And that is why we love sports.
If absence makes the heart grow fonder, the Miami Hurricanes and their fans were on the verge of a fondness overdose heading into this Notre Dame game.
After 15 years of false starts, false dawns, poor fashion choices (why in God’s name were there feathers on the jerseys?), the Miami Hurricanes showed up dressed in proper orange jerseys reminiscent of those that were worn in the 80s and then put on a throwback performance.
Miami physically dominated Notre Dame, an allegedly physical team. They lived up to the motto: Bigger, Stronger, Faster.
But it was so much more than that. It was 60 minutes of celebrating not just the rebirth of the program, but the revitalization of a fan base.
“They can have the chain, we’re getting the fucking rings”
Oh boy. Let’s have some fun.
— ♦️LawOfAttraction♦️ (@Miami_DaU) November 14, 2017
That didn’t age well.
But it is so much better than that if you set the scene. Because “they can have the chain, we’re getting the rings” is such a great line. There is no way that line was spontaneous.
You can imagine Notre Dame Defensive Coordinator Mike Elko on the flight down to Miami thinking up that line, and then doing a mental fist pump, knowing he nailed it.
Then he delivered it while standing on the U at midfield.
And now he’s a clown. Because the exact thing he was railing against, the turnover chain, imploded the entire Notre Dame program. There was no fight in the Fightin’ Irish.
The video is hilarious in hindsight, but it also demonstrated their hubris. Notre Dame came down to Miami convinced they were going to push the Canes around. That they were going to run over them — the tough Midwesterners were coming to the big city to teach the yuppies a lesson.
Instead they ran into South Florida’s finest collect of speed and power that spent 60 minutes brutalizing them, tore the courage out of them, and had Brian Kelly panicking in the first half while going for it on fourth down deep in his own territory and shuffling quarterbacks.
It’s one thing to beat a team, another to blow them out, and still another to execute their soul. Notre Dame came to Miami riding high on a win streak, the darlings of the national media. They left in tatters.
Celebrate good times, come on
South Florida has many sports teams. But the University of Miami football program is unique in that it’s by the community, for the community, and represents the community. That’s why passion runs so high.
The season is far from over. Over the past few weeks, the realistic goal of winning the ACC Coastal (already accomplished) has turned into win the realistic goal of win the ACC, which has now turned into the realistic goal of win the National Championship.
Miami’s Revenge for 2016 tour is over. Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Notre Dame. All four 2016 losses were avenged. The Canes can now focus on finishing strong, and yes, winning the whole damn thing.
But last Saturday was a brilliant moment in time, with Notre Dame favored to win in Miami. There were nerves, until I walked into the stadium.
Look at that beauty. When you could feel the energy there was just no way that Notre Dame could handle that atmosphere. That is Miami in all its glory.
On this past week’s Audible podcast, Stewart Mandel commented on how he didn’t realize how much the community had bought in to the program.
He should have known better. Too often people confuse empty seats with lack of passion. Empty seats with lack of fans.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. No university in the country has a symbiotic relationship with its local community like the University of Miami has with South Florida. Miami’s football program is able to rise to the top of college football because of the local community, and repays that by representing the community with a pride unseen in the rest of college football.
This isn’t just a school, it’s a family. Our family. Those were our boys out there stomping Notre Dame. They represented us.
Many of them did not have to go to Miami, particularly the juniors and seniors who committed knowing the coaching was inadequate. And they came anyway, to represent our community, to dream the dream of hopeful rebirth. To see that blind faith paid off handsomely was rewarding for everyone involved.
There’s a reason we get so defensive when the national media calls them thugs. There’s a reason we get so defensive when the NCAA turns a magnifying glass on us. There’s a reason we get so defensive when anyone criticizes this U.
They aren’t just criticizing a school, they are criticizing Miami as a community, us as a people.
And Saturday night was a big night for us as a community, as a people. It wasn’t just a game, it wasn’t just a dismantling of Notre Dame. It was a celebration of Miami. All things Miami.
Our proud community which is second to none finally had a moment 15 years in the making. There will continue to be bigger and better things for this program. National Championships will come.
But Saturday was about rebirth, about recapturing the magic of the Magic City, about pride restored, deliverance promised, and ultimately, as with everything, All About the U.