At the University of Miami’s Watsco Center, every home game begins in pitch dark. Students hold up their phone flashlights to welcome the hurricanes onto the court. Anticipation builds in as students wait for the first confetti explosion, which signals UM’s first three-pointer of the game. This is some of the excitement that the passionate UM student section, “The Eye” brings to every women’s and men’s basketball game.
“Category 5 is technically an on-campus student section, but we are trying to make everyone a part of Category 5, Alexander said. “We’re trying to make everyone a part of ‘The Eye.’”
What initially started as the official student section for basketball has now become a unified section for all sports at the university. “The Eye,” previously known as “Storm Surge” before Category 5 rebranded the concept, brings the energy of basketball games to a variety of other sports.
“We are a basketball school and I firmly believe that we’ve made an elite run last year, we have a very impressive win record,” junior pre-med student and Category 5 co-chair Jacques Calixte said. “I expect students to come and find a great environment, a great atmosphere with other students.”
Some of the traditions that “The Eye” holds are yawning and shaking newspapers as the opposing team is introduced, holding phone flashlights as the hurricanes come out, confetti cannons after the first three-pointer is made, student smoke, pointing and yelling, “U, U, U,” when the opposing team fouls out, holding up the U sign during hurricane free-throws, cross arena student chants and giveaways. The student section is now on both sides of the court, which allows for the back and forth chants.
“Our goals as Category 5 are to really just bring out as many students to all these games and to make a unified atmosphere, especially since our men’s team is ranked top 25 and we have an electric women’s team,” Calixte said.
Category 5 is continuing to increase attendance at games through student giveaways. The first 50 students to arrive at Watsco Center will be given the opportunity to win hoodies, shirts, sweatpants and other Canes’ attire. When students arrive at Watsco Center, they should check in with the Category 5 table at the top of the arena to enter for a chance to win. The winners will be announced throughout the game, but students will also have the opportunity to catch merchandise thrown into the crowd at random.
This year, Category 5 has also put a lot of funding into a mobile app called Canes United, where students can gain information on game times and win student prizes. The student section was also inspired by other schools to hold up Fatheads with player’s faces in order to support our team this season.
“When we had the Fatheads, [the opposing teams] were constantly missing, and it gave us a little energy boost,” sophomore sports administration and business analytics major Zander Alexander, who is also a co-chair for Category 5 said. “We wanted to be even louder in the second half.”
Win or lose, “The Eye” hopes to bring the energy this basketball season. Students can follow Category 5 on Instagram @um_category5 and Twitter @UM_Category5 to catch any important updates and information.
Students can attend the following home games at the Watsco Center:
Jan. 31, men’s Virginia Tech 7 p.m.
Jan. 26, women’s Boston College 6 p.m.
Feb. 6, whiteout DOOK (Duke) 7 p.m.
Feb. 26, women’s senior night Virginia 12 p.m.
March 4, men’s senior night Pittsburgh 6 p.m.