This modern world tends to believe that preserving the physical is an integral part of retaining the traditional. While there are traditions with no physical home that can consequently survive without regards to the fate of individual structures, it is an undeniable fact that in this day and age, many structures come to have traditions of some sort associated with them.
Of course, the Orange Bowl is one undeniable example, but one has only to look at the nearly symbiotic connections established between certain other traditions and their historical homes for a myriad of examples illustrating the above principle. Would a performance by the Rockettes be the same outside of Radio City Music Hall? There are traditions whose power is bound up completely in one particular structure, and if that structure fades the traditions associated with it will eventually collapse as well.
Although heritage is today often equated with the survival of one particular structure or another, there are memories and traditions that – though one physical place may have evolved into a repository for them – are ingrained deeply enough in a sufficiently large group of people that they will persist even if the place they were formed in or became equated with does not. Could anyone argue, for instance, that the power of the United States Congress would diminish if the Capitol were no more? Those traditions are, ultimately, the strongest ones; they will persist regardless of the tenuous fates of the physical.
So what, exactly, is the Orange Bowl? More accurately, perhaps, what has it become? There are two ways to view it and, consequently, its destruction: It is either a source of many memories that will remain in the minds of all who saw or heard about it even when it is gone. Or it is something nearly mythical that will carry along with it the pride of the university after it comes crashing down. Yet, once one manages to wade through the mass of tearful eulogies and nearly righteous anger at the move to Dolphin Stadium, one truth about the OB does shine through: It is a football stadium. Stadiums aren’t in the stands or in the field; stadiums can’t make memories. The Orange Bowl didn’t create memories or traditions, and so no reason exists for those memories to fade once it does. Traditions won’t fade with the move.unless we let them.
Andrew Hamner is a freshman majoring in journalism and political science and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.