Few things bring this family closer together than college football season. I am a University of Miami alum, Mr. PugRunner is a huge fan, and we are raising little man in this great tradition of The U.
Unfortunately, we live pretty far away from Sun Life Stadium, where the Hurricanes play. And of course, with school, sports, extra-curriculars and racing, it’s challenging to get a weekend away to go see them. Insert all the sad faces. Football weekends are such a pivotal part of autumn, and it’s tough not being part of the action.
However, little man had been asking about seeing his favorite college team play, so we consulted the schedule, found a free weekend and found a team that wasn’t much of a rival, where crowds would be low and emotions wouldn’t be raging: Arkansas State. Mr PugRunner got some great seats through our local Hurricane Club and we planned to stay with some friends near the stadium.
It was on.
Kickoff was at 3:30 PM, so we planned to meet our friends a little after noon to tailgate for a while. The weather was less than promising, but at least there was a very cool breeze and humidity was low.
At around 1:30, Mr PugRunner took off with little man to see the “Hurricane Walk.” This is when the Hurricanes’ busses pull up and around the stadium, allowing the players to walk into the locker room to suit up through a crowd of chanting, cheering fans.
Little man got his picture taken with Sebastian afterwards.
We had a nice crowd for the tailgate, along with some delicious food: I had brought meatballs and iced cookies, and our friends had ordered wings from Bru’s Room (simply the best wings ever). Of course, there was beer and chips and all kinds of yummy football treats.
It was perfect.
Finally, it was time to pack up and head inside. We arrived at our section just in time to see the Miami Hurricanes charge through their signature smoke. Little man loved it!
Our seats were in the end zone, right next to the student section. We had a great vantage point and little man was pretty involved in the action. I loved watching him cheer and sing all the Miami songs. It’s hard to capture that kind of enthusiasm when we’re watching the games on TV, especially with a child, but here in those orange seats, he was riveted.
The rains came at halftime, but we stayed dry in the concourse, getting our last drinks and snacks, while visiting with our friends (who had seats in a different section). We had ponchos, but torrential downpours are never fun, so my girlfriend and I stayed behind until the storm cloud passed (just a few minutes into the third quarter).
It also gave me time to snag one of my South Florida favorites: an arepa.
For some reason, this lovely bit of melted mozzarella cheese sandwiched between sweet grilled corn cakes never tasted quite as good as it did in the old Orange Bowl, but it’s still something I never get to have, so I enjoyed the heck out of a few bites.
Hurricane favorites Brad Kayaa, Duke Johnson and Phillip Dorsett did a fine job at pulling out a 41-20 victory over the Arkansas State Red Wolves. Of course, they had a little fourth quarter encouragement from a special fan.
It was such a special day for all of us. I only wish we could do it more frequently.
While it was a long and exhausting weekend (I think I’m still trying to catch up on sleep!), it was so very worth it.
What are your favorite traditions to share with your family?
Do you have a stadium/fair/concession treat that you can’t resist? Tell me about it!
Kristin @ A Mom on the Run says
FYI – There is a lady at the OP Farmers Market that sells arepa’s and they are delicious! I bet she’ll be there for the Fall Festival too! 🙂
Oooh. I will have to give them a try. They are truly my favorites, but no one does them quite like the Orange Bowl did.
John (Daddy Runs a Lot) says
We’re Penn State fans. Or, I should say, my wife is a Penn State fan. I grew up in northern Jersey, with New York media coverage, and they barely spend time on college athletics during the evening news (Rutgers is, perhaps, the only real “football powerhouse school” in the greater NYC area, and to call Rutgers a football powerhouse requires one to redefine the word “stretch”). But, I now live firmly in central PA and it’s all Penn State, all the time. But, the kids just aren’t super into football yet — I’m hoping that the fact is more because of their age (both four at the moment) more than an actual dislike of football.
All that said, what is it about the comfort foods from college? I went to a small liberal arts college in central PA, and the breakfast sandwich from the little on-campus grease-trap diner is better than anything I’ve ever had. It’s just a fried egg with bacon, canadian bacon, ketchup, and american cheese on an english muffin, but I’ve never had a breakfast sandwich like it, anywhere.
John (Daddy Runs a Lot) recently posted…Where I inspect my training plan with a half marathon
I also grew up in Northern Jersey, and I didn’t even know college football was a thing until I went to Miami. I was there for film school, not the team, but that’s where I learned to love football (I was always a Dolphins fan in a house of Jets and Giants, because dolphins are cute).
As far as kids and football, it’s hard. Little man definitely prefers being at the game to watching it on tv. I think it’s much easier to get caught up in the crowd and the cheers and the OMG cotton candy, than sitting on the couch trying to follow replays and annoying sportscasters talking. We definitely try to take him to one game a year, be it NFL or NCAA and he loves it so much.
It’s obviously more than just a fried egg with all the trimmings, just like my arepas are more than just cheese and corn. It’s memories of late nights and friends and last-minute studying, and in my case, the thundering of the stadium seats over the concourse and the smell of beer and cinnamon sugar pecans. No way to duplicate that, ever.
Mary Beth Jackson says
I love fall and college football. I am a Florida Gator! but no worries, we can still be friends! Sound like you had a great family day! I try to get to one game each season too, it just depends on the schedule. If this Florida rain would let up a little we would all have better weekends!!!! Have a great rest of week!
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We were at the Miami vs Florida game last year at SunLife. Epic!
You guys have definitely been taking the brunt of the bad weather. That first game in the Swamp was CRAZY!
The rain is getting old, though. All I want to do is nap.
Stacie Seidman says
What a great thing to do as a family! I never really got into football (I’m a big baseball fan!), I think mostly because it’s really cold here for most of football season, but I love live sporting events. So. Much. Possibly for the food…
Stacie Seidman recently posted…Truthful Tuesday
Oh, we love our baseball, too! We have a great minor league team around here, which is a really nice family night. And we are also lacking hockey. We’ve made some trips for other sports (Tampa for Yankees spring training and a hockey game) and I hope we can take little man to a Miami Heat game one day. I think he would enjoy it. But yeah, the food is a compelling reason to be there 🙂
Funny about the weather – I have lived in a climate where tank tops and shorts are de rigeur for football games for most of my life. I love the idea of being bundled up and cooking chili on the grill and having irish coffee at the tailgate, rather than sweating buckets. I guess the grass is always greener, right?
Stacie Seidman says
Here too with the hockey. CT is still living in the past and supporting the Whalers who don’t even exist anymore… Basketball too, but we have UCONN which is super fun to watch at least!
I think bundling up and grilling would be totally great in say 50 degree weather. It’s the 20 degrees that it’s just not appealing!
Stacie Seidman recently posted…Truthful Tuesday
ohhhhhh arepas, how I adore you 🙂
As a gator, I may not be able to understand your Miami obbsession 😉 but it sure does make me happy to see you and your family enjoying college football, and everything g that comes with it :)))
I actually hadn’t gotten to go to a game since I graduated WOW that’s a horrid thought considering gator a medals are one of the best things on earth! I was hoping to go to LSU weekend after next but it doesn’t look like that going to happen. OHHH well
Anne recently posted…Savory Pumpkin Chicken Sauce with Spaghetti Squash
Well, football fans understand football fans. Even if our teams are different colors 🙂
That’s a long time! I hope you are able to see your guys in action soon. It’s hard missing out on that. And arepas.
Looks like so much fun! Hubs and I both love to watch football but have moved on from college to the NFL where we booth root for the same team. We can’t wait to see who our daughter ends up siding with for college football, USC or UCLA.
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Oooh… That’s exciting to see how that will all shake out! We try to root for a neutral NFL team, so that we are all happy 🙂