Miami is an…interesting…place.
I lived in Miami for two years after graduating from Indiana University and after living my entire life in Bloomington and West Lafayette (strange combo, I know). I’d been to Miami many times before, perhaps once a year on average, because my mom grew up there and we still have a lot of family down there.
Still, actually living in Miami was a pretty big culture shock for a small town Indiana dude like me.
That is why I am taking some time this morning to provide a few tips to all of the Hoosiers who will be heading down to Miami this week and next for the Super Bowl.
I know that many Colts fans made the jaunt a few years back when Indy beat Chicago in the Super Bowl, so some will have familiarity with the city, but I am sure that there will be many other Miami newbs bopping around las calles de Miami for the next fortnight. Those people need serious, expert, no-tongue-in-check-whatsoever advice.
And that’s why you come to Midwest Sports Fans.
First off, as has been immortalized in many movies, TV shows, songs, and video games, Miami can be a dangerous place. Luckily for you, one of the jobs I had in Miami was a face-to-face marketing gig for clients like the Florida Marlins and Pizza Hut that placed me directly in some of Miami’s most notorious areas.
Yes, I have seen the parts of Miami that most pampered, suburban Midwesterners would have trouble conjuring up even in their most frightening of nightmares. Among the areas that you might want to stay away from if you’re visiting Miami from Indianapolis (and thus, will naturally look a gigantic tool and stick out like a sore thumb):
- Overtown – I know it sounds like it could be a nice area with cool outlet shopping, but it’s not. I think it got its name because you have a fair chance of your life being over if you go there.
- Liberty City – You should not confuse this with the touristy part of Philadelphia and think that you’ll see historic bells or get lessons on the Continental Congress. Rather, the people of Liberty City might take liberty with your belongings – against your wishes – should you venture too far in. There’s a reason one of the Grand Theft Auto games was named “Liberty City Stories”.
- Carol City – I know that the name sounds pretty innocent, and Carol City is actually immediately south of where Sun Life Stadium is, but this is another area where Midwesterners without any street savvy have no business being.
Now, for the record, I have been to all three of these places, gone door to door even at night, and I’m still here writing about them after having no issues. The fact of the matter is that some of the nicest, most genuine people I met in Miami – and they are few and far between – lived in these areas.
However, I also had a coworker get the snot beaten out of him and robbed one night too. So I guess I was lucky (which helped combat being incredibly naive/stupid). This has nothing do with race, creed, or anything else…the stats say you should stay away from these areas, and anyone in Miami would tell you the same thing. Heck, people who live in these areas would tell you to stay away, like they told me.
My advice to you: stick to the touristy areas where there are plenty of bright lights.
- South Beach is fun and colorful, though extremely expensive.
- Aventura has really nice shopping for all of the ladies out there.
- If you want a dinner recommendation, drive down to Shorty’s in Kendall one night. Amazing BBQ that I’ve been eating since I was a kid. (Do not, however, go to any of the other Shorty’s that have popped up. The original is by far the best.)
Other than that, I’m a relatively boring person, so I’ll defer to KVB for other Miami recommendations. He actually went out and had fun when he lived there. I, on the other hand, worked like a dog…and almost got bitten by many of them too.
With all of that said, I want to provide one more public service to my Indianapolis brethren preparing to make their trek to Miami. I have compiled some photos of Colts fans below and offered some friendly advice to these people, and to anyone who may resemble them.
Photo credit: AP Photo/AJ Mast
For all of the grandmas and grandpas out there, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by the reputation that Florida has for being a retirement haven. That’s Orlando and Tampa. You’re going to Miami…so leave the “rob me” wig and matching spectacles in the hotel room.
Look dude, if I had to profile the kind of person that would get their ass kicked in Miami about five minutes after getting off the plane, you’re it.
Now, I should mention that I own a miniature pinscher, often wear the jersey of my favorite team, and sometimes make the gestures of a turd sandwich when in front a camera. So, in a lot of ways, I’m just like the guy in this picture.
However, I don’t dress my dog up like a bitch, nor do I allow said photos to be published online as if proud of them.
You might want to put your wallet on a chain buddy. There are special sirens that go off in Miami when people like you arrive. You may not actually have “kick my ass” written on the back of your shirt…but it won’t matter. To really show my kinship with the other Midwesterners reading this post, I’ll quote the famous country lyric: “you say it best when you say nothing at all.”
Photo by Jason Clark, Courier Press
This is what it looks like when people in Indianapolis go clubbing: lots of chubby, goofy white people wearing Peyton Manning jerseys. This is decidedly not what it looks like when people in Miami go clubbing.
Friends from Indianapolis, I still go back to Miami from time to time. Please do not embarrass me by showing up to South Beach clubs with your jerseys, goatees, sweat stains, and random muscle spams (oh…that’s dancing?). I’ll catch all kinds of grief next time I go down there. Let’s try not to embarrass ourselves too much, okay?
No, you cannot combat the scariest parts of Miami by making an angry face and pretending to be a hardass. Don’t try. Just get out of your car, hand over your wallet, or surrender your table, whatever is being asked of you. Don’t ask questions and don’t try to fight it. You’re from Indianapolis (from the Nap!…yeah!)…know your role.
Photo credit: Matt Kryger / The Star
Well this picture kind of sums up Colts fans doesn’t it? Wannabes.
What other fan base would straight copy another fan base’s historic piece of fan gear – the Packers’ cheesehead in this case – and paint over it to make it their own? Colts fans, that’s who.
Look Indy fans, you’ve enjoyed a hell of a run over the last decade thanks to Peyton Manning, Tony Dungy, and the brilliance of Bill Polian, but it’s hard for me to have too much respect for you knowing two things:
- The Colts had very little fan support before the team started winning. Go to Cleveland and see what real fan support is all about.
- The Pacers had great fan support when they were winning, yet now are basically an afterthought in the city. I guess this is what the Colts have to look forward to once Peyton retires.
Indianapolis, which is a city I’ve lived in and still love, remains a fair-weather, fake, second rate professional sports town. Cry in the comment section if you wish Dolts, but it’s true. Pictures like the one above – and no offense to the kid, who I’m sure was forced to wear the cheesehead by overbearing parents – prove that Indy fans can’t create traditions of their own so they steal them from others.
So. as you embark on your journey to sunny South Florida, here’s one more piece of advice Colts fans: don’t be lame.
Don’t wear blue “rob me” wigs in public, don’t put clothes on your mini dog and prance around town with him, don’t wear jerseys to clubs, don’t try to act like a hardass, and most certainly don’t walk around using another fan base’s tradition to pretend that yours actually has one.
Oh, and one more thing: no, your 14-0 start is not as impressive an accomplishment as the Dolphins’ 14-0 regular season in 1972 and subsequent perfect playoff run. Even if you win your 17th game in the Super Bowl. 17-2 does not equal 17-0.
Want to get your ass kicked real fast? Try arguing that down in Miami. You’d be safer sleeping in a tent in the middle of Overtown than spouting that nonsense anywhere in the vicinity of a Dolphins fan or, worse yet, former player.
Because here’s one final piece of advice: forget being frightened by Liberty City or Carol City; you never know when Mercury Morris might be lurking around the corner, ready to freestyle.
Update: My friend just emailed me the following good advice:
Get some drinks in and party but don’t get Indy hammered. A fight in broad ripple result in fists. Not always the case in Mia.
I know me of all people…like pot calling kettle, but last time I went to broad ripple I was kinda shocked with the level of blackout drunks.
Great advice here. The stakes are definitely higher in Miami. Don’t be a fool Hoosier natives.
Update: Here is more from the same friend, who once got separated from his friends on New Years Eve and ended up sleeping in the street until being serendipitously found the next day. We’re all lucky he’s still here to provide these expert tips:
I think the grove might be a better place for Indy fans. Unless of course you get to sip soda at the clevelander with mariotti
In Mia it is best to order drinks on the rocks and skip the mixer. Otherwise you’ll be drinking a 15$ coke.
Update: You can stop hating Colts fans. I picked the Colts to win in my official Saints-Colts Super Bowl spread pick and prediction post.
* – Mercury Morris photo credit: AP Photo – Charles Rex Arbogast via PennLive