Cat survived in Miami school soccer sport Fall: NPR

If there is no photo of the cat itself, please accept this photo of the Miami mascot leading the team onto the field before the game against Appalachian State. Michael Reaves / Getty Images Hide caption

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Michael Reaves / Getty Images

If there is no photo of the cat itself, please accept this photo of the Miami mascot leading the team onto the field before the game against Appalachian State.

Michael Reaves / Getty Images

It only took about a minute for a cat to dangle dangerously from the top deck of Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, with nothing but an American flag – stretched nine meters below – to slow its fall.

But the drama included thousands of fans who reportedly came to see a college football game between that time. 22 Miami Hurricanes and Appalachian State Mountaineers.

Ten minutes into the first quarter, the game itself couldn’t possibly keep up with the spectacle of a black and white cat clinging to a cable, first with both front paws – then only one – as the fans below gasped and screamed.

Then it fell.

On the deck below, a group of fans held up an American flag as a kind of net that weakened the cat’s fall to the point where a student grabbed it and held it up in triumph to show that it had survived. The fans cheered.

“He caught the cat! Unbelievable!” Play-by-Play announcer Joe Zagacki said on WQAM radio station, pausing for just a breath before calling a 20-yard rush through Miami calling Donald Chaney Jr.

The Miami Herald has tracked down the American flag owner, a University of Miami facility manager named Craig Cromer, who told the newspaper that he and his wife, Kimberly, bring the flag to every game to hang over the railing in front of their seats .

When they saw the cat dangling, Cromer said, he tore the flag from the zip ties, held it out and Kimberly, and waited for the cat to fall.

“It seemed to take forever,” he told the newspaper. His wife, Kimberly, called the incident “probably the strangest thing that happened”.

With the memorable images of a cat desperately clinging to its front paws at a terrifying height – and then held triumphantly over them – comparisons with the Lion King may have been inevitable.

It was not known exactly why a cat was present at the Miami-Appalachian State game or how it slid over the edge of the upper deck.

But for Miami fans, the cat saga was perhaps the only highlight of a game that many Hurricanes fans hoped to have dominated. It took Miami a late field goal and heroic last minute defense to score a 25:23 win over underdog Appalachian State.

“I don’t know anything about it or what was going on, but I’ll tell you – if the cat can help our offensive in the red zone, I’ll see if we can get a scholarship,” said Miami coach Manny Diaz after the game.

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