Sad goodbye to the OB


I know what you’re going to say.

It was a dump.

But it was my dump.

The University of Miami announced Tuesday
it will move its home football games from the Orange Bowl to Dolphin
Stadium after the 2007 season.

As a Miami student during a time when the football team reeled off 58
straight wins there, the rickety, old stadium was the site of many

Yes, the plumbing leaked and the concessions routinely ran out of beer
or water before halftime. Yes, you needed to take out a second
insurance policy for smash-and-grabs when you parked your car in one of
barrios around the stadium.

But the football was electric.

My favorite moment was Thanksgiving weekend of 1989. My freshman year.
Miami played No. 1 Notre Dame for a chance to play for the national
championship. We got there about 1 p.m. for the 8 p.m. start, in order
to get quality seats.

It poured all afternoon. But there I was, about 10 rows up from the
open end zone before kickoff. It was close enough to taunt Notre Dame
coach Lou Holtz, who looked as much like a grandpa 18 years ago as he
does today.

Miami quarterback Craig Erickson set the tone with a long touchdown pass to Dale Dawkins in the first quarter.

Linebacker Bernard Clark knocked Notre Dame quarterback Tony Rice out
of the game. By the end, the Canes routed the Irish, en route to a
Sugar Bowl win and eventual national title.

When filled with 80,000 fans, the stadium got loud. Near the enclosed
end zone, I once remembered Arizona taking two straight delay of game
penalties because the offense couldn’t hear the signals clearly enough.
That’s an advantage Miami will miss at antiseptic Dolphin Stadium,
where the stands aren’t as close to the field of play.

I’m not against progress, nicer seats, clean bathrooms and bigger replay boards.

But there was something about the Cuban mix sandwiches during
tailgates, the Metro Rail rides to the games, the palm-tree lined
neighborhoods that made the experience at the big stadium unique.

Goodbye, OB. I’ll miss you.