Football, Sports

Cardiac Canes, devoted fifth-year kicker deserve better from apathetic fans

I have a problem.

Sun Life Stadium was rocking on Saturday. Or at least, rocking more than it has been for a typical noon game against an average opponent in recent years.

There was a different energy, a cautious optimism, that with a win against the Wolfpack, things could really get interesting for the Canes.

And they since have. Miami is 3-0 in the ACC for the first time since joining the conference in 2004, and 4-1 heading into a primetime showdown against Notre Dame at Chicago’s Solider Field this week, renewing a historic rivalry.

But some things irked me as I drove home from the dramatic victory. The players had their shining moments, but there were also quite a few miscues. Dropped touchdown passes. Shady defense. Missed field goals.

Oh yeah, about those field goals. About Jake Wieclaw. About our fans.

I have a problem: Miami Hurricanes fans can be better. They should be better.

Let’s start with Wieclaw and the booing episode he had to deal against N.C. State.

Wieclaw, a redshirt senior, has bled orange and green for five years now. This guy was putting in 6 a.m. workouts on the practice fields before all of the freshmen and sophomores who were booing him had a license. For some of you, he’s been working out here since before you even hit puberty.

The guy is perfect at PAT’s in his career, came close to being the Lou Groza award winner last season, and heading into the game was 18-for-22 on field goal attempts. A Wieclaw-made field goal was more common than Lou Holtz predicting Notre Dame victories. Yet during the first bad game in his career, a time when he needed more than ever for fans to have his back, the crowd booed.

Fans turned on Wieclaw faster than you can say Shalala. Instead of support, he endured belittlement from fans he’s worked to represent for five years.

And for his missed field goal in the second half, at least 300 fewer students were there to see it than in the first half. Bugging out, eh? Was it that much cooler at South Beach an hour later? Or did it feel nice sitting in your air-conditioned dorm? For those who felt a bit sick from the high heat, yes, I can understand that. But there were plenty of students who simply out of laziness decided to bolt for the parking lots. Nothing says “I’m a true Hurricane fan” like tailgating away all sobriety, throwing up the U a couple times, then leaving at halftime. Solid.

Oh, and I haven’t even gotten to all the people who so cleverly chanted “f— you, Wolfpack” while smoking on their cigarettes. We are the U, the 305, full of “swagger,” and we are honestly throwing obscenities at N.C. State? It’s bad enough to chant something so moronic, but we couldn’t even wait until FSU for this?

Hell, the stench of weed even permeated a few rows. Getting high at a Miami game, man? You have more problems than a Prentice Hall math book. Thank goodness this wasn’t a basketball game, or the f-bombs would have been clearly audible on TV, giving everyone at home a misrepresentation of the truly good kids we do have here. (The boys at Storm Surge don’t put up with that garbage, though. Good work. We are not Maryland.)

So between booing our hardworking, reliable fifth-year kicker, leaving the game early, and childish theatrics, it made me think of what Miami games can be. Let’s support our players when they’re down, pack the stands and stay the whole game, and get back to the creativity we used to have, such as when fans sang a goodbye hymn to Brian Bosworth of Oklahoma, who talked trash before the game. If you’ve seen “The U,” you know what I’m talking about.

The Cardiac Canes are giving us a season to remember. It’s not a nation, it’s a family. See you at the game in two weeks.

October 3, 2012

Reporters

AJ Ricketts


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