It's the last call for Da U at the Orange Bowl this Saturday night when Miami hosts Virginia under the lights. I'm not a 'Canes fan but I'm a football fan and if I had to name my most vivid college football memories, half of them would be housed at the OB.
The '84 National Championship Game: Greatest game I ever saw. The call Osborne made to go for 2 at the end was like a perfect storm of stones, musk, and arrogance [for the young pups, see: Miles, Les]. This is the game that hooked me on college football and it's an addiction I'm still battling today.
The '87 Orange Bowl: Brian Bosworth stalked the sidelines while on suspension from the team sporting a wicked haircut and wearing a t-shirt that spelled out N.C.A.A. with the words National Communists Against Athletes. On the field, the Sooners laid the wood to Arkansas 42-8 but all I remember is the Boz and his stance against the man, trying to hold a brother down.
The Brawl and The Call: Not one word needs to be said.
It's not just about the games, it's about the fear, loathing, and feral atmosphere that permeates the old joint. When they come out of the tunnel, I used to wonder if it wasn't fog at all, but rather a blizzard of crack smoke. The electricity in the air isn't something synthetic (unless you count the fans, players, coaches, and broadcasters fueled on Charlie and Cris) either. There appears to be something very real that turns people into maniacs with a riot mentality when they enter the hallowed walls of that place. It may look like it's on death's door, with the crumbling walls, dilapidated toilets, and mysterious yellow fluid that leaks from its bowels, but if you look her in the eye, there's still a fire raging in there that will take all you got, all night long, and laugh in your face when you're done. Kind of like Peter O'Toole.
But thanks to criminal city management, fiscal nightmares, and $2 whore, Donna Shalalalalala, the OB is shutting her doors. What's worse, the 'Canes' new home will be Dolphins Stadium. The thought of the 'Canes playing in that synthetic place makes me sick. The concessions serve tater salad and tapioca; it's like a goddamned nursing home. Look what it's done to the Dolphins! But alas, this isn't about the future, it's about the past, so this weekend, when you're tailgating, whether you're at a game or on the couch, do a rail of blow and pour a little out for a fallen homey. You don't have to love her, but you gotta respect her.