Chicago ends Miami's streak: My dad cried and I cheered.

Chicago ends Miami's streak: My dad cried and I cheered.
photo via NBA

I was in Miami on the night the Chicago Bulls ended the Miami Heat's 27- game winning streak.

It also was Noche Latina and the two teams wore their Spanglish jerseys, "El Heat," and "Los Bulls." The NBA or the ÉNE•BɕA celebrates with its Latino fan base, now at an estimated 15 percent, for the month of March.

It was a good night to watch a game with my 75-year-old father, Ben Puente, who moved to Miami from Chicago 28 years ago. My dad, husband and I sat around his 60-inch television.

Well I've discovered my dad is no longer a Chicago fan. All this time in the sun has made him love el Heat.

As my husband and I cheered for each shot sunk by Nate Robinson or Luol Deng, my father winced.

"Get it to LeBron!" he cried. "Hit it Bosh!"

It was on a visit to Chicago in 2011 that I discovered my dad had lost his allegiance to Chicago.

We watched Chicago play Miami in a playoff game at my sister's house.

"Dad, who are you rooting for?" I asked him before the game started.

"I'll be happy if either team wins," he said.

But when the Heat pulled ahead. My brothers cried and my dad cheered. I knew who dad really wanted to win.

A Mexican-American who was born in San Antonio and moved to Chicago in the 1950s, he fell in love with Chicago sports, the White Sox (not the Cubs), the Bulls, the Bears and the Blackhawks too.

In 1959, my dad and his brother camped out two nights outside the old Comiskey Park so they could buy tickets to the World Series.

I didn't think it was possible for a man who regularly took us as children to White Sox games to lose his love for the Windy City teams.

For $25 he said he could get tickets for all five of us to get into the ball park.

We didn't make it to any Bulls games because dad said the tickets were too pricey. But he followed them on television.

Before the game started Wednesday night I didn't need to ask him who he wanted to win.

My dad is now a Miami fan through and through.

It was 70 in Miami Wednesday and 40 degrees in Chicago. I guess I get why dad enjoys Miami.

But he admitted. "If they have to lose, I would prefer it be to Chicago."

After halftime Chicago started to lose the lead.

As the Heat tied it in the third quarter my dad shouted, "Hit it baby, yeah!"

My husband cried, "I don't know how much more of this I can take."

My dad told us that Miami just has the better players this year.

"Let's face it you guys put up a good fight," he said after the Heat pulled ahead.

But that was before the fourth quarter when the game got even more intense.

My dad and husband argued over who fouled who.

"Justice prevailed! He missed the shot," my dad cried when Carlos Boozer blew a free throw.

But the Bulls clinched it pulling nine points ahead with 30 seconds left in the game.

"They had no business winning that game," my dad insisted to the end.

Sorry dad your Heat couldn't defeat our Bulls.

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