Posted Sept. 11, 2014
By EMILY JOSEPH
The start of a new school year at the University of Miami means the return of homework, Grove Thursdays and college football.
For students, staff and faculty at UM, much of the excitement in the new school year revolves around football season.
From tailgating before games, to painting up in orange and green and singing the alma mater, the football traditions are unique to the culture of UM.
Despite a disappointing Week One loss on the road against Louisville, students are still eagerly anticipating Saturday’s 7 p.m. match against Florida A&M and, in typical Miami fashion, the first home game is not without a party.
Starting at 4 p.m., students can attend a free, organized tailgate hosted by Category 5, UM’s Spirit Programming Board, at Sun Life Stadium. Students are encouraged to stop by the lot outside Gate B for games, giveaways and more pre-game excitement.
Following the tailgate, Cat 5 and the Division of Athletics will sponsor the newly revived tradition of “Freshman Walk,” a chance for the freshman class to walk on the field before kickoff. Category 5 president and junior Shelly Morse said she hopes that freshman take advantage of this special opportunity.
“’Freshmen Walk’ is one of the few times a University of Miami student has the opportunity to spend time on the same field that their team plays on almost every weekend,” Morse said. “We hope freshmen will love and treasure this tradition until they can return for the same walk their senior year!”
Freshman interested in participating must check-in at Sun Life Stadium Gate B by 5:30 p.m. to receive the required wristband.
In addition to the “Freshman Walk” the pregame festivities will also include a “Battle of the Bands” and the “Hurricane Walk.” In the tailgating lots between Gate A and Gate H, UM’s “Band of the Hour” and Florida A&M’s “Marching 100” will perform in a friendly music competition. If you miss the 20-minute battle, the bands will also perform on the field at halftime.
All students are invited to participate in the Hurricane Walk, a chance for fans to join with Sebastian, the Band of the Hour and spirit clubs in welcoming the team into the stadium. Participants will form a “human tunnel” between Gate A and Gate H for the team to walk through. Arrive at Gate H by 5 p.m. in order to take part in the special welcoming.
More than just the pre-game activities and social aspects surrounding the first home game, students are undoubtedly eager for the on-field action to start. Last week’s game marked the return of running back Duke Johnson from a broken ankle as well as the first career start for freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya.
Although the Canes suffered a disappointing loss, senior and football-devotee Victoria Hernandez is eager for the team to play at home. The fans, she said, can give them the fuel for a quick turnaround.
“I think being in front of their own fans and on their home field will give the Canes the boost of energy they need,” Hernandez said. “I’m excited to see them in action on their own turf and I think the atmosphere of the stadium will make a difference in their play.”
For junior Rebecca Driezen, last week’s loss will not dampen her excitement and confidence for the upcoming season.
“I always love football season. I wait for it all year!” Driezen said. “I think we have a lot of potential because we are a young team. Hopefully it was just nerves last week and we show up ready to play.”
With the stage set for kickoff and the Canes heavily favored against Florida A&M, the UM community is ready for some action on our home turf.