« Tuesday practice report: Wright update, kicking battle, Calais and the NFL | Main | Thursday's practice report »

Remembering: The OB and Bryan Pata

Earlier this week, I promised you a forum to talk about your fondest Orange Bowl memories as well as your feelings on the anniversary of Bryan Pata's murder. This is the place.

Personally, I just wanted to share some of my thoughts on both subjects. As many of you know, I was Obowl2_4 born and bred in this city -- just like a lot of your Miami Herald Sports Writers. At 29, I've got lots of great memories about the OB including the first time my father took me to a Hurricanes game when I was 4 years old. It was back in 1982 and I'm not even sure who the Canes were playing, but I remember it was a hot afternoon. I'll never forget it because my old man still laughs to this day about how he tried to fool me into going home at halftime, telling me the game was over. He tells me I refused and kept telling him "but the people are still here."

I got to enjoy games strictly as a fan up until about 2000, that's about the time I became a full-time writer and had to become "unbiased." But I'll never forget my last game as a true fan -- watching Ken Dorsey find Jeremy Shockey in the end zone to beat No. 1 Florida State. I remember having so much fun, sitting in the West End Zone and just going nuts that game. I can't remember it being louder. There are other memories, including being there the night the 58-game home winning streak ended against Washington. Even the nights I wasn't at the OB, I just remember wishing I was. Like when UM crushed Notre Dame 58-7. I had the chicken pox and couldn't go. And the night Flutie tossed that Hail Mary. I wanted to be there to knock the pass away. And the 1988 Orange Bowl when the Canes beat The Boz and Oklahoma.

I hate to admit it, but I actually got a little emotional walking into the place last Saturday for the N.C. State game. It's hard to imagine this place I've always passed on the way to my grandmothers house will not be here next year. I know for some of you it means even more. And of course there are others who can't wait to be at Dolphins Stadium next year. But I'm sure even you can remember some of the old good times at the OB. I'm just happy we'll have one more night this Saturday against Virginia.

As for Bryan Pata, I wish there were so many more. I'll never forget the last day I spent with Bryan -- just me and him. I came to UM to do a video interview -- sort of an MTV Cribs/Day In The Life Bryan_pata experience. We met for lunch on campus then rode in his SUV to his apartment in Kendall. He gave me the tour and introduced me to his dog and showed me a few of his interesting collectibles. He gave me all this time just to talk about his family and his friends, his hobbies and told how he fixed up cars. Bryan and I had known each other since his junior year in high school, when I tabbed him the No. 1 recruit in Miami-Dade in his class. He was at North Miami High then, but we got to know each other even more his senior year when he was at Central. I'll never forget how he cried when the ruled him ineligible his senior season, how upset he was he had cost his team to forfeit the first five games of his season.

PatapicEven though I covered the high schools for most of the time Bryan was at UM, every time I went out to UM to help out, he'd come over and give me a pat on the head or one of those fist taps. When I finally started covering the team full time last season, he was the first player to really greet me after a practice. He was happy I was now covering the team and I even remember him calling over a few of the other former Dade high school guys to say hello. That's how Bryan was. He never forgot anybody. He never let his fame get to his head. All he wanted to after his senior season was buy his mother a house with his NFL millions. Everytime we talked, he always reminded me how one day it was going to happen.

When I got the call he had been shot, I was out playing a softball game at Brian Piccolo Park in Broward. I left the field immediately and rushed over to UM. I couldn't believe it and it didn't hit me until I ran into Eric Moncur and some of the other Dade guys and saw their faces. All I've kept asking myself since is why. Sadly, Bryan's killer is still at large to this day. Like everyone in the UM community I long for the day that person is brought to justice and we finally find some answers to the sad mystery.

But for you, Bryan I just want you to know you are missed. And to the OB, you will be too.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

God is looking after Bryan now but his time on this earth was to short, he is missed. We have held season tickets to the Canes since 1992 while living in Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, Florida and now Illinois. The family, kids and all have made it to at least two to three games a year and we all loved the Orange Bowl. The one consolation is my son, who is now a Miami freshman, is able to say he was able to watch the Canes in the the final year of the OB.

Posted by Gary Ferman of Canesport

Here is further evidence why you lay off Patrick Nix Reply

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
this is what he is dealing with this year.

According to a source who was privy to the goings on at the time, Miami called time out on that last drive and the coaches told Kirby they were going to throw the fade route to Sam Shields. They reminded him to take a 2 step drop and get rid of the ball so the CB didnt have time to get in position to make the play on the ball.

What did Kirby do? He took a 4 step drop and delivered the ball late, almost getting it intercepted.

So when they got into OT, they had zero confidence in throwing the ball. Thats why the call was made to run on third and nine and set up the field goal (I still think this was a mistake, but......).

Apparently, this lack of execution was the story of the entire day, very similar to what happened in Norman.

On the pass to Darnell that almost was a TD, the ball actually was supposed to go to Kayne, who was wide open down the middle.

Rest in peace Bryan. I'm sure he'll be watching down on his team Saturday night. God be with his family and closest friends and teammates during this time. Manny, good job making those of us who didn't know him like you make a connection with the way he lived. Your piece makes me feel like I knew him by the activities and way of life he followed.

Hey Manny,
Nice to take time out from the hot topics to remember some things and some people are much bigger than football.
peace

Manny great post
Bryan Pata will always be remembered by cane fans. R.I.P

For resent years the come back against the gators is at the top of my list. and when i was a freshman in high school getting kicked out of a temple game for throwing a ball on the field.

I remember going to the locker room to get my brother and Vinny picking me up by my ankles. There is a 8 1/2 year difference between my brother and I so I was only 9 years old at the time. My brother only played for a year, but JJ and team treated my family as if we were all family. This is what is so great about THE U. We are all family.

My dreams were crushed when THE U lost those scholarships in the mid 90's. I am a '95 grad so I missed out. My family could not afford for me to go so I couldn't even walkon. So off to UTenn I went. It wasn't the same. It didn't feel like family there. So I too only played for a short time. I just followed other dreams I had.

I was actually there for the Washington loss. Oh, what heart ache. Growing up, going to all those home games, and winning them. I didn't think THE U would ever lose a home game.

WOW, so many games I could talk about, but here are some I remember the most. Brock Berlin's comeback against UF (I took a buddy who is a UF fan - let me just say it was a long car ride home to Lakeland), Brock Berlin's comeback against WVU (Merriweather got trucked - sorry I had to bust), Frank Gore's score in OT against FSU, the drive to beat FSU after 6 straight losses in 2000, and...and...and...

I am from Lakeland (Go Dreadnaughts! - Sorry St. Thomas) so when Ray Lewis went to THE U I thought that was very special.

And the coolest thing ever...I met my wife through some mutual friends. She is a UF grad, but told me the day I met here she bleeds orange and green. She won me over right there. She grew up in Kendall and her father went to THE U. So as you can see there is a lot of history I have with THE U. I just wish I could have played for them.

We will be there this weekend so if any of you football players are reading this, it means a lot to a lot of people to be apart of THE U. So remember what you are apart of, keep your heads up, and know that WE are behind you 110%. Let's win this one! If I could dress, I would. Remember you are very lucky and blessed to be apart of this program. GO CANES!

im 15 years old, ive always been a UM fan even since i was a baby, my parents dressed me in UM clothes and everything. I may not have been around for the 80's,(but trust me i probably kno more stats on those teams than any1) but i can just imagine how the OB would have rocked in a notre dame game. But i remember the 1st time i really became a U fan was when e edgerrin james was at the U, he was just so good he amazed me, and then the 2000's came and thats when UM became dominant. I remember the dorsey shockey connection to beat fsu , and i ofcourse remember the championship in 01, and how shitty i felt when we lost to ohio state teh next year....But my best UM memory(so far)is the 1st time i ever went to a UM game( i have season tickets now) was when we came back against the gators in 04

I don't even know where to begin with my orange bowl memories....I remember running the entire field late after games as my parents and friends would keep tailgating after another Canes win, waiting for autographs outside of the locker room, and just growing up in the stadium. I almost get teary-eyed when I realize my kids won't be able to have barely any Orange Bowl memories....too many big games and good times to remember them all, but a few of my favorite were Randall "Thrill" Hill catching a 44yd pass on 3rd and 43 against ND, EVERY UM-FSU game (We had to win about 90% of them), the old"Yamma-Yamma" guy with the chearleaders, the old plastic "team of the 80s" cups, catching the mini-footballs from the chearleaders, finding a way to get on the field on the open endzone, and discovering the West endzone....what a sad day Nov. 10th will be.....

Memories of the OB begin clearly for me in 1983. My dad took me to the game against Hostetler and West Virginia, we shut them out and went on to win the national title. In 84 I was sitting in the west end zone upper deck, along with about 20 other people, watching UM go up 31-0 over Maryland at the half only to sit there in disbelief as the lead quickly evaporated behind Frank Reich's first miracle comeback of his career. Then in 85 the hurricanes began their home dominance. Nothing compares to the Notre Dame game in 89. The place was packed and rocking with anticipation an hour before kickoff. That was the loudest I have ever heard the Orange Bowl. It was simply incredible. I could go on and on, thanks for the memories. I hope someday we can have something similar in Dolphin Stadium.

RIP Big Guy (#95)! You'll never been forgotten

Well, I'm only 13 years old and reding this blog made me tery-eyed. I've been wacthing the 'Canes since I was eight months old (my dad wedged me into the corner of the couch) and have loved the 'Canes ever since. My family has had season tickets since '71 and I,ve been going to every game for the last ten years. I'm going to miss the OB. It is like my home away from home. It just won't be the same without it. My six favorite moments in th OB are: 6. When we stomped Washington at home as a revenge as breaking the streak 5. McGahee's six TD's against VT to clinch our spot in the Fiest Bowl 4. Wide left in '01 courtesy of FSU 3. The Gator game in '03 where we came back from an unpresendented amount (THEN TO RUB IT IN MY GATOR FANS FACES') 2. Against BC last year when we won on Thanksgiving to clinch a bowl birth, then they remember Pata on the field and 1. Saved for Sat. night 7:15, the last game at the OB, WHICH WE WILL WIN!!!

Hey guys, who's this new Northwestern commit?

This is for you Manny....

"TeleMundooooooooo!!"

Manny I remember the Orange Bowl as some place I would go on my way to grandma's house too! I cant imagine the city without that bowl in the middle.

I remember that Canes vs FSU game and the Dorsey to Shockey drive. Also the UCLA game postponed by a hurricane and Edge had 300 yards and we all rushed the field. The last second loss to Penn State the next year.
Parking in peoples yards and walkin the streets, buying pinchos from the carts on the corners of each block. I think it's tragic that they are leaving. Thanks for givin us a place to remember the OB. Nothing will ever replace the OB!

Favorite OB memories: Childhood in the 1970s watching a submediocre team in a cavernous stadium and watching a gradual buildup, mostly starting with a win against top 10 FSU by way of Jim Burt knocking away a 2 point conversion and beginning the road toward respect. Then, 1983 came along with a host of home dominance (Notre Dame, WVU at homecoming) that nearly disappeared in a late season game vs. East Carolina. The 'Canes barely came back to take a slim lead, and as highlight films from that year neglect to show, ECU narrowly missed winning the game in the last minute when two of their wide open receivers ran into each other instead of one of them hauling in the long pass and scoring an easy touchdown. This game, along with a late comeback in Tallahassee, allowed the matchup vs. "best ever" Nebraska in the OB. There was no BCS, and UM was ranked #4 and 5 depending on which of the 2 bowls you liked going into the day. Neb. was 1, UTexas was 2 (these were the only undefeateds), 3 was Auburn and the other 4/5 was Illinois. Texas narrowly lost to Ga. in the Cotton earlier in the day and Illinois got trounced by UCLA in the Rose Bowl just prior to kickoff, along with Auburn winning unimpressively vs. a fair Michigan team in the Sugar. Suddenly the OB was likely a championship game when a few hours earlier in the day this wasn't a consideration. UM jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead with Bernie and the gang, blew the lead (can you say "Fumblerooski?"), then came out in the second half smoking to take back a 14 point (31-17) lead before seeing a magical late 4th qtr. Nebraska drive turn into a nightmare for UM (several 4th down conversions a TD with under a minute left). 31-30, I think 48 seconds left, and Osborne at Nebraska decides to go for 2 instead of settling for a tie and a likely national championship. In the right side of the open endzone a pass is just glanced away by a few fingertips of the DB and the place went wild. The whole atmosphere was the most excited I've ever seen in all my years of attending. Fans danced in circles around cops directing traffic after the game and they simply laughed....the feel was magical. UM wasn't ever seen as a football champion. It was an amazing beginning for championship runs and great games for the OB.

On a sad note, the team's top two wide receievers were the amazing Eddie Brown and a talented Stanley Shakespeare (#6). Stan Shakespeare died an untimely death a few years ago after falling off of his fishing boat in rough seas. He was a likeable guy who said things like they were. In this time of remembering Pata, RIP Stan Shakespeare, also.

Manny great post on Bryan and the OB. Bryan will always be remembered by the Canes fans. I grew up in Ohio and have been a long time Cane Fan since I was little. I take a lot of heat from OSU fans but I always defend the U till I am almost at blows. Its strange how the U can catch your attention just from watching them on TV. My first game at the OB wasn't until last years game against BC. I am proud to say I got to express my thoughts to Doug Flutie, while he was down towards to West End zone. Believe me it was sweet revenge. I will be at the last game on Saturday and plan on helping the Canes to a victory against VA. GO CANES!!!

Manny,

Any stats or info on the new committ from Northwestern? I see him on Scout, but not Rivals. There is no real info available on him. He must be one of Shannon's ideal "sleepers." like Andrew Smith and CJ Odom.

Some of my best memories of the OB are from my days in High School. I will never forget going to games for free because my high school football team (Go Boca High Bobcats c/o 2001) volunteered to hand out those score card things after the game. But the memories come from never showing up to hand the things out because the game would be to good to leave and then after the game going onto the field and playing a mini game with my team mates and thinking that we played for the U. The look from the field up to the stands is a memory that I will never forget. I can't believe this Saturday is going to be the last time there. I have parked in the same lot since I have been able to drive. I have the same pregame ritual everytime and now it all has to change.

Wow, Manny. Thanks for sharing your memories of the OB and especially of Brian Pata - many of us know so little about him and it's nice to get your personal perspective. As for the OB, I have so many good memories I don't even know where to start. My most recent out of mind experience was Brock Berlin's comeback against UF. I remember going nuts as he demonstrated his own version of the Gator Chop... Good times. :)

manny real heart warming i think your best blog to date.

Great job Manny , My greatest OB moment was my first time I went to at the Orange Bowl , my high school coach took my to the FSU vs. UM game in 2002 WIDE LEFT I !!!! I remember being down at the half and talking to my dad on the phone and telling him how we're going to comeback and win that they need to start the second half right now and skip halftime and always remember Chris Rix getting hammed in the air by Vilma and Willis' screen pass and the players storming the field with their helmets raised in the air after the missed FG........what great memories

R.I.P to Bryan Pata thoughts and prayers go out to your friends and family , U will never be forgotten

Manny,

Still out there playing softball at Brian Piccolo?

Im out there on Wed nights

My fondest memories of UM at the OB:
1) The biggest play in UM football history when Kenny Calhoun tipped away Nebraska's 2-point conversion for the 1st National Championship. They should put a statue of him on the UM campus somewhere.
2) My first Miami game in 1961 was George Mira's 1st game. A loss against Pittsburgh in a driving rainstorm.
3)Devin Hester returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown in his first game followed by Brock Berlin's spectacular comeback v UF.
4)Every game that Ted "the mad stork" Hendricks played in the OB. He was amazing.
5)Miami's upset of Todd Blackledge & #1 Penn State on Halloween in 1981.

My family has had the same tickets at the OB since 1940 when my great grandfather moved down here. The oldest male of my family gets to sit on the aisle and as crazy as it sounds I was looking forward to the day that I was able to inherit the tickets and take my kids to the crazy/terrible/ugly/loud amazing OB.

i am only 22, so i dont have memories that date back but I love my canes.

I remember the wide right 2 when i was little and thought that i was going def.
wide right 3 where we got screwed for the national championship after ruining weinke's heisman season.
wide left and limiting vick to do nothing.

the florida game where brock berlin and kellen winslow were incredible.

the louisville game where i didnt think that the University of Miami could score that much and let up that many points and i was freaking out.

the point is, i love the ob. i love the way it smells. the way it sounds. how it doesnt cost 1 million dollars to go to a game.

we share miami heat tickets because when they moved from the Miami Arena to the AAA we didnt wnat to pay $150 a seat for lower level seats. and thats happening again. it doesnt matter how much money you make, we are being screwed again for a more expensive terrible football experience.

i am going to miss the ob and being able to afford a hot dog at the game. good luck to our kickers who cant even cook at the OB that now have to kick on the dirt.

i will always remember those years where the OB was empty with Kenny kelly and scott covington where no one was at the OB but it was still great.

i cant wait for this emotional day.

on another note, i pray for brian pata's family. i wish we could brian his murderers to justice that he and his family deserve. god bless him.

NC game v Oklahoma and the Boz.
1984 AFC Championship game. Fins v the Steelers. Marino, Clayton and Duper.
The Penn State game when they beat the U in the final minute with a bomb to Choppy Fields...in the rain. Brutal.
VT v UM, Willis scores 6 TD's.

Chose UM as a grad student in 1987, partly to experience big time college football (came from a DII state school in CA).

First game I experienced with my wife, JR, Stan--1987, a win against UF; last game Jan. 1992 a win for the NC against Nebraska in the Orange Bowl game (rained the day of the game so no half-time show!).

Never saw them lose at the Bowl in the 5 seasons that I was there--three national championships--don't think many students anywhere could have been as fortunate to have had those great experiences. Ended up in the west end zone for three years--boy was that loud and electrifying at those big time night games! A teammate of mine in the law school softball league once said that when the Canes lost, it felt worse than losing a girlfriend--students, fans, felt so bad losing just one game (got to get that feeling back--hear that Miami recruits!)

Those special years--a time in my life that I'll never forget, but sad now that I won't have the chance to see the Canes there again with my wife or take my young girls to an Orange Bowl game. Getting antsy now just knowing that I can't make it to the last game. For those lucky people at the game tomorrow--enjoy, take in the moment, and remember the good times of the past. We'll get back on top, just need to create a new presence at DS. GO CANES!

I can't believe the day is actually here and when I wake up in the morning it's going to be the last time I jump out of bed excited to be going to watch my Canes at the OB. The thing I looked forward to the most all year is going to be gone forever and I still don't know how I'm going to deal with that. After all these years I never thought this would actually happen. I could never imagine the Canes playing anywhere else. I know some people think it's old and run down but I still think she's a beautiful queen. I passed by last night and just sat there looking in from the east end zone remembering all the great times I've had in there and it was almost too much to bear.

It's more than a stadium, it's a place where many people have been shaped into who they are. It's a symbol in a city that doesn't have many others. Passing by the OB on the expressway always let you know where you were. You were in Miami. Now I feel like I'm going to be lost. I can't imagine it not being there. The thought just doesn't fit into my head. A place that meant so much to so many people doesn't deserve this kind of ending but I don't even want to talk about the events that lead to this. I just want to celebrate the old girl for everything she's meant to me and what I'm sure she's meant to many other people.

There is no place like her anywhere and I will miss her more than I ever thought I would miss an inanimate object. The reason is even though she is made out out steel, she still has a soul. That soul is what made it so special. What gave it the atmosphere it had. It's the "ghosts" that come out and make their presence felt. It is what I will never forget as long I have air in my lungs and orange and green blood running through my veins.

As I sit here under the framed panoramic picture of her that hangs over my bed I realize how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to call the OB home for the past 25 years and witness some of the greatest games and moments in football history. To do touchdown push-ups on my friend's shoulders, to sing "you've lost that loving feeling" to girls passing by us in the tunnels Top Gun style, to know that there was no other place in the world I would rather be at that moment. Some of my personal highlights are Wide Right II (Lamar Thomas catching the go ahead TD in the 4th), Wide Right III (Dorsey to Shockey will forever be sketched in my mind), '01 destruction of Washington (amazing payback for snapping the streak in '94 and the loss the year before that along with the BCS kept us from a championship), '02 Wide Left (McGahee's screen) and of course THE COMEBACK in '03 v. UF (I still can't believe that happened) among others. Biggest regret was missing the UCLA game in '98 (was playing in a high school basketball game and had one of my teammate's mom going back and forth from the car to the bench giving us updates). Hopefully tomorrow night will be another highlight to add to the list. I'll have my camera going non-stop and will be soaking it up. I know even though she might not be there any more soon, there is a piece of that OB soul in me that will be with me forever. GO CANES!

P.S to everyone that's going to the game. Let's take the old girl out with one last amazing night on the town.

The comments to this entry are closed.