I was lazy and showed up at 6:15.
Ray Muñiz, Billy Kolonias and two other friends arrived much earlier. Fans located in one particular lot at Sun Life Stadium (the blue lot) were allowed to begin setting up at 5 a.m. Muñiz and Kolonias were playing dominoes between sips of Miller Lite around 6:30.
South Beach isn’t exactly their speed, but they did their duty all the same. Muñiz fished on a canal all night before arriving at the stadium around 4:30.
“We originally wanted to catch some gators and bring them to the stadium, but we couldn’t find any,” Muñiz said.
That’s probably for the best. Instead, the fishermen settled on alligator gar. As proof, Muñiz pulled out his iPhone and showed off a picture. Nasty fish, the alligator gar.
A fan of the Canes since the early 1980s, Dave Rodriguez went to bed around 9:30 p.m. on Friday to start his Saturday tailgating around 5:30 a.m. He grew up in Hialeah and now lives near Sarasota. Rodriguez’s partying days are over but that didn’t stop him from starting Saturday morning off with a bloody Mary. He sautéed onions and hash browns in a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet while speaking of joy and lament. He was hopefully for a successful season, but, like most longtime Canes fans, he expressed bitterness about the end of a rivalry.
“It’s terrible but it really ended way back when Florida had their excuse to quit playing,” said Rodriguez, who cooked in a green and orange apron decorated with Hurricanes logos. “All the good rivalries seem to be going away.”
When is it socially acceptable to drink before dawn? At parties and funerals.