About an hour before the Syracuse-Washington game on Saturday, someone asked me if I was sick and tired of talking about Syracuse football. I had basically been talking to someone about it nonstop since Friday night.
My answer to him was "absolutely not." The truth is, I spend a lot of time WRITING about Syracuse sports but I don't really get to TALK Syracuse sports all that much. After a weekend in which I was inundated with SU fans everywhere I turned, I've never been so happy to beat a specific topic to death by the time Sunday came around.
I don't know about anyone else but I had a blast this weekend. Starting with The Red Door on Friday night, it was a great reminder of a) how great and supportive Syracuse fans really are and b) sports are the great common denominator.
Of the 30 or so Syracuse fans who came and went over the course of the evening, the ages ranged from the 20's to the 60's. I met people who had come in from Syracuse, San Francisco, Ft. Wayne, Montana, New York City, Binghamton, Los Angeles and Portland just to name a few. I met two former basketball team managers, Rob Long's parents and Greg Palmer, who runs the extremely solid SU Athletics football blog. Some folks knew the site, some didn't. Some folks knew who I was, some thought my name was Troy and other wondered who that "Deeley" guy on the site was. We talked SU fandom, our chances the next day, #Shamarko and why Seattle is so amazing (seriously, I didn't meet one person who wasn't either considering a move to Seattle or loved the city in general).
The point is though, you had 30 random people slammed together based on the color of their t-shirts and you'd have thought we were all good friends for the last year (which, I'd like to think those of us in the TNIAAM community are...sha-la-la-la).
At the pre-game tailgate section on Saturday, it was more of the same. Mixing with those who I had met the night before along with some newbies, it was just a great reminder of how solid our fanbase is. Yes, if you watched the game and caught a glimpse of the SU section it looked a little light. And yes, there's a whole West Coast fanbase of SU fans who didn't make the game, which is a shame. From the standpoint of those SU fans who were there, however, they did a tremendous job, which was nice.
Pretty much everyone talked about next year's USC game like it was a no-brainer and I hope its something you non-travelers think about as well. There's just something about getting SU fans together away from Syracuse that binds everyone together. I don't care if we're not considered of the loudest or craziest or well-traveled fanbases out there...every single SU fan I met this weekend was a cool person and/or really nice.
For the record, I took about 7-8 pictures with folks who will do God-knows-what with them. The real tragedy is that I didn't charge for them. Coulda make a cool hundy, paid for my ticket. Live and learn.