The canoe didn’t reappear on campus until the hall of fame was built in the late ’80s and the two men donated it.
It’s quietly resided there ever since.
In 2010, UF freshman Andrew James Clyde Hart was playing a football video game when he heard something odd.
The announcer on the digital Gators vs. Hurricanes game said something about the teams playing for a war canoe. He’d heard it before, but the diehard Gators fan and history buff hit the books to do some research.
“I wondered, ‘Where is it?’ ” he said.
The last time the two teams met, the Gators won in Gainesville in 2008, Hart’s freshman year. He was at that game, a 26-3 rout.
After he learned of the Seminole War Canoe, he wanted it in Gainesville.
“It’s supposed to represent the fighting spirit,” he said. “And it was a gift.”
Hart, as a member of UF’s student senate in 2010, got a resolution passed to bring the trophy to UF and push for a return of the annual series. A copy of the resolution went out to newspapers and officials at both schools.
UM’s student government responded by saying they felt the tradition had withered along with the annual series.
“The rivalry between the schools has quietly diminished as the teams have only played five times in the past 20 years,” UM student officials wrote back.
The final winner in the regular series was the 1987 Hurricanes squad. And the chances of a regular UF-UM matchup are probably shot after this season.
Hart, who now studies at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, sent letters to newspapers again this year urgently trying to start the conversation about the canoe and a renewed annual rivalry.
“Now, the last game for the foreseeable future is upon us with no solution in the works,” he wrote. “The trophy should be the spark of the flame for an important discussion: Do we want to continue an incredible tradition?”
Mike Piacentino, chief of staff for UM’s current student government, said the canoe doesn’t symbolize what it used to.
“It is now a symbol of the former rivalry,” he said.
Hart hopes people remember the energy and spirit behind the old rivalry, even if the canoe stays in Miami. Even though time often washes away traditions, he wants people to remember this one.
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