The post below is by Paul Losch, from the UF Latin American Collection newsletter.
Football season begins tomorrow and Gator fans may be interested to know that the UF football team visited Havana in December 1912, nearly 99 years ago. They went on a kind of informal athletic excursion that was relatively common before the modern system of post-season bowl games was instituted.
Someone on that 1912 trip brought back some Cuban newspapers as souvenirs, and these ended up in the University Archives. The UF Digital Collections recently put them online as a small but valuable addition to the collection of historical newspapers already available in the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC).
Two games were arranged against private athletic clubs. The result of the first game was Florida 27, Vedado Tennis Club 0, and the event is described in the articles below.
- Cuba – “Los Floridanos Aniquilaron al V.T.C.”
- Havana Post – “Florida University Eleven Puts It All Over Vedado Tennis Club”
- La Lucha – “Florida Footballers”
- La Noche – “27 Puntos el Florida”
We also have a program from the first game, online in the UF Digital Collections here.
The second game, against the Club Atlético, was not as successful as the first. It was forfeited by the UF team on account of a dispute over rules, and the police were called because of complaints from paying spectators who felt cheated out of the price of admission.
- La Prensa – “Espectáculo Bochornoso en Almendares Park”
- La Lucha – “Los Patos Se Rajaron” (UF team referred to not as “Gators” but as “Ducks,” like the ones that migrate seasonally between the peninsula and the island).
Despite this unfortunate first attempt at international relations, friendly athletic exchanges between UF and the Universidad de la Habana eventually did take place on various occasions.