The Future is Now
Yesterday, seven young men officially enrolled “early” at the University of Miami and began classes for the spring, 2012 semester, including:
- Taylor Gadbois (Dallas, GA)
- Preston Dewey (Austin, TX)
- Gray Crow (Clearwater, FL)
- Ereck Flowers (Miami, FL)
- Ladarius Gunter (Montgomery, AL)
- Raphael Kirby (Stone Mountain, GA)
- Josh Witt (Weston, FL)
I welcome these new ‘Canes like Steve Perry would – with Open Arms – and truly hope that participation in spring practices gives them a leg-up on their competition signing on the dotted line in two short weeks. I am thrilled that we are going to have – ostensibly – at least 32 new faces on the team this year and I have high hopes for each of them.
However, as I have discussed with friends on and off Eye of the Hurricane, high hopes are one thing. What ‘Canes fans tend to do to our young is quite another. Frankly, I’m afraid to even make a remark about the age of this team because I have been burned so badly before with my optimism towards the last bunch.
George Santayana was accurate when he cautioned: “[t]hose who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Thus, armed with my history degree from the best place on earth – the University of Miami – I am going to take you on a trip down memory lane so that maybe, just perhaps, we don’t make the same mistakes with another generation of so-called “baby ‘Canes.”
November 10, 2007: The Miami Hurricanes say goodbye to the Orange Bowl by bending over for the Virginia Cavaliers. While most fans are angry and drunk, a happy blonde girl is seen near N2 chirping about how Randy Shannon is bringing in the BEST RECRUITING CLASS EVER and it will turn everything around and they are going to win at least THREE national championships while they are here, you’ll see [blonde girl ducks various post-tailgate accoutrements thrown in her general direction].
National Signing Day, 2008: Miami tops ESPN’s rankings with Randy Shannon’s first full recruiting class. Miami fans rejoice over the likes of Arthur Brown, Sean Spence, Ramon Buchanan, Marcus Forston, Taylor Cook, Jacory Harris, Aldarius Johnson and Davon Johnson.
Pre-season, 2009: After some great come-from-behind-wins against the likes of Duke and UVA in 2008, Jacory Harris is projected to be the Heisman winner . . . by die-hard ‘Canes fans. Aforementioned blonde girl actually schedules his win on her Outlook calendar to coincide with her puppy Sebastian’s birthday paw-ty and the ESPN premier of The U documentary.
Labor Day Evening, 2009: Exuberant ‘Canes fans file out of Choke Campbell Stadium in Trailernasty, Florida proclaiming that the ‘Canes will be national champions!
December 29, 2009: Hypothermia-stricken ‘Canes fans wander aimlessly out of Champs Sports Bowl wondering exactly how injured Jacory Harris is and why the big slow guys from cheese country just beat us, while swearing that 2010 will be Miami’s year, and the year we finally avenge Terry Porter’s phantom pass-interference call.
September 11, 2010: Aforementioned blonde girl leaves the Horseshoe in tears, dodging beer bottles thrown by classy luckeye fans. Goes back to hotel room to sob alone on the side of the tub in the middle of the night, wondering what has happened to her beloved Jacory Harris and the rest of the “baby ‘Canes.”
October 30, 2010: Jacory Harris gets concussed by UVA. Aforementioned blonde goes to spa and mall for therapy.
November 1, 2010 – September 17, 2011: Jacory Harris and other choice not so much “Baby ‘Canes” are ridiculed on a regular basis by fans, ranging from those who attack him on Twitter to those who make up amusing names about him on fan sites.
September 18, 2011 – November 25, 2011: Fans give Jacory and some other “Baby ‘Canes” a mulligan.
November 26, 2011- Present: Every player, with the exception of Sean Spence, is routinely scorned by fans. The very same fans tout players like Randy Duke Johnson as the second coming who will win at least three national championships during his time at the _.
While I am generalizing the behavior of “fans,” I hope this trip down memory lane makes you take pause about what we, as fans, do to these young men in our desperate attempt to relive [fill in the blank – era of your life when the ‘Canes didn’t suck]. Thus, I posit that we fans learn from history and follow some simple guidelines over the next year or two while the average age on our team hovers around 19:
- Do not call these young men anything synonymous with “the next.” There was, and always will be, only one Sean Taylor, may he rest in peace. Just because a TE or OL went to prep or JC first does not make him the next Jeremy Shockey or Bryant McKinnie. Let these players forge their own identities on the field, not on Facebook or through the media.
- Accept the team’s age. While I am always hopeful for an undefeated season, I don’t tear up my season tickets or cancel my donations to the Hurricane Club because the ‘Canes don’t play up to my expectations. 2012 could be a major test in our patience.
- Give them a chance to develop and get coached up before you go on Twitter and tell them you wish they were never born, etc.
- Allow Golden to bring in his guys and realize what he is working with. Just because the player looked good in high school does not mean that he will be all-world in his first, or seventh, college football game. It could take a season, or two, or three.
- Don’t call them the “Baby ‘Canes.” This phrase is jinxed. The University of Miami is ranked #38 in the nation, y’all are smart enough to come up with something new.
- Above all else, enjoy this time where we – hopefully – will be able to see the stark improvement in our program and enjoy watching these young men develop. The future is now.