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Come with me to Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics

I went on a NBA court!

On the fourth and final day of the summit we went to two new stadiums, starting with the Hardrock Stadium. When I found out we were going to this stadium I was so excited as it is the home of the Miami Formula 1 Grand Prix!

We got a guided tour round the multi-purpose stadium learning about NFL and other events the stadium is used for. The tour started in the main reception where a giant NFL Super Bowl ball was on display, it was designed by Tristan Eaton in a Miami theme. There was also a Miami Dolphins honour roll naming their best players over the years, including the winning 1972 squad.

We then went to the home changing room and oh my god it was HUGE! An NFL squad has 53 players, with only 22 playing at one time so it makes sense why the room was so big … but compared to the changing rooms I’ve seen I was shocked! In comparison to the large room, the TV screens were tiny! In the middle of the room was a carpeted dolphin which only the players are allowed to walk on. At the back of the room was there bathrooms, which compared to football clubs in England was much more private with individual toilets and showers available.

We next went to the trophy room. It didn’t seem much like a trophy room, it instead reminded me of a restaurant with the amount of chairs there was. The room was very dark and the trophies were behind glass so it was hard to get a good view, though there were a lot on show!

This stadium just proved how rich Americans are, we went into ‘The 72 Club’ which is ridiculously expensive! It had a bar, which was empty when we went as they were out of season. Guests have access to free food and drink throughout game day. Guests with tickets to the ‘The 72 Club’ had their own entrance with valet parking which was a common theme in The States.

Now the NFL season has ended the stadium is being adapted to hold the Miami Open Tennis Tournament and the Formula One in a few months. The pitch had been removed and the tennis courts were in the process of being installed, we got to see the behind the scenes of this from one of the many boxes. The Hard Rock Stadium has a cable car that goes round the outside, the tour guide said its mainly used for Formula One so I really hope to see the view from up there one day!!

The Hard Rock Stadium also has a nightclub and an arcade captalising on the Miami lifestyle!!

We had another afternoon of guest speakers before heading of to an NBA game. To reach our car on the way out we had to cross the F1 track!! I had a kid in a candy store moment and was so excited to be driving on an actual Formula One track, of course I took so many pictures in a once in a lifetime situation! Hopefully next time I’m in Miami we see some cars driving round the track.

The final stop on our summit was the Kaseya Center to watch Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics in the NBA! This was the first time we went into central Miami after spending the rest of the week in and around Fort Lauderdale. It felt like a taller, hotter and a more chaotic version of London. The general vibe of the city was negative with the people being rude and just unhelpful.

We parked in an underground carpark, after paying and parking up we were told the lifts to get out weren’t switched on for another hour … so we were basically trapped. We did eventually manage to get out by going through the entrance barrier but it was poorly sign posted and the people inside were so unhelpful.

Once in the stadium the people’s manners didn’t improve and the security to get in (despite having a disabled entrance) was so chaotic! When the tickets were booked only standard seats were available so we had to get them changed to wheelchair spaces on the night, thankfully this was a smooth process and we finally met a helpful member of staff! Our seats were near the top of the stadium … if I didn’t have vertigo before the match, I definitely did after lol. We still had a pretty good view of the court. As soon as we entered the stadium the legend shirts were visibly hung around the top, the first thing that came to mind was High School Musical… though unfortunately Troy Bolton wasn’t in attendance!

Before tip-off I went to the shop to get a Miami Heat jersey, something strange about NBA jerseys is that you can’t buy one without a name! So with the help of the store staff I chose Jimmy Butler for the back of my shirt … and after watching the game I think it was a pretty good choice.

Something I found strange was that the fans from both teams were mixed… I couldn’t imagine putting English football fans together they must be much more placid in America! Another thing I found strange was the lack of certainty when it came to the time the game started, for example this match was meant to start at 7.30pm but tip off wasn’t till 7.45pm!

The NBA has such a busy schedule with games being played on consecutive days, this was Miami Heat’s second game after losing 105-96 to Memphis Grizzlies the night before. When I learnt about their schedule I was amazed especially with how energetic each game is!

The game itself was super-fast paced! In the first quarter it felt like every shot went in, with the Heat going in 42-29 behind. I preferred this game more then the NHL game as I have a bit more of an idea what was going on and could follow the play.

As this was the end of our trip we were all super tired so I don’t really remember most of the game and the atmosphere wasn’t the most amazing compared to when I went to London Lions.

The Celtics were completely dominant winning the game 143-110 and had the lead for the whole game. I was expecting more from Miami Heat from what I’d heard about them, but the Celtics were top of the Eastern Conference league so probably should be expected.

After the game I got a crazy opportunity to go onto the court! The rest of my group got to do a free throw but because I couldn’t do this I was allowed on the actual court for some pictures. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I was amazed to have the chance of being on a basketball court in a country where it’s the biggest sport, so thank you to UCFB!

This was the end of my Miami Summit with UCFB, and what a week it was! I had the most amazing time meeting some great people and experiencing things I never otherwise would be able to … a week I will never forget!!

Come back tomorrow to read my final post about our journey back to England!

Thank you for reading!

Ellie Xx


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