Where are the football players hiding on campus?

I am a big Miami Hurricane football fan. Whenever the stars are aligned properly and my professors or my hectic schedule allow, there I am, at the Orange Bowl, watching the game while sitting behind the Band of the Hour. When the game is away, chances are I’ll be in front of a TV for hours, be at home or at the Rat.

I guess I owe my friends from campus for turning this Brazilian, from the land where “football” actually means playing with your feet, into an NCAAF fan. For almost 240 minutes every time, I’ll be watching all of our players defend the orange and green and Sebastian’s good name (you know what I mean).

And still, in a way, those men, for most of us, are undercover heroes. I admit I probably would not even recognize them if I passed by them on campus. I’m left to do what my mother always does when she stops by UM: assume that everyone who’s higher than 6-foot-2 and heavier than 200 lbs. is part of our sports program, and most likely, a football player.

But the truth is, aside from one or two players, I don’t know who our men that I so admire really are. I can recognize Ken Dorsey, simply because he’s our quarterback and gets a lot of publicity while off the field; I know Jonathan Vilma, just because we have a mutual good friend – and that’s pretty much it.

Most of the others, I’ll only recognize when I see them smashing into rival players while sporting their uniform (helmet and all) with their name and number on the back. I’m not happy to say that at all. I’d love to have passed by our players after the Florida game, and said “Great job! We’re proud of you!” without having to rely on the bench where they usually meet.

One solution for it might be to make a bigger deal of our rallies on campus before the game. I went to the one before the Florida game. There, I was able to see two coaches (including Coach Coker who, by the way, is much taller than I ever thought he was), and a player – one single player, without uniform, who I will now be able to distinguish. As for the rest, they remain without face.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that’s the goal of the University and its Athletic Department – for them to remain unknown. It wouldn’t make sense either for the players themselves to remain incognito.

Since we have such a great and successful team, it would be my objective to make them known, to make students proud of having them on their classrooms and to make us able to tell whether a 6-foot-5, 250-lbs. man is one of our Miami Hurricane players or not. Such privilege (or right) shouldn’t be of just one or two selected ones, or kept locked until they actually enter the NFL draft.

Daniel Paskin is a doctoral student in the school of International studies.