And thus will begin the first of (what will hopefully be) a trifecta of posts recapping the University of Miami “Band of the Hour” and our recent trip to San Francisco, Califonia to play in the Emerald Bowl against the University of California-Berkley (a.k.a. “Cal”). It was an extremely busy and eventful weekend, both good and bad, and I thought the best way to break down all the events of the trip would be to separate my recap into three sections: the hospitality that UM and the “Band of the Hour” experienced while in San Francisco, a recap of the game, and a commentary on my personal experience on the trip. This is the first of those three sections: a recap on the hospiatlity that we experienced.
As a preface, this will most likely be the most bitter of all the sections, as, despite the loss in the game, I was the least impressed with the welcome that we received from the Emerald Bowl organization.
I’ll start with the good, though. I was very pleased with the welcome that everyone from Miami receieved from the San Francisco residents. Everyone we met walking the streets of San Francisco (more on this in later posts) that was not wearing Cal colors (and even some that were!) were very friendly, welcoming us to their city and asking if we were enjoying our trip. The owners of restaurants and shops were polite and friendly, and the city as a whole was extremely beautiful.
Unfortunately, the Emerald Bowl organization did not show us the same amount of enthusiasm. At our first pep rally, Gary Cavalli, the Executive Director of the Emerald Bowl said something to the effect of, “It has been our dream for the seven years we have had the Emerald Bowl to have the University of California play in our game.” Miami’s only claim to fame, according to Cavalli, was that we were a “prestigious program with lots of history.” There was no mention of any specific deesire by the Emerald Bowl organization to have Miami as a part of their game.
The organization of the actual game was not much better. Seating-wise, the “Band of the Hour” also found itself at a disadvantage. The seating chart for the game was as follows:
Click the image for a larger version. The Cal band had seats along the right end zone, in section 137. The “Band of the Hour?” Why we were up the “third base line,” one section back, in section 121. Half the band was underneath the overhang from the upper deck. Since we were so far away from the field, the ESPN crews didn’t have a very good opportunity to reach the band, and we got almost no TV time, as compared to the Cal band, who was on quite a few times.
The game was destined to be a frustration from the beginning, by the fact that Cal was exactly 12 miles from their campus and Miami was 3,117 miles from campus. It was frustrating, though, how what was supposed to be a neutral site that had bias from the fans turned into a neutral site that had bias from the organization, as well.
Stay tuned for my next post, a recap on the game itself!