Thoughts on the 305 Throwdown
Yes, I was there. And I wish I could give everyone here a better account than you’ve seen replayed on SportsCenter and/or the Local News 800 times over the past two days. But I can’t. See, by the time the third quarter rolled around, I was a little past drunk. I was to the point that I was falling off the Orange Bowl bleachers and would not sit down for fear of passing out. Because save for that third quarter brawl, the game was pretty much a snoozer.
At the time, it just looked like your typical bench-clearing melee that happens from time to time at sporting events. From the student section, you really couldn’t tell that helmets were flying and people were getting stomped. But, oh, did the crowd go crazy. The most noise I have heard out of the Orange Bowl all year. And what do you expect when you have two teams full of guys from Miami playing football? It’s a cross-town rivalry in a city where it is easier to get into a fight than it is to get a hamburger. Call it Latin Machismo, call it the heat, or call it Miami being a disgusting place, but people here love to throw down. So, really, nobody should be surprised that when you put two football teams on the field from a city where everyone loves to brawl that this would happen. The AD’s really should have had more foresight.
Given the fact that your typical Miamian is usually going around daring someone to question his masculinity, it should also be no surprise that the crowd of over 50,000 (pretty good for UM) was electrified by the on-field madness. But I realized something as I watched the replays of this brawl over 50 times since I left the game: Cane fans are not the only ones who are bloodthirsty. It’s actually pretty much everybody. Commentators (except Lamar Thomas) and students and administrators all love to give lip service to this being a “travesty” and “unacceptable” but in reality, everybody loves watching a good fight.
Think about it: If this were such a disgusting display, would it be replayed more than the highlights from, say, the #2 team in America being beaten? Or a baseball championship series? No, of course not. Networks aren’t stupid. They trot their anchors and pundits out to say how awful the fight is, but they know that showing a guy hitting another in the head with a helmet gets ratings. So for them, it really isn’t that much of a travesty, is it? Similarly, would anyone give a rats ass about UM football this year if it weren’t for that fight? Dare I say this game would have garnered nothing more than a score on the bottom of the screen somewhere between the Bethune Cookman game and the Dartmouth-Colgate result had it not featured a brawl worthy of a tunnel in South Bend. But now, good or bad, UM is back in the national spotlight. And as far as this program is concerned, any publicity is good publicity. That’s the Miami way.
But my point is further than this: While a lot of people will like to put down fights in sports like the Pistons-Pacers brawl a couple of years ago or this one, they are, in fact, good for the games. Why? Because it keeps people watching. It keeps people interested. It keeps people watching highlight shows that they would otherwise turn off. If for no other reason than to watch a man stomp another man on the ground and react with a chorus of “Ooooh, shit! Did you see that?” I really do love how the media and the administration act politically correct in denouncing sports fights. Like it or not, fans love them. They go to a game hoping to see one, and watch endless replays of them on TV afterwards. And then talk about them for days. Hockey takes the right approach so long as no one paralyzed. I suggest the other major sports stop lying to themselves and embrace fighting for what it is: A beneficial sideshow to an otherwise dull game. Here’s looking forward to next year’s 305 throwdown. You bet your ass the Golden Panthers will be out for blood.