Mar 15, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; UNC Asheville Bulldogs head coach Eddie Biedenbach (right) appeals to an official during the second half against the Syracuse Orange in the second round of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Orange won 72-65. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
The law of attraction posits that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results. In other words, if you want something, you merely need focus on it and you will receive it.
Within the same realm is the idea that we create everything that happens to us, good or bad. We manifest. If this is true, I wonder what it says about Syracuse Athletics or Syracuse fans that so many great moments have been overshadowed by atrocious refereeing that nullifies said great moment in the eyes of the public?
A little over a year ago, Syracuse eked out a victory over the Kansas St. Wildcats in the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl. However the win was marred by a strange and unnecessary excessive-celebration penalty on a KSU player that made it way harder for them to tie the game on a two-point conversation. They failed and Syracuse won the game, though in the eyes of many Kansas State was robbed.
This past football season, the Syracuse football team was on the verge of losing to the MAC's Toledo Rockets. A game-winning field goal kick by Ryan Lichtenstein seemed to sail just in front of the posts. However, the referees inexplicably called the kick good, handing the Orange a dubious victory (one they would karmic-ly pay for the rest of the season).
And then yesterday, Syracuse barely avoids becoming the first one-seed to ever lose in the first round to a 16-seed in a game chock full of strange referee calls. An iffy lane violation call and a downright embarrassing out-of-bounds decision, both against UNC-Asheville, held turn the tide towards the Orange. It's widely discussed that the referees handed the game to Syracuse.
Now perhaps there are other schools who have had this many incidents occur in a short period of time as well and we just don't know about it. But it still feels like odd. Once was a coincidence, twice made for a wacky parallel but this third time might just signal a trend.
It's not the kind of thing that can be explained in the "real world." There is no master plan out there to fix football and basketball games for Syracuse. The NCAA has nothing to gain by our winning the Pinstripe Bowl or beating Toledo during the regular season. And they would have certainly loved to have seen a 16-seed win an opening game given all the pomp and circumstance that would come with that.
If you believe its possible, it must be something that we as Syracuse fans or as a Syracuse community (since the players are making it happen as well) are creating. So...what are we doing?
What Manifestation would tell you, I believe, is that deep down, we as Syracuse fans did not feel as though we deserved those victories. And so, we found a way for those victories to be perceived as stolen victories that we should not have won.
We still willed those victories to happen as a collective, we just still felt badly enough about the situation that we provided "the masses" with the easy conclusion that those victories were tainted. We created the scenario we feared most...that we would be considered frauds. Not good enough. Winners by a form of indirect chicanery.
We're not supposed to lose to Kansas State in New York City in the Pinstripe Bowl. And yet, we were on the verge of losing. Had that penalty not been called, the Wildcats could have tied the game and then won it in overtime.
We're not supposed to lose to Toledo at home in football. And yet...we should have. If the refs make the right call, we probably lose that game fair and square.
We're not supposed to lose to 16-seed UNC-Asheville in the NCAA Tournament. And yet, we almost did. And had the Brandon Triche out-of-bounds call gone the other way and the lane violation not been called, who knows how it would have turned out.
Of course, maybe this is all just dumb luck and coincidence. There's that, too. We've felt as though a fanbase mentality can influence the way a team plays and performs (The Chicago Cubs, anyone?), so doesn't it stand to reason that if something happens in the same way enough times to one specific team that it must be part of some bigger construct?
Just look at this season as a whole. How many schools or teams out there do you know that can spend the bulk of a 31-2 season complaining about lack of respect and negative perception? We spent all year hearing and complaining about how we were pretenders and now, on the biggest stage of the year, we "proved" it to be true. Sure, we still won the game but no one outside of SU fans seems to think the Orange earned it. And so, the self-fulfilling prophecy comes true.
That's not to say we'll create the same scenario in the Kansas State game on Saturday. Chances are there will be no massive referee scandal or shocking call to influence the outcome of the game. Usually there isn't. But this whole thing remains in the back of our minds. Waiting for the next game that we feel uneasy about. The next game we're not supposed to lose and yet seem in danger of doing. And if, once again, we are bailed out by a referee's idiocy...we'll know that we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Well, and the referee. The idiot...