To me it is another lifetime. January 3rd, 2003. I was a senior at the University of Miami. Myself and two friends drove from Coral Gables to Tempe Arizona for the BCS national championship game. We drove there in a Honda Civic. As I stood on the bench seats for the fateful 4th down play, dehydrated from the salt on the Tostitos chips they were handing out, I watched as the ball went incomplete and as I was being dragged to the ground by my friends and fellow fans my peripheral vision caught a yellow dot come from out the opposing endzone...
Days later, munching a soggy Whopper in Burger King with my then girlfriend and her father I vowed that I would never recover from this loss. It is the kind of silly promise you make to yourself when you are young and full of misguided purpose. How could we turn it over 5 times? Why did Taylor (RIP much love) take that pick out of the endzone and let Clarett strip him? How did Roscoe fumble that long pass? What happened to Willis' knee (answer: it exploded)? Why did the refs wrong us?
It is only years later I have come to grips with reality, the sports world at large, and this game. A 60-ton hammer called life is mostly responsible. You see, when I was at the U I lived a charmed life. Not to get bragadocious but I got poon on the reg, was in phenomenal shape, hung out with a group of teammates that were just as crazy and didn't give a shit just like me, did a bunch of stupid acts that should have resulted in myself getting arrested or seriously injured, gave no thought to the future only the present. In short, I had swagger. The type of U swagger that the school is loved or hated for now. I was in a sports utopia as well; not only were the Canes dominating in football, but out of nowhere the Patriots won the 2001 Super Bowl. I was feeling invicible.
As I look back now, the moments since I graduated to now have made me much more of a regular, thoughtful person. I still cheer for Miami with every molecule I have, but I don't have any illusions. I still apreciate the "old days" and have respect for what Miami did to college football in the 80s, and like to make swagger jokes and throw up the U. It is all in jest at myself and support the guys on the field though, I don't live by that credo and how could I? I didn't create it. The program went into a free-fall after that night in Tempe. I had my own issues to sort out as well and now as I stand here over 7 years out of college I like to think I can look at the world lucidly. Miami lost the national title game to Ohio State, plain and simple. I still steadfastly maintain the call by back judge Terry Porter was horrible and incorrect but I'm over the game. People who have heard me argue about why the call was so erroneous might raise an eyebrow about me not being bothered by the result of the game anymore but it is true. Only the call and people defending the call upset me. Just like if the pass interference was never called Ohio State fans would be upset over the call of Gamble's catch going out of bounds late in the 4th quarter. In summation game:lost, call:shitty and wrong.
This brings us to tomorrow. A game I have been waiting years for. When I say years, I don't mean the seven since the Fiesta Bowl. I mean the 2 or 3 since this game was announced. I don't think revenge can be exacted if the Canes pull off the upset. A lot of former players have been preaching that to the current players and some of the current players have said that in one form or another. Who am I to tell them different? The game means different things to different people. I just want Miami to win to have a landmark victory against one of the programs I dislike the most and to see if they can move forward into national contention again.
I will not get into chalk talk about this game. Both teams have been preparing for a long time for it and knows what the other one will try to do to win. The game will come down to who can impose their will in the trenches and who takes care of the ball better. I think at home, in possibly wet conditions (60% chance of rain last I heard) Ohio State gets it done. I want to see the Canes fight though, unlike their effort last year in Blacksburg, and prove they can compete on the same field as the Buckeyes. Next year, when Jacory Harris and the rest of the baby Canes are seniors I expect them to be in the title hunt, but that won't happen unless they step up this year.
Chasing revenge can be more damaging to you than your target. They say the best revenge is living well. Miami got screwed more in 2000 than 2002. They cannot go around college football skulking as Edmund Dantes anymore. It's time to leave the Canes of the mid-2000s behind and begin the new chapter, one that hopefully includes winning. Tomorrow as I watch the game with some fellow U-grads, I will drink I will curse, I will bitch about calls, I will get as worked up as I ever have about a sporting contest but after it is over I will not feel that revenge was either enacted or missed out on.
Type rest of the post here