If you ask me how I feel about the past month on TNIAAM, I will probably slap you in the face before falling into cardiogenic shock. After all, I am a huge proponent of the kinship and community Sean has let us build over the years. More than ever, I've noticed a glut of lie-mongering, man-on-man destructive smack talk, and frustration which not-so-coincidentally came on the tail end of a four game losing streak.
If you ask Brian Roll exactly how he feels about Galileo Galilei, he will probably slap you in the face before falling into cardiogenic shock. After all, he is a "huge history and science buff. Specifically, European history and astronomy."
That's not to say he's a bad guy, though. He's actually very cautious, alerting me to his forthcoming nerdery on a couple occasions throughout the discovery process. One thing he has maintained since he joined, outside of nerdery and especially evident in this past month, is the type of winning attitude that got TNIAAM where it is today.
He is exactly the medicine we need in light of the recent negativity! As such, I'm pleased to bring you the second episode of Get to Know Your Fellow Magician.
"I spend faaaaaaar too much time on the interwebs," admits Roll, 34, from Central New Jersey. "I've tried to post on Deadspin a few times, but I'm not witty enough for their standards."
Whereas Galileo obsessed over the big orange ball in the sky, Roll obsesses about Orange ball in the Dome. As a self-described "Newhouse brat," Roll, "never missed a football game in four years on the Hill, and made it to most of the basketball games."
Most people know Galileo for attempting to prove that the Earth is not the center of all creation, rather it is one body swirling in symphony with the rest of the celestial abyss. Pop culture often overlooks Galileo's contribution to kinematics, which is essentially evaluating how things move. Kinematics provides a mechanism for feeble humans to determine an objective and relative position of a defined object, evaluate rest and motion, and all sorts of goodies like path, displacement, velocity, speed, acceleration, and all those awesome things that enabled us to create advancements such as nuclear fission and C.J. Fair.
Now let's learn more about the man behind the word!
Real Name: Brian Roll
Story behind the username: Rich Kotite. Just say the name to elicit belches and groans. According to Roll, his handle "was an ironic and snarky commentary on how the Jets perpetually fell short because of poor leadership." This writer, a Pats fan, disagrees with placing all the blame on poor leadership (although we sure like to hate Rex Ryan, we are forced to admit the guy can flat out coach football and does an elite job protecting his troops).
The kotite4ever name began on the NJ.com message board, naturally transferring to the Syracuse.com message board, and ultimately became the Brian Roll brand name.
Brian Roll was born, raised and returned to Central New Jersey. Don't call it a comeback. Living in a traditionally rich breeding ground for Syracuse football helped Roll develop an affinity for the Orangemen, which led him to the promised land of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications:
When going off to college, I wanted to be a sportswriter, and I wanted to go to a school with a Top 25 football and basketball program. Syracuse, my first love, fit the bill, and the day I got into Newhouse was probably one of the best days of my life. I felt like that scene in Rudy where he is waiting and waiting to hear back from Notre Dame, except my story is better, because Syracuse is great and Notre Dame eats balls.
While there, Roll studied print journalism (particularly newspapers) before naturally progressing into a career in... what's that? Television Production?! That seems natural. Roll currently works in post-production for NBC Universal.
Roll is a living case study of How to Grow an Orange. In fact, he carefully coordinated lunar cycles to ensure his child was born on November 17. For those of you not aware of the significance of this date, go back to 1944. That's right, '44. Guess who was born then? Jesus? No, but close:
James Arthur Boeheim.
Roll ranks Syracuse football and the New York Jets as sports passions 1 and 1(a). Don't worry, 'Cuse hoops is a close second. Whereas he was born with gangrene Gang Green on his mind, Roll dabbles in watching Sci-Fi movies (not Syfy?) and reading, preferring Fantasy over other genres.
The 'Cuse Connection
In 1988, "as a wide-eyed 12 year old kid," Roll made his first trek to the Dome to watch SU take on East Carolina:
It ensnared me in its teflon embrace ... It got its hooks in me and never let go ... the building was only eight years old and I had NEVER seen anything like it.
His life would never be the same.
Roll owes a big happy sack of credit to another Fellow Magician, GCM238. It was his dad, after all, that had maintained season tickets to SU football despite living in New Jersey, which led to that fateful first trip. Both Roll and GCM238 grew up sharing in this passion, which has surfaced in a number of ways, including attending both the UConn game and the Pinstripe Bowl together this year.
Before the 'Cuse clawed its way back to respectability through HCDM's first two seasons, it had to rise from the ashes of the much maligned Greg Robinson Era, which Roll estimates is collectively the worst memory he has of being a Syracuse fan. Like the family of his childhood friend, GCM238, Roll carried the torch for the first two years of the GRE by keeping season tickets despite living in New Jersey. Roll confesses, "Literally every game during his reign was like a dagger in my heart." He also was in the courting stage with his current wife at the time, attempting to bestow upon her his passion.
As the Chrysler/Eminem ad states, they say the strongest steel is forged from the hottest fire. (Actually, some people falsely attribute it to Dickens, others to Richard Nixon, and some scholars maintain it has been a cornerstone of Chinese wisdom for centuries. If that's true, it doesn't bode well for a city attempting to resurrect American automobile manufacturing through innovation).
In Brian Roll's case, he was able to forge a stronger bond with his now wife, somehow converting her through darkness to Orange, while setting the stage for a child to be born in the corner of orbit previously reserved for Coach Boeheim. Praise ye, beauty and majesty of faith!
Those rather bleak times also enabled Roll to team up with GCM238 to establish Restore 44, which all of you should join immediately after reading this write-up. Reinvigorate the cause, dammit!
When asked what being a Syracuse fan taught him about life, Roll responds with:
Haha, well, it's taught me patience when it comes to football. It's taught me an appreciation of sustained greatness when it comes to basketball and Jim Boeheim, and lacrosse. And it taught me that there is nothing better than being snowbound, from time to time.
This exemplifies perhaps the greatest feat of the HCDM tenure so far: Roll's patience is rewarded with a legitimate Division I-A (sorry, FBS) football team. That's proof point enough that it's better to be a Syracuse fan than Georgetown fan.
Think about it: can any Georgetown fan recount a game like the 1998 SU-Virginia Tech epic smackdown? You know, the one where Donovan McNabb proved that a QB can throw up all over the field on the final drive and still win the big game? (Yes, that's a shot at the haters who blame the Eagles SB39 loss to the Pats on McNabb spewing). "I drove up there for my first homecoming game as an alum, and it was awesome to watch them win on the last play," says Roll.
Consuming the 'Cuse
Roll's avid attendance began long before he enrolled at Syracuse, and has continued since. While at Syracuse, Roll and his roommate had a solid routine for away games and simply being snowbound: Dorian's Wings.
My roommate and I would order 50 wings, and we would have a "wing draft" to ensure fairness in wing quality. We would flip a coin, we'd each take turns selecting wings, so that when all was said and done, we each had 25 wings of our choosing. Coincidentally, and shockingly, I didn't get laid very often at Syracuse.
What a thought. This author has had fights with many former Summer Inline Hockey teammates due to poor drumstick distribution (shout out to the disbanded CNYIHL). This goes for not only the drumstick ratio, but the mutant ratio as well. There are, without fail, three to seven disfigured and disease inducing excuses for "a wing" in each batch of fifty. Usually, the only recourse is to eat the strange grizzly lumps and boney clumps and immediately wash down the disaster with a shot. It's always fun to give the mutants to the rookies. However, roommates cannot do that to each other while still maintaining the appropriate level of brotherly fanaticism through games and snow days.
The Nunesmagician Spell - a Q&A Perspective
When & Why did you first join the site?
I first saw the Octonion posted somewhere else, and that drew me into the site. I don't remember exactly when it was, but it was definitely before the migration to SB Nation. Also, GCM238 (Gregg Matalas) and I were the guys who started the "Restore 44" movement, and NunesMagician was instrumental in helping us get the word out, get feedback from fellow Syracuse fans of all ages, etc.
Why do you continue to read and contribute?
Because I LOVE Syracuse sports, and I love the community of people that post on Nunes. I used to be a regular contributor on Syracuse.com's forums, but those people that post there are miserable human beings. NunesMagician seems to bring out the best in us, and that's definitely a credit to both the way Sean runs the site, and the contributions of people like you, me, and everyone else who posts.
Do you comment on, or contribute to, other sites? What's your level of activity on here compared to others?
I post on the Jets and Everton (English soccer) SB Nation blogs as well ... Nunes is by far the site on which I am most active, which you can tell by clicking on my profile page on SB Nation.
What are the best aspects of TNIAAM?
The community of commenters, and the frequency with which Sean updates the site. It's my one stop shopping for all things Syracuse.
What areas would you like to improve on TNIAAM?
None - I really love the site as is, although I could use more Octonion in my life!
Brian Roll with his wife during one of their many Dome experiences.
This young Orange came into fruition on Jim Boeheim's birthday. The force is strong with this one!
As a daily commenter and voice of reason, Brian Roll provides an example of someone who knows how to have fun with our other community members while keeping things in perspective. Sure, his obsession with Syracuse might be unhealthy, and may seem extreme to outsiders. Yet at the end of the day, he realizes that many of us are grown adults holding onto a childhood sense of kinship and competition. Unlike politics, our rooting interests do not result in war or death (usually). We don't go online to figure out how to economically enslave opposing fans (usually). We're not cracking wise and citing stats to assign meaning to otherwise vapid lives.
We are philosophers, ditch diggers, poets, engineers, business executives, parents, students, debauchers, meditators, neighbors, strangers, and the whole lot. We enjoy an opportunity, unique to any other point in recorded history, with which any person from any class or creed can be engaged with those from every other. If you can speak, you have a voice. We just so happen to lend that voice to something others might view as trivial. I argue that triviality is a superior conduit for civility. Let's not squander this opportunity by descending into the chaos of vitriol.
Dear Fellow Magicians, it's time to nominate March's Featured Magician! Please post a comment or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Hurry up before I'm a hapless street wanderer during South Boston's St. Patty's Month!