Thursday, September 24, 2009

Guest Post: An Affair For the Ages

This is a guest post from my friend Dustin, about a very unusual love he has...Enjoy! ~ Josh

We all have our favorite sports teams that we show unconditional love for; even when they fail to score a touchdown in the red zone and only win 9-7. Growing up in College Park, the teams I expect to have a lifetime relationship with are the Washington Redskins, Capitals, Bullets Wizards, all University of Maryland teams and the Baltimore Orioles. Remember folks, no Washington baseball team until 2005 and the love for the Iron Man won’t allow me to go “Nat Crazy”.

I wore number 8 and tried to play shortstop. I’ve reenacted many long bombs to Art Monk in the front yard. I tried to hit on-timers like Peter Bondra in Gym Class (we used to get demerits if we didn’t call it P.E. in grade school). And I yelled SPRET [editor's note - that's TERPS, backwards - you have to attend MD games in the alumni section to get it] countless times after Maryland touchdowns while attending games since as far back as I can remember. But even through all the great moments, I have been having an affair with another team since the late 80s. It all started with a hat. A hat I still have in College Park. This hat was green and white with a palm tree on the front of the hat being blown over. Yes folks, it was a University of Miami Hurricane hat. And so it began.

I remember the hat was purchased for me by my parents while on vacation at Myrtle Beach, SC. The next thing I did was go into the dad’s brief case and pulled out all the sports preview magazines for the upcoming fall. What I learned were the teams Maryland football always lost to, were beaten by the Hurricanes and beaten pretty bad at times. For someone who loves football and learning about weather, the Canes were the perfect fit as my “second favorite” college football team.

Admit it, everyone has a team like that, whether it was Jordan’s Bulls, Montana’s 49ers or Free Shoes Florida State University….This is strictly outlawed in Bill Simmons’s 20 Rules of Being a Sports Fan, which I have gone on record as rules fans must follow.

However, from the days of Wide Right I and II to this season’s move up the polls, I have been pulling for “The U” while my Maryland Terps have struggled with finding success. Miami was one of the premier D-1 teams in the mid-80s and the early 90s. After Miami got in trouble with NCAA violations, the team’s success went down hill but former head coach Butch Davis built the team into a juggernaut.

A marquee win at the end of the 1999 season against UCLA put the school back in the national spotlight. The next year saw Wide Right III against Florida State and then a national championship in 2001. Following a repeat national championship appearance in 2002 and a BCS bowl game in 2003, the program went downhill again. After several years of rebuilding under head coach Randy Shannon, the program (2-0) is back in the top 10 for the first time in four seasons after two impressive wins against Georgia Tech and archrival Florida State.

Saturday, the young Hurricanes travel to Blacksburg, Va. to face the 11th ranked Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1). Though the teams first met 1998 with both teams ranked in the top-25, the schools have had a fierce rivalry. The 9th ranked Hurricanes will have a tough task in a hostile stadium against an extremely good Hokie defense. On Saturday, I’ll be rooting for the Hurricanes to knock off the Hokies. If Blacksburg wasn’t so far away, I bet I’d have enough nerve to go to the game wearing green and orange.

Saturday’s game reminds me of the games back in the late 80s when Miami played teams that a) I did not like and b) Maryland could not beat. It is no secret the Washington D.C. area is up in arms with the Hokies even though some [ed. - including the blogmaster!] would not consider them a local team since they are located in southwestern Virginia.

Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer has consistently put together top notch teams for more than a decade now. Miami has a chance to knock off a heavyweight Saturday. The key to the game will be the quarterback play. Some have said if Maryland Quarterback Chris Turner was the Hokie starting quarterback, Virginia Tech would be undefeated with a great shot to win the National Championship.

The game will be close. Miami will win, 27-17. Definitely an affair for the ages.

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