Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Cane's perspective....

For those of you who don't know, I graduated from the University of Miami with my graduate degree in '06, and like all the Cane's fans I know, I am sickened by the allegations surrounding the UM football team right now.

I don't have to recap any of this story, one simply needs to Google University of Miami, read Yahoo Sports and/or visit the Miami Herald site to get the full scoop. What I am more interested in talking about is the mudslinging. The victimization and the demonization that's falling out right now.

I don't want to give any more talk about Shapiro. He's a scumbag looking to buy friends, business partners and fame. He clearly targeted people and took advantage of them, whether students or investors. But he knew how to work the system. He knew if he donated money he could get away with it. Is this whole thing entirely his fault? No. Not really. Why?

Well lets look at the University. You are going to tell me that he involved 70+ students in these things and no one knew? Since when did 18, 19, 20, 21-year-olds not talk about the crazy shit they got into over the weekend? I mean, damn, gossip flies through my office and it flew through my program. You are going to tell me nobody in administration knew? Then they must have been blind, deaf and dumb (and I mean dumb in the sense that they are stupid, not mute.) Come on, that's a crock. But you know what? Student athletes were staying and they were getting money and they let the greed and the need get in the way. And in the process they cheapened the prestige of my degree that I will be paying for over the next 15 years. Take some personal responsibility and learn that standing up to a donor that will cost you your reputation is a hell of a lot cheaper in the long-run.

And speaking of personal responsibility... These players that took these handouts knew that it was wrong. If something seems too much like a good thing, then it probably is (this goes for the university as well.) These players (who are actually only a select few when you look at how many student athletes there are) have greedily taken gifts that only last in the short-term and have made all of their teammates look bad as a result. I recognize that times are tough and the life of a student athlete is busy, but other people find ways.

Also, the media. So many people are taking this Shapiro's stories as totally legit. This asshole is in jail for screwing over thousands of people in a ponzi scheme. From what I have read he has admitted that he is saying all this to strike back at the people who wouldn't stand by him when he fell. Is there 100% proof of everything he says? I don't doubt that he paid for most of the things, and that many of these stories happened. Do I think it's 100% legit? Absolutely not. Things said in rage and revenge are often dramatized to some extent.

Do I think University of Miami is the only school to have this happen? Absolutely not. It's more lurid than most, but every school has this going on in collegiate athletics. Clearly something needs to be re-evaluated on a national level. And administrators needs to feel the pinch just as much as the students.

Don't get me wrong, I love University of Miami. I am a tried and true Cane. But there are alot of people who need to step up and take responsibility. And perhaps this is a wake-up call that your donors don't get to do whatever they want just because they wrote a big check. Afterall, you never know when it all gets taken back because that donor was a scam artist.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Things Seen in Miami Beach Before 8 am, Part 1

Recently, my fiance and I moved to Miami Beach. While we have been living here, we have seen an assortment of people, things, odd occurrences and happenings that can only be described as "only on the beach." One of these happenings happened this morning as my fiance was driving to work.

He called me to tell me about this immediately because we both would have busted out laughing and thought that it was really bizarre at the same time.

While driving north through Sunny Isles Beach, he sees a woman and her young daughter, maybe aged 4, running along side the road. The little girl is decked out in a head to toe pink running outfit and is not wearing a shirt. Both ladies are blond, in beach-speak means they are most likely German/European/not locals. Just a bit ahead of them, are the father and son running team, the son this time being about 8 years old, all blond and the boy isn't wearing a shirt. My fiance thinks that the little girl was emulating her older brother by running topless like him.

Now, there is definitely a huge running community in South Florida and especially on the beach. But taking your children running with you before 8 am is a little extreme and an only in Miami moment. First off, it's not normal for little kids to go running. They should be running around and playing with their other little friends, not training for the Iron Man. Second, it's almost child abuse as their little legs have to do double time to keep up with mom and dad's. And third, they were running along Collins Avenue in Sunny Isles, land of giant condominiums and traffic. Why wouldn't you take your small ones and run on the beach a block away?

So, if you see a family of blonds running in this year's ING, it was them. Training the whole family at the break of dawn.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

South Florida Public Transportation

For those of you who don't know, I work a considerable distance away from my home in South West Dade county, and for the past year-and-a-half I have been driving with a carpool buddy, but then she had the audacity to quit on me! As a result I have finally bitten the bullet and started taking the Tri-Rail. I avoided it for a number of reasons, including the time it adds to my commute and my doubt that any sort of public transit in South Florida can reliable. Then I discovered that several of my coworkers use the train and swore by it.

However, it's not that bad. Yes it does add about 1-1.5 hours to my commute, but it's so much less stressful to drive the 25 minutes to the station. So, after about a month and a half of taking the Tri-Rail, this is my list of pros and cons.

1. I save a ton of money on gas and tolls
2. My employer is part of the Employee Discount Program so it's only $75 a month to ride (it cost me more in 1 week to drive)
3. The trains are typically on time, and you can sign up for alerts to find out if they aren't
4. There are shuttles from the station to my job
5. Shockingly, everyone who works for Tri-Rail has been extremely helpful, polite and friendly (this might be a sign of the Apocalypse.)
6. The trains are air conditioned (usually)
7. It's pretty easy to get tickets and refill my pass
8. I get a chance to read and listen to music - this is a great way to decompress after the work day
9. There are generally not that many crazies, as most people take the train to work
10. You can take the train to the Fort Lauderdale airport and save a considerable amount of money by not taking a cab
11. Even when the train is late, you can comfort yourself by looking at 95 with the realization that you don't have to sit in that traffic

1. It sucks when the AC breaks on the train
2. The train is surprisingly busy so if you get on in the middle of the tracks during rush hour, it can be difficult to find seats -- especially if one car has broken AC
3. I have to book it to get to my shuttle so that I don't have to stand
4. I often look like a bag lady with too many things hanging off me
5. You can only buy the Easy Pass at 3 different stations, and their hours are all different and that's highly inconvenient
6. Sometimes people like to ask you if you "have faith"
7. People LOVE to interrupt you while you are reading to ask you if you "like your Kindle." It's very difficult to stop yourself from saying, "no, I hate it. that's why I am staring at it so fiercely"
8. All the stops are open-air. This sucks when it's raining or really hot
9. It's a gigantic pain in the ass when there's an accident on the tracks (the motorcycle accident last Friday shut things down and I didn't get to work until 10:15 a.m. Normally I'm there by 8:30)
10. If you park at the Miami Airport you have to park down the street from the station. It's not a far walk but it's the only station with that set-up and there's no security in the parking lot.