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Thank You For Raising Me A Miami Hurricanes Fan

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A thank you note to my father, for raising me a Hurricanes fan.

FSU v Miami Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

I was planning on writing this piece on Fathers Day, but just didn’t have it in me at that time. If you’ve been following me on social media, you’re probably aware that my father unexpectedly passed away two weeks ago. Now, I'm not here to publish a piece on how sad this time has been, but instead, give a tribute, and say thank you to my dad.

Growing up in South Florida, my father became a Miami Hurricanes fan in the 1980’s, right when UM was becoming a national power in college football. Rooting for the Dallas Cowboys, and with the Miami Heat not even coming to the area for a few more years, the Canes were my fathers only connection to South Florida when it came to sports teams.

He grew up going to games in the Orange Bowl, and especially recounts being in the OB when the Houston Cougars came to town in 1991, and says the loudest Canes game he ever went to was against Washington in 2001.

So it was only right, being the fanatical Miami fan that he was, that he’d bring up his sons to follow in his footsteps. In 2002, my father took me to my first UM game when I was only seven years old. As fate would have it, the first game I attended was against Florida State, in the classic “Wide Left” matchup.

The first game I remember really watching was against Ohio State in the infamous Fiesta Bowl. He carried me to my bed after that game while I was in tears, and he still would apologize to me years later for making me stay up late to watch it.

From then on, I was hooked. We started going to the games regularly in 2004, waking up early every Saturday in the fall. If it was a home game, we’d make our way to the Orange Bowl hours before kickoff to set up tailgating, and if Miami was on the road, we’d pick up wings from Ricky’s in Hollywood, and watch from our TV.

Even in a time period where the Canes weren’t very good, my father would watch every game with me. He was there with me in the final game at the OB against Virginia in 2007, he flew my family and I out to Chicago in 2012, and for my 18th birthday present, we sat in the cold at Soldier Field and watched the Hurricanes get demolished by Notre Dame.

When Miami was in the Orange Bowl against Wisconsin in 2017, my father simply said, “we have to go.” And we did, booking last-minute flights from Utah, and even though the Canes didn’t win, it was still a memorable time.

Last August, he flew down to Orlando for the weekend, even though he had work responsibilities, hung out with Canes fans on Friday night, and tailgated all day Saturday for the Miami-Gators game. And I'll never forget, sitting in Camping World Stadium well after the game ended, and he listened to me rant about Miami’s offensive line, and how we should’ve won the game, he just kept telling me, “calm down son, they’ll be back.”

He’s the reason why I forfeited going into pre-law, and instead started studying sports journalism, because he knew that’s what I loved. He was there when I covered my first Canes game in 2018, waiting outside the gates of Hard Rock Stadium after the postgame interviews had been done. Last summer, when I came up with the idea to make a countdown of the top-100 plays in Hurricanes history, my father dedicated an entire weekend and sat down with me and came up with the list.

So dad, thank you. Thank you for raising me in South Florida, thank you for letting me experience the Orange Bowl, and thank you for raising me to be a fan of the Miami Hurricanes.