Final Score: Miami 30 Va Tech 12; Attendance 37,219
Weather: Warm ’70’s, Ticket Price $50 from Stub Hub (face $35)
“That’s not Miami Orange” by Tree
So normally, when I go to a game I wear the home team’s colors and usually some of their gear. It makes it easier to blend in and make conversation with the fans. Plus you never know if you are going to be entering a hostile environment. However, for this game, I wore Va Tech gear as one of my sons is a Hokie. After this game, I was convinced that it is more fun coming as the home team.
Generally, I am not a fan of teams whose home stadium is shared with a pro team. Unless it is a marquee matchup, the stadium can feel like a tomb. However, Sun Life stadium is the exception to the rule. It certainly helps that the stadium is decorated in Miami Dolphin orange which appears to be the exact same shade of orange of the ‘Canes. Accordingly, despite not being on campus, it feels like the U’s stadium.
Once inside the stadium, we easily made our way to lower level seats in the corner of the end zone. They were good but not great seats. With two big screens on each end of the stadium, you won’t miss any replays wherever you sit. We were next to the Va Tech seats, but that wasn’t close enough. Although Miami is a pretty small school, their football success is extraordinary and their fan base extends way beyond the student body. The guys behind us were season ticket holders but didn’t appear to be alums. They did manage to yell the entire game. Some of it was directly pointed at us, but it was generally good natured and they apologized at one point to make sure they were not going over the line.
Miami has several chants; none of them were the usual standards. In one cheer, their mascot Sebastian the Ibis, stands in the field bending over and shaking his hands/wings? As he does that, the fans are cheering “U” or something like that. This goes on for at least thirty seconds, maybe longer and then Sebastian rises up and the yell of “C A N E S – Canes, Canes, Canes,” echoes in the stadium. I may not have the wording exactly right, but that’s the general idea. They have some other cheers that are equally impressive. The fans also put their thumbs together with fingers up to form a “U”. It is another unique display, but not as interesting as NC State’s yapping Wolf Pack. (See NC State). Miami’s band was nothing to write home about. It was small and reasonably good, but did not compare to some of the bigger school bands such as Ohio State.
The concessions were nothing to write home about either as far as I could tell. Again, as a pro stadium it has standard, mass produced, mass branded food. They did kick off the game by having the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team drop into the stadium with the game ball. Being a night game, the paratroopers looked very cool flying in with trails of sparks from their feet. I doubt that is an every game experience as it is at West Point.
Since it is a pro stadium, the traffic patterns are well defined and it is easy to get to. (Please make a note of that, Dan Snyder, when you decide to replace that traffic nightmare that is Fedex stadium.) On the flip side, fans are locked into a $30 parking fee. That’s right, $30! I almost choked when I saw that. It does make it easy to tailgate, but I was just there for the game with my Dad, and I just felt cheated. The tailgating was healthy if not at a top tier level.
The game itself was entertaining despite both Miami and Va Tech having down years. To be honest, Frank Beamer had to be scratching his head at the loss. Va Tech dominated the line of scrimmage and owned most of the second half. However, turnovers will doom any team and Tech managed to throw this one away. The Miami fans were strutting but not as much as usual. They had a losing record coming in and were on a 3 game skid. The biggest surprise was how bad Hokie special teams were. They did have one return for a touchdown, but otherwise stunk up the joint. It was not exactly Beamer Ball and very similar to the UNC game we attend a month earlier. The weather for this game was great, low 70’s and dry. It may not be traditional fall weather, but it was pretty hard to beat particularly after spending the previous week in Marshall freezing in the cold rain.
There was point in the game where there was almost a fight in front of us. A young black man had stood up to watch a particular play and the old white guy in his button down and khaki’s took offence. Now this kid hadn’t been standing up very long and the old guy had stood up several times himself during the game. I was not sure what the crank thought the young man would do, but the kid let him know in no uncertain terms he wasn’t going to be bullied. The fans, both black and white, quickly rallied around the younger man. I saw that old guy later in the parking lot getting into his Ferrari, where he immediately cut us off in traffic to get out. It was pretty clear who the jerk was that night.
Going to see the Hurricanes is probably worth it even if the program is not in its glory years. I would just make sure it is a late season night game and be wearing orange, green and white. It will be a much better time.