Orange Bowl alumni reflect on good times

Norman Parsons – Championship Game

Norman Parsons, director at the Wellness Center, will never forget the championship game against Nebraska in 1983. “It was a night game, and the stadium was electric,” Parsons said. On the last play, Nebraska went for two points to win the game but was intercepted by the UM safety. The Hurricanes won their first national championship. “I stood there, and I could not believe what happened,” Parsons said. “We knew we had just beaten the number-one team in the country.” Fans jumped out of their seats, screaming, and stomping on the stadium floor. Several people beat on the Ring of Honor, the banner displaying Hurricanes all-star football players on the Orange Bowl’s upper deck. “The aura, the noise and the mystification of the Orange Bowl played a huge role in their victory that night,” Parsons said. He said the stadium was “rocking and rolling” so much, it seemed like it was going to collapse. “It was one of those moments where I wish I could time-warp, stay there forever and never leave,” Parsons said.

Martin Segal – Umbrellas

Business professor Martin Segal’s fondest memory of Orange Bowl games involved opening umbrellas during halftime. Segal has been an Orange Bowl regular since his high school days in the 1950s. He usually bought season tickets close to center field and would sit under the overhang for shade. As the years went by, plumbing problems at the Orange Bowl increased. “We would know when people would use the bathroom because even on a sunny day, it would rain,” Segal said. He and his friends would anticipate the halftime rush for the restroom. On cue, his entire row of friends would open their umbrellas until the “rain” subsided.

Robert DuBord – Where’s the Chicken?

Robert DuBord, associate director of Residence Halls, has been tailgating at the Orange Bowl since his first game in 1981. Before each game, DuBord and his friends, a group of 10 couples, get together to eat, drink and socialize. One couple is designated to bring food for the group. One time, the chosen couple had prepared grilled chicken sandwiches at home. When they arrived at the stadium, the couple looked at each other thinking the other had brought the chicken, but they had left it at home. While other tailgaters dined on burgers and bratwurst, Dubord and his friends ate lettuce and tomato on a bun. “We all laughed,” DuBord said. “And the couple ate chicken every night for two weeks.”

Patrica Pena – Hurricane Pride

For UM alumna Patricia Pena, being a Hurricane runs deeper than words. In the fall of her sophomore year, Pena attended the last game the Hurricanes played against the Gators. In the final minutes of the game, the Hurricanes claimed their victory. The crowd, Pena said, was “euphoric.” “It’s so much more than just a win,” Pena said. “It’s your entire identity as a Hurricane.” As Pena filed out of the stadium into the tunnel, she began chanting as loud as she could. Her friends caught on and chanted along with her. Eventually, the entire tunnel was chanting the same slogan: “It’s great to be a Miami Hurricane.” As Pena approached the gates to exit the stadium, she could still hear people chanting in the tunnel. “Being a Hurricane is not just something you say; you really feel it.”

Paul Orehovec – Procession

In 1967, Paul Orehovec, vice president of Enrollment Management, paraded around the field of the Orange Bowl. Each year, the university would celebrate “spirit week,” which is similar to Homecoming, and elect a “spirit queen.” Orehovec was a resident assistant in the apartment area. His house, “Brunstetter,” sponsored the winning spirit queen. As a result, Orohovec was allowed to participate in the spirit week festivities. “It created a sense of bonding,” Orehovec said. At the game’s halftime procession, Orehovec drove his Pontiac convertible directly onto the field of the Orange Bowl and around the stadium, carrying the spirit queen in the back seat. “[The stadium] was loud and raucous,” Orehovec said, “We had good fun.”

Orlando Mellado – Water Shortages

For UM alumnus Orlando Mellado, the beauty of the Orange Bowl is in the “history it has.” Mellado attended one particularly “sweltering” mid-day game when he was 12. UM was playing the University of Florida. The game was sold out and the stadium was packed. People were buying water at such a rapid rate, Mellado said, that all the water in the stadium ran out. Mellado joined the lines of people waiting to drink directly from the bathroom sink. “It was so hot it didn’t matter,” Mellado said.