Theodore R. Gibson Health Center & Gymnasium (map it)
11011 SW 104th St
Miami, FL 33176
Year Opened: 1973
There are no tickets available at this time.
Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Miami Dade College athletics program is one of the most storied in lower collegiate sports, in all sports they field (basketball, baseball, softball, and volleyball). They are known as a hotbed for undiscovered talent that grows in the college sports setting and become some of the big stars you see at higher programs. Thankfully, seeing these games and getting to them takes little effort and needs little money to do so, making this an affordable option for any diehard sports statistics and college sports fan.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There are no concessions at Miami Dade College basketball games. However, outside, there are a few vending machines for beverages, as well as water fountains by the restrooms.
There may not be as many students in the stands as a D-1 program, but the families that show up are no less passionate. Shark Pride may not be as well known as MDC's neighbors at FIU or UM, but it nonetheless penetrates the arena. Banners are hung on both sides of the interior for the programs many successful championships. Outside of the arena along the main concourses are various displays that show the numerous championship trophies, newspaper headlines, and memorabilia one would expect to see at a college sports arena. Giant photos of the school's top players in each sport also adorn the walls, giving "The Shark Tank" a more vibrant feel. The interior and exterior of the arena may look dated, but thankfully, the seating is comfortable after being updated a few years ago to newer, individual seats with backs in the upper levels, with traditional fold-out gymnasium seating in the lower bowl.
The Kendall Campus for Miami Dade College sits in the middle of Kendall's original neighborhoods. There aren't many restaurants or stores around, but being right off of the Don Shula Expressway highway makes getting anywhere nearby easy. Just a few miles north is Kendall Drive, a hub of restaurants and shopping with various hotels at which to stay.
The fans who come to Miami Dade College games are loyal and loud, but they are usually not that plentiful until the playoffs and state championships come around. Whenever Miami Dade hosts a rivalry game from a local school like Broward College, Barry University, or others, the fans tend to grow in size, thanks to the short travel between schools. Unfortunately, the large emptiness of the arena tends to make it look even more sparse than it may be.
Parking on campus can be a bit of a hassle on school days, since Miami Dade College is a commuter school. Many parking lots are for students only, so finding a lot that won't get you a ticket may require a bit of walking from your car to the arena. However, as most games are in the evening or the weekend, spots are more plentiful than in the daytime on campus. In addition, the campus is right off of the Don Shula Expressway, which branches off of the Florida Turnpike. It is an easy drive that requires little navigation through smaller side streets. Another option for local fans is the use of public transportation, as Miami Dade College is a stop on many of the area's metro bus routes.
The best thing about a Miami Dade College basketball game is that tickets are free, as is parking. This means you're only putting in the money to get there in gas and tolls. Otherwise, without an entry fee, the arena offers some of the best bang for your buck when it comes to college sports in south Florida.
The team's history is on display outside and inside the arena, with the championship banners that hang from the ceiling inside and the trophy cases outside.
Another aspect that adds to the college feel is the cheerleaders and dancers that Miami Dade always has courtside during games. This amplifies the collegiate atmosphere for an arena some say feels like a high school gymnasium.
Finally, right outside the arena, the school's massive pool can be seen, including the diving platform that plays host to local swimming competitions. The arena's proximity to the rest of the campus' sports fields makes visiting multiple sporting events in one trip easy, as well.
There is a lot of nostalgia for hardcore local sports fans at Miami Dade College. Some of the greats in college and professional sports have come through these halls, and one cannot help but feel a certain sense of history when there. However, small crowds and an outdated exterior and interior can make one feel like they fell into a time warp. Thankfully, for sports fans, seeing college basketball won't cost them a pretty penny when it comes to a visit to Miami Dade College.
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