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A Novice's Guide to Jumping on the Miami Heat Preseason Bandwagon

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Man has been preoccupied with sport since the beginning of time. But just like any other subculture, sports fandom seems slightly insane to anyone who's not a part of group. It can be downright intimidating.

I'm new to Miami and NBA fandom, but with the world champs back in action, last night's preseason contest seemed like the perfect time to shamelessly jump on the bandwagon. Here's what I was able to learn about Heat Nation from a meaningless scrimmage:

More people will show up to see a Miami Heat preseason game than a regular-season Marlins game.

This is just a scrimmage, right? So why is AmericanAirlines Arena pretty much full up to the nosebleeds? Some German tourist remarked after the game that the turnout seemed low. Do people really care that much about soccer in Europe that it seems like people here lack commitment to spherical objects and statistics in comparison? What do you want from us? Going to a preseason Heat match is like watching a Harlem Globetrotters game in which everyone is too lazy or cool to do tricks; the outcome is predetermined. And for a game of such little consequence, it had a huge audience. (Although it mostly seemed like foreign visitors who stumbled off cruise ships that day and were looking for a cheap thrill.)

Even the AmericanAirlines Arena decorator works on Miami time.

The first clue that this whole operation existed in a separate space-time continuum was Biscayne Boulevard at 8 p.m. It was full of cars, and the game had begun 15 minutes prior. Second: No decorative banner for the 2013 National Champions? It's been more than three months, and a bottle of water at the AAA costs $4, so basically there's no excuse not to have one that's stitched out of vellum and guilded in gold. Cool oversize Dan Marino jersey, though.

There's a system to deter unruly fans that is more over-the-top than $14 beers.

Any child older than 2 needs a ticket for the Heat Game, which is pretty egregious. That's like paying $60 to bring in a loaf-of-bread-size object with a 100-word vocabulary and a limited ability to form memories. What a ripoff. How about this: Get rid of the texting service for tattllng on "unruly fans" and replace it with nothing, because it would cost about $100 to get drunk at this event. Use the money left over from operating the text service to make up for the cost of people bringing in infants for free.

Heat is really, really hard to anthropomorphize.

Horrifying.

This artificially intelligent computing system controls everything.

This tentacled mass is omnipotent and omnipresent, communicating through both secret messages delivered directly to the players' brains ("Hoop the ball, LeBron") and overt audience directives designed in Microsoft Paint ("Get loud" and "Jump up and down").

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