If you are a hurricane fan, turn away; this article isn’t for the feint of heart. I’m going to try and put my Gator sentiments aside as I write this, but I can’t guarantee there won’t be any bias. I went to the Hurricane-Georgia Tech game last weekend in the orange bowl to bid my own personal farewell to the iconic venue. Although I wasn’t there for the game, more so to take in the sights, sounds, and experience, I couldn’t help but find myself rooting for the home team. The game is beside the point, as an engineer and someone who cares about the social aspects of the OB, I was there more for the atmosphere than anything else.

To state it plainly, I can clearly see why the decision was made to move the hurricanes from the OB to that stadium up north (which changes names every month or so…) The OB is a worn down venue, clearly lacking the infrastructure to support a college team as the once almighty U. The bathrooms are unkempt, the alumni skyboxes are inexistent, and the whole place appears to be crumbling to pieces; all of which reflect poorly on the city with regards to effective maintenance and refurbishment. Like the Miami Marine Stadium, it was almost as if they were hoping it would fall apart on its own to give enough of valid reason to reinvent a new use for the property.

However, the OB still offers the University an intangible benefit that the $1 Million or so they will gain from moving up north just can’t buy: tradition. Experiencing a game like this now after I have experienced games in “real” college venues (notice the quotes, don’t take it as an insult) is a shock. I now fully understand why UM so easily turned its back on “tradition” and chose to move to a slightly more profitable venue: because UM simply has no tradition. Go ahead and argue my point, but the tunnel and C.A.N.E.S. Canes! simply don’t qualify…The atmosphere in the stadium was insipid; the crowd lacked the spirit and comradery that nearly any other university has to offer (don’t blame it on the small college town/big city differences.) The stadium was unusually quiet when the defense was on the field; at times it seemed like my UF and FSU friends were the only one making noise.

Overall I can’t help but feel for the venue that could have been; there is too much history, too many wide rights to simply watch this place fall to pieces. Visiting and experiencing the OB one last time has given me a new perspective on UM’s decisions, however, it only made me further question the direction of the city and the reasoning for constructing another stadium in this neighborhood…With regards to tradition; I’ll let you know how things go this weekend in Tallahassee, I can guarantee a huge difference…

Related posts:

  1. Orange Bowl and MDT
  2. Forecast: Hurricanes Downgraded to Tropical Waves
  3. Miami-Dade County Commssion; Dropping the Ball, as Usual…
  4. News and Updates
  5. Marlins at OB, Another Bad Idea
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13 Responses to Orange Bowl, Part 1

  1. John says:

    I haven’t missed an FSU/Miami game in the past seven years. I can honestly say that they do things right in Tallahassee. As a UM fan it pains me to say that Doak Campbell Stadium is quite possible the most beautiful college stadium I’ve ever seen (and that includes trips to The Swamp, Ol’ Rocky Top, Ol’ Miss, GA Tech and The Big House at that other UM). Though I haven’t been to Notre Dame, or the Rose Bowl; Tallahassee does it right, and have TONS of tradition we just don’t have.

    I find it almost shameful that we must pump our marching band throught the OB loud speakers and visiting teams’ bands out play the Band of the Hour. But I have to disagree with you that UM has no tradition, it just has much less than FSU and your alma mater.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    They have plenty of room in tallahassee and they got tons of funds from the state by putting classrooms in the stadium so that it is in use more than 8 days a year. It also has other facilities as well that are used.
    The orange bowl was rarely used except for canes games and few other events.
    It was so underutilized why would it make sense to continuously fund its upkeep. I always thought it was a joke that the OB didn’t have a real jumbotron, that is essential. The sound system is worst than what some fans have on their vehicles outside.
    I’m not happy to go to whatever the dolphins/marlins stadium is called now but it makes sense.
    How bout the plans to create transit infrastructure going to the planned new Marlins stadium.

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  3. Gabriel J. Lopez-Bernal says:

    John, Sorry but I’ll take the Swamp over Doak any day…

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Historical significance may not be the same as tradition. But to me, the Orange Bowl was the site of the most socially significant game in the history of college football - the Hurricanes first national championship in January, 1984.

    You’ll recall that our community was utterly divided following the Mariel boatlift and the McDuffie riots. African Americans, Hispanics and Anglos couldn’t look each other in the eye. There was enormous tension.

    When the ‘Canes worked their magic and beat a Nebraska team that many rated as among the best of all time, a gigantic healing took place. The civic pride shared by all overwhelmed whatever differences we imagined.

    By the way, most colleges don’t have venues like Florida and Florida State. For apples to apples we should compare the UM’s facilities to those of other schools its size. When my alma mater (Northwestern) had some football success they took the extra revenue and actually decreased the capacity of their stadium, electing to add comfort rather than numbers.

    UM has continually abandoned its traditions in the quest for more revenue. Among the greatest of the lost traditions was regular Friday night football. The OB is much more comfortable at night and that is when the palm trees and the skyline view out the east end zone are most dramatic.

    UM needs a small facility on its campus or right nearby. But all hope of that appears lost.

    Another tradition that was lost (not Miami’s fault) was the annual home and home series with the largest State school. Losing that didn’t help matters.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    You can’t really blame UM for perpetually seeking more revenue. Unlike most universities, UM has no meaningful endowment to speak of. Schools like Harvard, Yale make tens of millions of dollars every year just from the INTEREST on 300+ years worth of endowments. Even state schools like UF have considerable endowments. In contrast, some of UM’s first graduates are still alive… and UM didn’t really start to have any meaningful number of wealthy alumni until 30 or 40 years ago… and most of them are still alive, too.

    I know, because I had a part-time job one year while I was at UM working for one of the deans. UM is very, VERY financially dependent upon its football team’s moneymaking skills. And it’s hurting even more, now that FIU is a real university with student life (football team, Greeks, etc), as opposed to the overgrown community college it was prior to the early 90s (when Danny Rollings sent a few hundred Gators fleeing south to FIU… Gators who knew how student government, a proper Greek system, and student life in general is supposed to work, and basically jumpstarted FIU’s social scene & launched it along a path that was cemented in 1992 — when south Dade students who used to commute moved on campus after their parents’ homes were destroyed by Andrew.)

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  6. john says:

    I don’t know, to me the Swamp feels like a minor league pro stadium…I don’t get the same electricity I feel at either the OB or Doak. And to add to the history vs. tradition thing, that’s why I’m sad to see the OB go.

    My paternal grandfather played high school football in that stadium, Broadway Joe asured that his ’69 Jets would be the first AFL/AFC team to win the Super Bowl against what was then considered the vastly superior NFL/NFC. The Cubans, like a couple of my cousin’s on my mom’s side, The National Championships, Orange Bowl Classics, Dolphins Pefect Season, the 54 Game Home Winning Streak for UM, all the great memories and history made there.

    My father used to take me to all the Canes games when I was a kid, those are some of my favorite memories…I want my kids to be able to feel that way, but the OB won’t be there for them. It’s a sad day in Miami and football history.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Where are they gonna send all the protestors when the next FTAA rounds start if the OB is gone?

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Or the tipsy, overjoyed abuelas y abuelos when Fidel finally kicks the bucket?

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  9. ines says:

    Gabriel - for me (a die-hard canes fan) it is about tradition and it’s also about history - but the stadium is in shambles.

    My beef is about maintenance - why can’t we maintain our city? I think I said it in a post about the OB - are we a disposable society.

    And about what to do with that site - personally I think we need low income housing in Miami - a good quality project there would be beneficial to all.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Johnny Winton was right — the best way to create affordable housing is to open the floodgates and let developers build until prices collapse due to oversupply. If you explicitly set out to build “low-income” housing through government subsidies, one of two things inevitably happen — quality people move in, the prices skyrocket, and the original buyers enjoy lots of free equity courtesy of the taxpayers who subsidized the original construction, or the area turns into a slum due to the concentration of poor people, and destroys the surrounding area like a cancer.

    Historically, new construction explicitly for poor people is bad. It’s far better to let the market take its course and increase the supply of new housing for middle-class and wealthy residents, and let the lower classes move into the reduced-price (but higher-quality) homes they left, than to encourage large-scale construction of low-quality or badly-designed buildings. A 30 year old building originally designed for upscale residents will still be fairly nice when lower-class residents begin to move in. A 30 year old tenement isn’t good for anything besides demolition.

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  11. that guy says:

    White Dade summed up UM football best about a year ago.

    http://whitedade.blogspot.com/2006/09/univeristy-of-miami-not-your-typical.html

    To distill it, I’m wondering why you guys have this impression that UM people actually care about football?

    There’s no tradition and there’ll never be one.

    My opinion, those other schools care about their damn teams since in their schools, there’s not much else to do besides watch the game. This is Miami, hello?

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  12. Anonymous says:

    UM’s move to Dolphin Stadium is just going to leave all the old Canes fans to become FIU Golden Panther fans. FIU is doing it right, on the same path that FSU did with Doak Campbell Stadium.

    FIU is currently expanding FIU Stadium ON-CAMPUS, unlike UM, and is going to add a student services center, admissions office and classrooms in the stadium to make it useful year-round. FIU is quickly becoming the better university here!

    GO FIU PANTHERS!

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  13. theCardinal says:

    I was at the game and the crowd was in fact dead that day. The crowds have been lame for the better part of four years, with little blips of life here and there. It is a shame that you did not attend the Texas A&M game where the crowd was back in it’s OB glory. The last great game there was against the Gators - I thought that place would collapse that night.

    As for experiencing a game at the OB you have not done it unless you sit in the GA seats at the West Endzone. Say goodbye to the old horseshoe against UVa - if they do it right they’ll do it at night. Then you’ll understand why many did not want to see us move.

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