For the average college football fanatic, the year is separated into two distinctly separate and inequitable parts -- the college football season and the long and arduous eight months spent waiting for it to start again. Like a basehead fiending for one more hit of the tasty rock, fans are often forced to turn to desperate measures to fulfill their football fix, sometimes even stooping as low as arena ball. Oh, the depraved humanity!
Luckily for Hurricanes fans, the University of Miami's Spring Game and Canesfest on Saturday at Lockhart Stadium (5301 NW 12th Ave., Fort Lauderdale) is just enough to curb the withdrawal symptoms. The game, which kicks off at noon, is a scrimmage marking the culmination of spring practices. With the loss of nine starters from last year's team, the 'Canes enter the game with no shortage of question marks. The game might not hold all the answers, but it will at least give the Internet All-Americans something to argue about for the 149 days until the team starts its season at FSU. The Canesfest, which happens after the game, includes autograph sessions, games, and activities for the kids. Admission for the whole shebang is free. Call 1-800-GO-CANES, or visit www.hurricanesports.com. -- Paul A. Leone
Safari animals, polo ponies, and celebrities!
What do Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones and football Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti have in common with jungle animals, celebrity chefs, hundred-dollar-scarf makers, and polo ponies? They will all gather in Wellington to help cure paralysis. In 1985, Buoniconti helped found the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis after his son Marc sustained a spinal cord injury playing college football. The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, the fundraising arm of the Miami Project, created this Safari Adventure, Gala & Celebrity Polo Match to raise money for the fund. Starting at 6:30 p.m., guests will watch a celebrity polo match, journey through a live safari animal jungle, and dine on fusion cuisine at interactive chef tables. The event will be held at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (3667 120th Ave. S., Wellington). Tickets cost about as much as going on a real safari: $500 to $1,250. Call 305-243-4656. -- Riki Altman
Fish Host Nats
Washington's new franchise pays a visit
The Florida Marlins open their second home series of the young season on Friday night versus the Washington Nationals. Oh, you didn't know Major League Baseball had a team in Washington? They did about 40 years ago until that team headed for Minnesota, and then a subsequent Washington franchise skipped town for Arlington a few years later. This newest edition of the Nats was known as the Montreal Expos last season. That's right -- the vagabond team from Quebec that played nearly as many games in Puerto Rico as it did in Canada during 2004. So the union has succeeded in pulling the 'Spos below the border... Now hardball fans hope Uncle Sam can somehow coax the Blue Jays south as well. But for now, there's still one team paying its players in loonies. Friday's game starts at 7:35 p.m. at Dolphins Stadium (2267 Dan Marino Blvd., Miami). Call 877-627-5467. -- Russ Evans
Playoff Tune-up, Motor City Style
In what could be a preview of this year's Eastern Conference finals, the Heat winds down its regular season Sunday against Ben Wallace and last year's NBA champion, the Detroit Pistons. The game will tip at the American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) at 1 p.m. The teams have split their two games this year. Tickets range from $10 to $220. Call 786-777-HOOP. -- Paul A. Leone