We should all be thankful for the opportunity to root for Hurricane athletics.
No, this is not merely propaganda intended to lure fans into the Convocation Center for basketball games. This is merely a reminder that if you assess our sports teams from top to bottom, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better school in the country.
The best example of Hurricane dominance would be our football team. There is no other university in the nation that would label an 11-2 season featuring an Orange Bowl victory over state-rival Florida State a “disappointment.” Oklahoma and Michigan may be elite programs, but they are not expected to win it all every year like the ‘Canes are.
The football team has come a long way from the early 1990s, when the Hurricanes were hated for being “criminals” and “thugs.” Now we are hated for the right reason (because we win all the time), leaving other programs green with envy. Every opponent the football team has treats their game against UM as the biggest of the season.
Hurricane football can be compared to Duke basketball nowadays, as college basketball fans outside of Durham, North Carolina, passionately hope that the Blue Devils lose every game. In both cases, the team is hated because it is always good. The hatred from opposing fans should be accepted as the ultimate sign of respect.
It is important to have a coach that conducts himself the way Larry Coker does. Coker is a major reason why the Hurricanes are not only great athletes, but respectable citizens as well. Character has become an important attribute for a Hurricane to have, unlike the Dennis Erickson Era, where you could get away with anything as long as your 40-meter time was under 4.5.
The Hurricanes’ dominance does not end with the football program. Our baseball team, led by another class act in Jim Morris, is a perennial College World Series contender. This year, the ‘Canes will begin the season tied with defending-champion Rice as the top team in the nation. The program recruits itself, and if you look at the rosters of professional baseball teams, a Hurricane or two generally appears.
The women’s basketball team has surprised everybody but itself this year. Before the season started, forward Shaquana Wilkins claimed that the Hurricanes were solid enough to make the Sweet 16. After their blistering start in the Big East, however, the ‘Canes are now thinking about the Final Four. Tamara James may be the best player in the Big East not named Taurasi, and the Hurricanes may have their strongest chance to beat Connecticut in years.
Most schools would be content with three athletic programs enjoying that kind of success. Miami, however, is competitive in every single sport. The men’s tennis team enters this season ranked No. 35 in the nation. The women’s tennis team usually finds itself in the NCAA Tournament. The volleyball team is only three years old, yet it has already enjoyed a 26-match win streak. The women’s track team is currently No. 14 in the Trackwire 25 rankings.
I think my point is clear. Instead of whining when the football team actually shows a little mortality and loses a game, or groaning when the baseball squad fails to sweep every single series, sit back and enjoy the ride. Go to as many sporting events as you can because when your time at UM is up and you have people asking you what is was like to go to such a dominant athletic institution, you’ll want to impress them with tales of incredible athletes and games that you were privileged enough to watch in person.
Eric Kalis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.