My tenth birthday party at the St. Johns game in 1982. Clearly, wearing orange was not as important as it is now. My birthday is in February and this picture was developed in July (see lower left corner). Can you imagine taking that long to take 24 pictures?
I am relieved to report that most of the events I reported in last week’s timeline remain undisputed. I even got confirmation that there were, in fact, souvenir jackets during the last year at Archbold. My only mistake was that my aunt (the little girl in the picture) informed me that there were too many other houses in the way for her to see the stadium. But she threw in the fact that they used to park cars in their driveway for a quarter each, making a respectable sum. That brings me to the theme of this week’s timeline: The money Orange Parents must spend to raise their child in style. I have more proof of the events this week, but I do hope to verify one more thing.
Early 1980’s – My dad was always a member of the Orange Pack, the Dave Bing Club (does that still exist?), and whatever other Syracuse groups he could donate to in order to ensure his good tickets and reputable Orange standing in the community. Each basketball season, following a few games, these big-spenders were invited to a reception at the Hotel Syracuse where some players and Coach Boeheim would also attend. Looking back, this seems completely unbelievable to me. Players such as Leo Rautins, Gene Waldron, and Rafael Addison would shower after a game and somehow find a way downtown to rub elbows with alumnae? And Boeheim would sign autographs while eating pigs-in-blankets? But I was there. I had a painters cap with autographs (that got wet and smeared and then tossed). I even went enough times to know that these receptions were held in the Persian Terrace, the big doors on the left at the top of the main stairway. Can anyone verify this?
1982 – For my tenth birthday, my party was held at the Dome. We didn’t sit in our regular seats in row A, but the picture is from section 316. I don’t think Dad treated anyone to Dome Dogs, so the cost of the party was probably less than today’s bouncy-house parties. And way cooler. (Although I’m guessing it was the Syracuse-St. Johns game, which we lost.)
1988 – We took a surprise family trip to New Orleans for New Years, 1988. Attending the Sugar Bowl was one of those life experiences that belongs on a MasterCard commercial. I think we may have eaten bologna sandwiches for dinner every night that year, but I will never forget staying in the same hotel as the team, bringing in the New Year with strangers on the street (and my parents), the matching rugby shirts my mom bought us, and the Tie-Dye game, of course. My unforgettable conversation with Don McPherson: I was sitting in the upper level of the hotel lobby with my camera in my lap, as any smart 15-year-old would. I saw him about to take the escalator down, ran over and asked, "Excuse me, may I take your picture?" He said, "Sure" and smiled. I’m sure he remembers it as clearly as I do.
1989 – My Orange Parents must have known the joy they brought to us with that Sugar Bowl trip, as they tried to repeat it for the Hall of Fame Bowl to bring in 1989. But this trip lost some of the magic, because we stayed miles away from Tampa to save money. The only tidbit I can tell you from that winning bowl year is that Tarpon Springs, FL is the sponge capitol of the world. I think my big lesson here is that doing something the right way once is more valuable than going half-assed frequently. (I’m questioning whether I should use that word, being a parent and all, but go look for synonyms and you’ll giggle frequently.)
1990 – When we were sharing our Georgetown memories last week, I was glad to see a few mentions of the 1990 overtime game. This was one of those games where breaking the attendance record was the hype and my brother and I had our section 316 tickets in hand. However, my dad had a friend-of-a-friend character who was willing to pay us good money for those seats. Ron and I searched out a club from our high school that was taking a bus and sitting in the OMG-I’m-far-away seats and we joined up. For $20, we went with our high school friends, made a profit, and still attended the game. Though I’m not sure I’d recommend those seats, I did learn what a different experience it is to go to big games with friends and peers rather than with your mom and dad. Prepared me for college that fall. (I won’t mention where I went quite yet.)
1995 – I think my dad learned a lesson from Ron and me. By the mid-90’s, when the big games came around, he sold his section 108 seats and sat with his only daughter left at home up in 316. Here’s the proof. Oh, if you are related to Mr. and Mrs. Chilibreath, please give them our warmest regards. I was eight when I made that name up, and they were never anything but kind. And really, is chilibreath all that bad compared to some other breaths you could have?
2001 – My dad sent the last of his four children off to college. All four of us attended private schools. None of us attended Syracuse. I guess that just goes to show that even the best Orange Parenting can produce imperfect results.
2002 – I married a non-Orange fan. What was I thinking? Well, he didn’t have any Division I college loyalties, so I knew that I could train him, just as my dad trained me. It was good practice for when we would later have kids. Some of you now know @pauliedars, and would never have guessed that he is only a decade into his Orangehood. In fact, he takes credit for what happened the following year.
2003 – A Syracuse timeline is not complete without the year 2003 being included.
2006 – Dad attended his last event at the Carrier Dome. Luckily, all four of his Little Oranges were in attendance.
2008 – Even in his final days, when experiencing dementia from his Parkinson’s meds, Dad could quite clearly hold a conversation about the current SU basketball, football, and lacrosse teams. My dad’s funeral procession didn’t go straight from the chapel to the cemetery. We drove out of the way to pass his old home on Stadium Place and the Carrier Dome.
2011 – Being a good Little Orange, I entered my dad’s name in a promotion at SU Athletics called the Legacy Paver Program. He was honored at this season’s Colgate game, and we look forward to visiting his brick at the Melo Center with our Little Oranges.
Thanks for joining me for my trip through my family’s Orange history. Next week, we’ll be back to discussing modern times and our current Little Oranges.