Orlando is host to a myriad of events during the calendar year, but one of the most prominent events is the Florida Blue Florida Classic. People from all over the state and the country converge on Orlando’s Camping World Stadium for the annual game between Historically Black Colleges, Bethune-Cookman University and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.
The game which started in 1978 has become a mainstay for both schools each year. It is held just prior to the Thanksgiving Holiday and has roots as far back as 1925. As far as rivalries go this one has all of the earmarks of something special for those who hold it dear. The games have been dominated overall by Florida A&M who in the early fifties until the mid-seventies won an astounding nineteen years in a row. This story is not about history though. This story is not about the nostalgia of the game. This story is about one man’s experience as a newcomer to this historical gem.
Rommel Von Dyke is a new transplant to the Orlando area. After moving here from Phoenix, Arizona as a tech lead for an insurance company, finding things to do and people in his new community has been interesting. The Florida Classic provides an opportunity for both. The annual event is a place that he’s sees as a prime opportunity to meet people from all over the country. It also provides the chance for him to connect with local people from around Orlando, thus providing him with a better understanding of the culture of the city. The weekend long event proved to be everything he expected and more.
The bulk of his experience was on Saturday afternoon as he walked amongst the droves of people who had come to town for the football game in which Bethune Cookman prevailed 39-19, continuing a streak that goes back to 2011. It appears that the Florida Classic will be an event that Mr. Von Dyke will continue to come to as long as he is living in Orlando.