Leave the Pots and Pans at Home, Miami

As The Dissident, J.J. Colagrande turns his critical eye on Miami culture. This week: Pots and pans are played out.

I found it weird in 1997 when the Marlins won a World Series. I considered it bizarre in 2003 when the Marlins repeated. It returned when the Heat won in 2006, and again last year, and again last week.

Freaking pots and pans, man.

Banging on pots and pans is a stupid ritual. Sorry. I didn't want to say it like that, but it's true.

Yes, we are a city with a Latin infusion, filled with rhythm. Banging on a pot or pan is sort of like banging on a drum, and that connects to the percussion of a Latin culture.

Yes, the desire to make noise after the Heat's victory is contagious, and what's louder and easier to access than a pot and a pan and a mallet and a spoon? It's cheap and loud. It's definitely better than starting fires and turning over cars like they do in other cities, or shooting guns like some in Miami do during New Year's Eve.

But why isn't beeping a car horn enough? Maybe some fireworks? Or just some plain old hollering?

Look, it's been an awesome year. The Spurs series really tested us, and was definitely the toughest challenge the Miami Heat and its Heat Nation has ever endured. Game Six humbled us all and Game Seven was just as thrilling. Game Seven: LeBron and Battier and Rio and D-Wade and LeBron and LeBron and LeBron! How could you not feel good? How could you not respect our hometown boys?

But pots and pans? Pots and freaking pans?

Do you know who bangs on pots and pans around the rest of the country? Hillbillies.

Relax. No one's calling anyone a hillbilly. I'm blaming the broadcast media--Channel 10 with their "pots and pans" camera, and other networks camped out on Bird Road and 87th Avenue, looking for an angle, a moving image, something to exploit. It's sensational--and broadcast journalists salivate when someone looks more stupid than them.

It's difficult to put anyone down who is so filled with Miami pride that they want to take to the streets and make some noise in a peaceful celebration. But have awareness: Indulging in this silly custom lets Heat haters around the country -- in New York, D.C., Chicago, Denver, L.A., Dallas, San Antonio -- look at us like we're some wild, uncontrollable, third-world refugee culture.

And we're not. We're a first-class city. And we're growing. So next time, keep the pots and pans in the kitchen.

J.J. Colagrande is the author of the novels Headz and Decò. Follow him on Twitter.

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J.J. Colagrande
Contact: J.J. Colagrande

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