Well, that wasn’t pretty. I did stay to the end. I figured I had spent $500+ on a plane ticket, and 3 hours on a plane for this event so I might as well not leave early. I am glad I did stay the entire time. Experience can harden you, and some of the things I saw and heard are now permanently etched in my brain. But, that’s for later.
The meltdown in ‘Canes nation is in full effect. I have often said and continue to stand by the statement that we do indeed have the worst fan base in the country. The fact that people were still highly critical of the team after the Pitt game shows that. In that sense, there is a boy who cried wolf mentality. But, sometimes the meltdown, the anguish, the exaggerated statements made in anger are actually justified. Very rarely, but it does happen. And boy is this meltdown justified. I am actually doing a 3-part series on this debacle, one focusing on the players, one focusing on the coaches, and this one, focusing on my own personal nightmare of a weekend (which I am sure most of you can share horror stories on as well). This won’t be a normal AATU breakdown on football, it’s more story telling (which is why it is filed under miscellaneous and sitting in the Bar). Nope, this is OSTAW at it’s finest. Oh, and it’s long and filled with bullshit you don’t care about, while simultaneously being therapeutic for me, because misery loves company. I figure it’s either write multiple articles on this horror, or break down the Duke game, and, well, fine, here is your Duke game breakdown:
They suck. We will fly up there, not give a shit, look sluggish and win by double-digits anyway, then our players will go hit up the Grove like conquering heroes. There is your Duke game breakdown.
My sports weekend actually started Thursday night. Formula 1 weekends usually start on Friday, but the race was in Japan, so it was Thursday night (which is Friday morning in Japan). My team is lagging a little behind in the championship, but still in it. And they have a million new parts which is supposed to obviously make the car faster. So, I have some hope. My favorite driver immediately busts out and sets the fastest lap. Upgrades must be working. Then he spins out and wrecks the car. Out for basically both practice sessions that day meaning he can’t test the new components meaning that everything is basically fucked. Bad omen.
I am driving to the airport on Friday evening, around 6-ish, and get a call from one my indirect managers. “Hey, sorry to call you on a Friday this late….” and they need me to work on some shit (can’t divulge details) that has a 5PM Saturday deadline. Oh well. Flights at 8PM, get into Miami around 11, hammer this thing out, briefly see the girlfriend, and I was planning on watching Formula 1 Qualifying at 2AM anyway, no big deal.
For those of you new to the AATU community, my appearance tends to lead the good folks at the Transportation Security Administration to believe that I am some sort of Jihadist. So, for me, those “random” extra security screenings happen about 50% of the time. Well, the good folks at National Airport took it up a notch with something I have never seen. “Sir, we are randomly checking people for chemicals. We need to swab your hands and bags.” LOL. Funny how the “random” gets me. Never been swabbed for chemicals before. Another omen of a shitty weekend to come.
Get into Miami, see the girlfriend, and head home to see the folks, do some work, and watch some Formula 1 Qualifying. Part of a big sports weekend for me. I finish my work at 1, so I have an hour to kill. I fight to stay awake (since I had been up since 6AM), and manage to stay awake and the fucking thing is rained out. This hadn’t happened in 6 YEARS! In Formula 1, you actually drive in the rain. They have rain tires and you drive through it, with the rare circumstances when the rain is so heavy that rivers actually form on the track meaning that a car driving over it will basically float away. Well that actually happened. Another omen.
I wake up in the morning, check the Formula 1 web sites, and find out that my favorite driver had to change a gearbox overnight…that’s a 5-spot penalty on the grid (so, when they do run qualifying Saturday night, even if he finishes first, he starts 6th). Another omen….wait for it.
Horrendous start to the weekend, but the main event is still that night, and I am confident in victory. I meet the girlfriend for lunch, and we hit up one of our old stomping grounds. I’ll tell you, after having left Miami, every time I come back, I appreciate it more. What a fucking awesome place to live. Unfortunately, the job market sucks donkey ass down there, but when the economy does recover, I need to go back there. Spirits lifted after eating some good food, hanging out with the girlfriend, and being “home” in my city again, I am feeling really good.
Anyway, we leave my house for the tailgate at 3, with my sister, her boyfriend, and we swing by and pick up my girlfriend on the way in. We are driving down the Turnpike, and a car catches on fire. Small flame, guy pulls over, gets out. Everyone moves over to the left lane, and easily goes by. Just a small fire. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a Metro cop pulls in front of everyone diagonally, blocks the traffic, and then gets out. We were 1 car from getting past when this happened. We lower the window and tell him to get the fuck out of the way. He says no, it’s not safe. Can’t let you go by, got to wait for fire rescue. So, we wait. Somewhere between 20-30 cops show up, but no fire rescue (more on that later). At this point, the fire has turned from a small flame into a full on bonfire. The tires are exploding from the heat. After at least 45 minutes of waiting, fire rescue shows up, hosing down the thing, and we are good to go, or so we think. They still won’t let us go. Finally, FHP shows up, and the conversation goes like this…”Why the fuck are you backing up my highway?…”hurr durr, hurr durr”…”send these people through on the left lane”. And we are off, headed back to the game. Now, if an exploding car isn’t a bad omen, I don’t know what is.
We exit for the stadium, traffic nightmare. Which is somewhat odd because this stadium has hosted a million huge events. Then, we realize, contrary to what usually happens, there is no one directing traffics. Everyone has to make a left into the stadium off of University. Obviously, the left turn lane has a short arrow, so there is usually a cop directing traffic. But there isn’t. In fact, there are no cops. That’s when we realized where the 20-30 cops that all of a sudden appeared at the fire came from. Either they thought it would be cool to see a car burn or the traffic blocking flat foot decided to press the panic button. In any event, the traffic was horrendous. With some slick driving we flew down the right lane (since the left was backed up from the turn in all the way to the Turnpike, several blocks), and then cut someone off to make the left into the stadium.
We got parked, set up the tailgate, had some good food, beers (we got some Belgian selection pack…Stella Artois, Hoegaarden and Leffe…excellent stuff). Met up with my college roommate who I hadn’t seen in a year, caught up with him. Spirits lifted again, we headed onto the stadium, where I randomly ran into another person who I hadn’t seen in 5 years. In fact, we had never lost a game to FSU when I went to the game with this guy in attendance. He has been outside Miami, really busy with work, and confesses that while he has been to many road games, he hasn’t been to a home game in years. A good omen? Sure feels like it. Spirits really lifted now. Ready to kick some ass.
We get to our seats (I couldn’t make the FAMU game, so this is my first time in them)…fucking awesome view. First row of section 435. I cannot believe we got these seats for a $150 for season tickets. Unbelievable. Then, I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of 18-22 year old FSU fans in our section. That’s when I realized what had happened. Our wonderful administration decided to give the sections that are usually covered to FSU to distribute, and they then gave the tickets to their redneck, trailer trash students. Do you know why the home team always gives the road team all the tickets in one section and segregates them from the home team fans? To avoid this bullshit.
And, I will tell you something else. Whoever got this red state-blue state shit and said it was a political divide is so far off base. You can be a right-wing Republican and be a “blue stater”, and you can be a hippie liberal and be a “red-stater”. It’s really a culture clash. Our part of the section, the part filled with season ticket holders, was so “Miami’. Every color of the rainbow…in my group alone (we have 16 seats together) we had 3 Indians, 1 white person, 2 straight up Europeans (from Germany, just arrived), 1 black person, and 10 of JCanes’ buddies. And our whole portion was like that. Then, above that there is a line, right where the season tickets ended. Wall-to-wall, redneck white people in maroon and gold. The racial and cultural divide was astonishing. Melting pot meets burning cross.
By the way, is there anything sillier in all of athletics than a bunch of redneck, trailer trash pieces of shit pretending to be Native American? What is that, anyway? I don’t spin around in a circle pretending to be a Hurricane, or jump off a building and pretend to fly like an ibis.
Now, the thing is, that most of the section is covered in a normal game, so we are greatly outnumbered. The game starts, and we know how that went. This isn’t a football article, and so I will leave the specifics of that for later. The nightmare grows because we are basically sitting in an FSU student section. As the game progresses, they get rowdier, and obviously fights start. When they score a touchdown, beer rains down us from above. Now, I am fucking pissed off. Fortunately, event security finally shows up, and they stay positioned right into between the divide between the 2 fan bases. They also found the beer tosser and ejected her, so kudos for that. Halftime, depression sets in.
I go to take a piss, there is a fight in the bathroom. For the lady that posts in the Bar, you might not know this, but in any men’s public restroom, urine will collect on the floor. At a game, you almost end up having to walk through it. Well, here are 2 grown ass men, fighting each other, rolling around on the floor, in puddles of urine. But, where there is an idiot, there is an opportunity. While these 2 neanderthals are rolling around on the floor, everyone is watching them, some people are trying to break it up, and what is normally a 10 minute piss line is instead a row of empty urinals. Score!
Go back down to my seat, second half, more suckage. After the 1st TD in the 4th quarter, everyone starts to file out, well the Miami fans do. As I mentioned, I stayed until the end. Most of my friends even left. It was just me, my girlfriend, my sister, her boyfriend and one of her friends. And maybe like 10 other Miami fans. The FSU fans stayed to taunt us. We got my favorite chant, the “overrated” chant. So, you are this happy because you beat a team that is “overrated”. Congratulations, trailer trash. You got us there. Then, the chant starts that I can still hear echoing in my ears.
I can hear them. I will never forget that chant. “Fuck Miami!”
See, to me, this school is so much more than a football program or an athletic program. I often think how different I would be if not for the University of Miami. I was 13 years old, living in a college town in Texas. Then, the University of Miami recruited my dad to come work there. The decision was a no brainer for my family and we moved. Going from College Station, TX to Miami, FL was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It changed who I am, it made me who I am. My older brother than went to the University of Miami, I went there, my younger sister went there, my girlfriend who I will eventually marry went there(well, I guess, I have been dating her for 6 years, what the hell am I waiting for, anyway…that’s another article), I met my best friends there. Some families have a family business that they pass on from generation to generation. My family business is the University of Miami. When someone chants “Fuck Miami!”, that shit hurts way beyond football, down in my soul. Can the AATU community do me a favor? The next time you hear some lame-brained jackass talk about the “mutual respect” respect between FSU and Miami, can you punch them in the face for me?
We leave, not much traffic cause everyone left already. I have my standard post-game call with my brother, where we analyze all things about the game (often, some of my articles are hashed out in these calls. He picks apart my arguments before you see them. So you can thank him for my articles not sucking, outside of this one, of course.) Well, this was probably the most depressing one I can remember. It’s aimless. Hope is a great thing, but when it is lost (and to many of us, this game represented hope lost), it hurts so much more than if you never had it all.
I get home like at 1AM, and I know I am not going to sleep. Oh, but it is Formula 1 time. Anything to take my mind off football. I check to see where my driver qualified, 3rd, but bumped down to 8 because of the penalty. Still not bad because he is in the 5th fastest car and got it up to 3rd. Start of the race, he immediately passes 3 cars and gets up to 5th. Then, a huge wreck, a safety car, another wreck when someone’s flies off, and he is in with a puncher’s chance. Hope, again (I should have known better than to have hope after the way this weekend was going). But, his car is shit and clearly can’t compete with the top 3 cars. His teammate is in 4th, so it’s not looking good at all. Then, after he pits, he comes out in 5th, his teammate is actually in 1st cause he didn’t pit but has to later, so he is a non-factor. There are 3 guys bunched up for 1st-3rd, and my driver is in 4th about 10 seconds down. Then all of a sudden, he becomes possessed. “Lewis Hamilton- fastest lap of the race” flashes across the bottom. Then, again. Then again. I don’t know what is going on, but hope builds. He cuts the gap to 2 seconds, and it’s only a matter of when not if. He is going to pass all 3 of these cars and win. I know it. Something good has to happen…then, the weekend kicked me in the nuts again. All of a sudden, he slows down. Then the radio message comes,”I’ve lost 3rd gear “. Keep in mind he took a 5 grid penalty just to use a brand new gear box. And the brand new gear box failed. How does a brand new gear box fail? Game over. Miraculously, he only lost 1 spot the rest of the way, and managed to drive the car home using only 4th through 7th gear, but 5th place…not good enough, another disaster.
But hey, I still got the Cowboys. Come on, I just need something good to happen. Obviously, nothing matters in the same stratosphere as the ‘Canes game, but I need something positive. I grab lunch with the girlfriend and watch the Cowboys game (my flight is at 9PM, so I figure I can catch the game then head to the airport). Starts off as a disaster, but come back hope, and then one final fuck up (celebration penalty in the NFL? Does anyone ever call that? What is this?) and the theme continues. How about them Cowboys? Wait, they suck? Fuck. Hope destroyed. Another loss.
Then, the highlight of my weekend (other than the act of seeing my family, friends and girlfriend and just getting to spend 2 days in Miami). I am going through security in MIA, and of course, I get randomly selected for additional security screening. You know the little glass box beyond the metal detector. They “randomly” wave people into that. Well I got “randomly” waved into it. The guy looked at me, looked at my Miami shirt, looked at me again, and a look of pity washed over his face. “Dude, sorry. Just go man, just go.” And he waved me out of the box.
I get back to my apartment at 1AM (Monday morning), and make the mistake of checking to see if I have anything worth watching on my DVR. This is literally what is on there:
“Formula 1 Racing – Japanese Grand Prix Qualifying”
“College Football – Florida State @ Miami”
“Formula 1 Racing – Japanese Grand Prix”
“NFL Football – Tennessee Titans @ Dallas Cowboys”
Erase, erase, erase, erase…when do the Mavericks play? Cause that never ends poorly.