A fond look back at my Convocation

Most journalists have some sort of an epiphany that sparks their desire to start writing columns, for me, it was the Convocation Center-and, no, it wasn’t for its success.

It isn’t that I couldn’t see the potential, or that it seemed a colossal waste of donated funds (although at the time, that may also have clouded my mind). Rather, the Convocation Center merely stood for everything that UM shouldn’t: a scarcely competitive basketball team, events better-suited for viewers of The Ashlee Simpson Show, and more than anything, inactivity.

So I came out and wrote my first column (and fifth…and sixth) about how the Convocation Center wasn’t accommodating the interests of the student body. Sure, a pre-Guillermo Diaz men’s squad was not the Convocation Center’s fault; Good Charlotte, on the other hand, was.

Then, the most interesting thing happened. Miami switched to the high-octane basketball conference that is the ACC and top-notch programs like Maryland, and Duke all made successful visits to Coral Gables. And, with lines wrapping around the arena during the Blue Devils’ visit, talks rekindled regarding seat expansion. Oh, and as for music? How’s the opener to Green Day’s tour sound? It’s certainly music to my ears.

All this gave me time to reflect on the not-so-good-ole days, when it cost an arm and a leg to watch Coldplay at the Convocation Center. After writing my first scathing article about the Convocation Center, a glorified intern named Jessica Hall who worked for Global Spectrum (the group that essentially finds entertainers for the arena) wrote a letter to the editor questioning my journalistic integrity.

As a member of UM’s Honor Council, I took great offense to Hall’s slanderous remarks that I made information up and did not do research prior to writing my column. The 600-word response I wrote (subsequently never published) remained taped to my front door as a reminder that negative criticism comes with the territory. So, when I first approached this article, I wondered: Should I apologize to Jessica Hall? After all, hindsight is twenty-twenty.

Then I had my journalistic epiphany. So what if I couldn’t predict the current successes of our arena? So what if some under-informed bottom feeder falsely accused me of having no integrity?

In the end, integrity is knowing what process you went through to come to the correct decision; it’s also knowing when you were wrong. I know now that the future has many great things in store for this arena. I still know that the Convocation Center didn’t live up to its initial hype.

And, while Ms. Hall may never come to a similar conclusion-that Global Spectrum floundered in its preliminary attempts-and for that matter may never admit her wrongs, at least I know this:

I can write my opinion about her whenever I want.

Ben Minkus can be contacted b.minkus@umiami.edu.