this mess.

Michael Barrow - Miami Hurricanes

In the blink of an eye it is already Thanksgiving again. 2020 has been the shortest-longest year of most of our lives. I don’t need to go into detail, we all know how crappy of a year 2020 has been, but man I’m still thankful to be here and to be healthy.

Over the years, wanted distractions like sports have gotten me through hard times. There’s a pretty blatant reason why the 1992 Miami Hurricanes football team is and will always be my favorite- Hurricane Andrew.

In a fall where we lost everything, the one thing we all had was Mike Barrow and the ‘92 ‘Canes. Even though they suffered a devastating loss to the Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl I still love that squad. The ‘92 team, and Barrow especially, personified Grit. Passion and perseverance beamed through the on and off the field actions of Mr. Barrow.

In his seminal book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl quoted Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous pontification, “He who has a WHY to live for can bear almost any HOW.” I was first asked the question, “How do you define success?” in 2014. I had no answer. I spent the better part of six years in search for that answer, the WHY. We moved four times, including over 6,000 miles of road, and in the end I found my WHY in a Mellow Mushroom during a senior dinner- and I still didn’t get it!

At this dinner a young man stood up and delivered a speech thanking me. I was really surprised as I had only directly coached him for maybe two months. He said that I once told him, ‘If you don’t believe in you, who will? Believe that you’ll be great.’ And with that- he believed.

I wrote that statement down on a napkin (I don’t remember even saying that to him, but it sounds like something my dad would’ve said to me, so I’m sure I did). I went home and put the napkin away and thought, “Some how that’ll be important.”

During our COVID-summer I finally read Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why. I had read articles and blogs about and from Mr. Sinek and had seen his interviews and Ted Talk. But I had yet to take the leap and read his book. With the new found free time I did, and in the middle of it I ran inside and began to pen my Purpose statement: My Purpose is to believe in you so that you can believe in yourself.

But I was still struggling to define success. “WHAT IS SUCCESS?!” I thought about it, stopped thinking about it, and came back to it again while flat on my back on a yoga mat in a freezing cold empty classroom. Six years in the making I finally penned success, to me, as: The amount of strong, positive, trusting relationships I have amassed over the years. My definition was no longer rooted in wins and losses. It was now rooted in people.

(Don’t worry, I’m getting back to The U)

People. At times it’s hard to remember that the young men that are Miami Hurricanes are just that, young men. They’re just people. As we pick apart their performances there’s levity in remembering these guys are 18-Scott Patchan and are just trying to get a degree and maybe a shot at NFL money. The coaches, as much as I may disagree with them at times, are just trying to make a living.

I want to thank the coaches and players I have worked with, but also that I have covered at SOTU. Sometimes I’m a relentless jackleg about poor performances, but it’s all just a way to escape. For your efforts on and off the field I am grateful. This program has gotten me through some hard times, and I appreciate the escape.

I want to thank you guys for commenting on here, even the slappies who drive me insane, for helping me with this escape. In 2016, when I wrote a fan post on SOTU I never thought it would really turn into a writing job here. I didn’t know Cam, or really follow SOTU much prior. I started reading one day and thought I could fill a need even if it wasn’t on the main page of SOTU. Truthfully the people here are a great team- Cam, Roman, Marsh, et al.

Finally (yes, I’m almost done!), I want to say let’s remember that 2020 has been a hellacious year. Whether we agree on politics, masks, bananas, social distancing, the economy, RPO’s, or Zelda- we’re all in this together. Community means we belong, we need, we affect each other.

Enjoy the real things like family and friends on this fake ass holiday Abraham Lincoln created during the Civil War that celebrates the “Pilgrims” feeding the indigenous peoples of America who were doing just fine eating eel without Puritan rule.

January 1, 1988: NCAA Orange Bowl Game - Oklahoma Sooner v Miami Hurricanes Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images