We all remember where we were on Nov. 10, 2007. The last game at the Orange Bowl was a tragedy unlike any other seen at the University of Miami – a 48-0 drubbing of the Canes in the final performance at that great edifice of sports. Tears were expected that night, but they were supposed to be in mourning, not in anger.
Luckily, there was one more chance to remember the stadium, one more opportunity to singe the old lady’s image into our brains. Many UM students and fans missed it; what a pity.
Many people greeted last Saturday’s “Farewell to the Orange Bowl Stadium” as a conniving move by the City of Miami to squeeze one last drop of blood out of the turnip, one last look under the cushions, trying to milk every last dime out of the Orange Bowl. While the $20 entry fee was unnecessarily steep, the value in attendance didn’t dawn upon me until I entered and viewed the festivities.
While watching the former Hurricanes and Dolphins players battle it out on the field while the fans stomped their feet on the metal bleachers and the old generals Shula and Schnellenberger dueled it out on the sidelines, I was transported to a different time. A time Wwhen athletics were a point of pride, not a cancer upon this city.; Wwhen names like Marino, Kosar and Blades were the dominant forces on the sporting world.; Aand when the Orange Bowl was the centerpiece, the jewel, the stage of the theatrre of dreams in Little Havana.
It turns out that those stars, known so much for their past performances in the Orange Bowl, waited to give their greatest contribution to it until last Saturday. And that is the creation of one final memory – one final event that dulls the pain of the past. They singlehandedly wiped the grime away and gave the 15,000 most loyal fans of the Dolphins and the Hurricanes something that can’t be valued in dollars and cents.
Sure, the City of Miami was shrewd in attempting to gouge us poor saps one more time. But in their attempt, they gave us a great gift. As I left the Orange Bowl Saturday, I looked back at the stripped fa