While most people were sleeping Wednesday night, I was on a bus from Syracuse back home to Long Island. Spring Break didn't start until after this week ended, but there was no way I was gonna miss the Big East Tournament, I've been to every SU BET game in my first 3 years as an Orange(man).
So, when Thursday morning arrived, I was more than ready to get in game gear (Orange T-Shirt, Jonny Flynn jersey, Orange Nike armbands, SU shorts, long Orange socks, and an SU hat autographed by G-Mac) and head to MSG.
Indeed an early start, but geared up by 8:30am, and once ready, I headed over to the local train station. For some strange reason a lot of people were staring at me. If anyone can shed some light on that, I'd appreciate it.
Sitting on the Long Island Railroad train, I figured it was time for the SU Basketball playlist on my iPhone. Before I continue, allow me to share this playlist. It consists entirely of songs either played over the Dome PA, played by Sour Sitrus, or otherwise related to SU (if you have any recommended additions, feel free:
1) Syracuse Fight Song
2) Shut It Down (Extended Version)
3) Sell Out - Reel Big Fish
4) Zoot Suit Riot - Cherry Poppin' Daddies
5) Heart Of A Champion - Nelly
6) Basket Case - Green Day
7) The Impression That I Get - The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
8) Unfinished Business
9) Syracuse Alma Mater
A mostly uneventful train ride ensued. When I got to the Garden TNIAAM friend and editor Dan Lyons was running massively late, so I had to engage the enemy (in this case a group of Pitt students) alone. If there was any uncertainty as to the intelligence of Panther fans, it was answered with just two statements. Firstly, I was asked why I was already at the Garden if "my" game wasn't until 2pm. Cuz, ya know, liking basketball is impossible.
But understandable, I guess, considering Pitt is on Spring Break and their student section was about 15 people large at this point, they mustn't expect big fan support at MSG. Moments later one Pitt fan (a sophomore girl) asked how we pick up our will call tickets. After I educate her, she congratulated me on "already winning a few this week." Sorry honey, it's our first game too. She didn't say another word to me...
With just 20 minutes until the Pitt/UConn game, the Garden was near empty:
I figured I'd get some heckling in pre-game...and the Huskies were right in my line of fire. They seemed amused when I told them I couldn't name anyone on the court besides Kemba...but they downright lost it laughing when I asked if a slow start would require a Jim Calhoun medical leave. Having reached the zenith of my heckling, and with their game starting, I took the opportunity to get food before MSG opened up....jeez, was it expensive. I paid $16.50 for 2 hot dogs and a Sprite. They actually asked me for one arm and one leg, but when I told them I was uninterested in paying such prices, they named a monetary value.
I think everyone knows how Game 2 went, so I won't spend much time on that...the SU students didn't have a great showing since Midterm week was still going on, and there were a couple drunk UConn fans sitting in the back of our section, we let them stay more for entertainment than kindness.
After the game, having pulled an all nighter previously, didn't have the energy to stay in Manhattan...I had a 30 minute wait at Penn Station for my train home, at which point I'm pretty certain I was approached by every homeless person in NYC asking for change...of which I actually had none. One man actually stood about 8 inches away from me, explained that he was a Marine just back from Afghanistan and needed money for a meal...which seemed plausible, except that I could smell the booze on his breath, and he slurred just about every word. Sorry sir, no change here.
Two drunk men on the train home almost got into a fight when one fell asleep and the other woke him up...the sleeping guy then went back to sleep...and missed his stop.
But that was just day 1...