Miami Road Trip Report
Oct 30th 2009 - Written by: John Webb
The stars aligned so that Jesse Z., David G., and I could make the road trip to Miami for the Clemson game in Landshark Stadium. A golf clap in honor of wives making this happen; you're the best.
Weather: I can see why some say that Clemson beat Nebraska in the 1982 Orange Bowl because the Tigers could better withstand the heat.
Even though it was late October, the relentless sun, 89 degree heat, and high viscosity humidity made us wilt in the stands. I drank 64 ounces of fluid in the first half of the game without feeling the need to tour Landshark Stadium's bathrooms. I'm not sure how Miami fans, much less their players, endure game in and game out.
Tailgating: It was much livelier before the game than we expected, especially when considering the stadium would be at half capacity, 5000+ Clemson fans included.
A difference is that at Clemson the atmosphere is fan-generated. In Tiger Town people pull up in orange fire trucks, orange barbecue trailers, orange hearses...pretty much anything orange.
The buzz in Miami is generated by the planning of the University with at least three radio station broadcasts (one with live music), fan zones, on-premise yacht sales, and fans drinking mass quantities of alcohol with hardly more tailgating equipment than chairs.
Speaking of drinking mass quantities of alcohol, we met former Clemson baseball star David Kopp, and saw that he was rehabbing his shoulder that went under the knife by playing beer pong. You would think that a pitcher would have no trouble throwing a ping pong ball -- not so. David's mom was a real sweetheart when she offered us some food. Here's to hoping that the surgery cured David's chronic bursitis, and that he'll make it to the big leagues.
We literally saw fewer than 10 children attending the game -- big difference from Clemson.
South Beach: Curse you David G. for buying that Firefly Vodka on Friday before the game -- although I thought it was a great idea as I drank it on the beach. The wisdom of drinking alcohol is more clearly viewed in retrospect.
We met some guys from Canada in town for the Saints/Dolphins game, and challenged them to a game of football on the beach. There were nearly as many Canadians on their team as a Lou Holtz coached team at South Carolina.
The score was tied and we huddled. We saw that their safety was cheating towards the sideline, so we called for David G. to throw the ball to me on a double reverse pass (or was it Jesse Z. throwing the ball?..........uhhhhhhh..........Firefly Vodka). The play worked perfectly, and we won the game.
Hearing of our success, Jacoby Ford and Kyle Parker did the same thing to win the Miami game the next day.
Sights on the Beach: 537 to 1. This is the ratio of guys in speedos to topless women on the beach. This isn't a winning ratio.
The Seminole Hard Rock Casino: I lost $20 here. That's not very much money, but I'm still afraid to tell my wife.
It was kind of a dead atmosphere (no pun intended though Anna Nicole Smith overdosed in room 607 according to Wikipedia.) We left.
Dan Marino's Restaurant: If I ever have a restaurant, I will take a cue from Dan Marino and plaster the place with quotes about how great I am -- and then serve over-priced food.
Observations Inside the Stadium: It's always great to get harassed by the other team's fans at an away game. It was generally good-natured and harmless.
It was classy when the Miami band played Tiger Rag before the game. The sound system was bone-shattering, and they piped Miami's band through the speakers throughout the day.
Miami fans use their hands to form their "U" logo. They do this so often it's not clear how they keep their hands from cramping. I thought I had discovered something really clever, but then I saw 1000 other Clemson fans turning the "U" sideways to make a "C", and I realized it was kind of a dumb idea. Maybe I was still feeling the Firefly Vodka when I thought this was innovative.
It's a closed stadium, so even a sparse crowd like Miami's can make it very loud.
The Drive Home: Stupid open container laws dictate that the rest of the Firefly was to stay packed up.
On the drive down we each came up with our personal lists of Top Clemson Wins Ever Seen in Person. Prominent on the lists were 1982 Orange Bowl, 1989 FSU, 2003 USC, 2003 FSU, and 2006 Georgia Tech games among others.
After the game we enthusiastically agreed that we would have to each reorder our top five, if not our top three.
At a convenience store in Georgia we met the busses ferrying home the Georgia Southern football team from their game. Kudos to the Clemson Tigers for leaving us with a giddy ride home to South Carolina. The final score in Boone was Appalachian State 52 Georgia Southern 16. That makes for a longer drive home than a Clemson trip to Miami, no matter how many miles you go.
Please send fawning emails to sectionHrowJ@gmail.com.
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