The 2012-2013 athletics season has been one hell of a ride for us Syracuse Orange fans. As someone who writes about, and receives reactions about, Syracuse football and basketball, I feel like I've been riding a non-stop roller-coaster of overwrought emotion since September.
The football team is horrible! Marrone needs to be fired!
The football team is amazing! Lock Marrone up for a gazillion years!
Doug Marrone has left! Good riddance!
The basketball team is great, lock up those Final Four hotel rooms!
Good God, the basketball team is terrible. It's time for Boeheim to step down!
Good God, the basketball team is amazing. Thank God I booked those Final Four hotel rooms!
If this athletic year has taught me anything, it's that Syracuse fans (and perhaps most sports fans) subconsciously expect their team to win every game. If you found yourself crushing Boeheim/Marrone's name or wishing Ryan Nassib/Michael Carter-Williams would graduate after a loss, there's a part of you that honestly expected Syracuse football/Syracuse basketball to go undefeated.
And I get it. But, you know, it ain't happening (especially on the football side).
Between the two sports, however, I'd like to think* this year has taught a lot of Syracuse fans about patience and trying one's best to remain hopeful even when it seems as though there is no reason.
There was a point during the football season when we all looked at one another and said, "This team is going to finish 4-8. My God, what the hell happened?"
And there was a point during the basketball season when we all looked at one another and said, "This team is going to be a 9-seed in the NCAA Tournament. My God, what the hell happened?"
And what actually did happen in both cases? The teams learned from their mistakes, improved, got their s*** together and found themselves in pretty enviable positions. The football team won eight games and crushed West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl in front of tons of orange-clad fans. The basketball team is back in the Final Four for the first time in a decade.
For all the complaining, bitching, moaning, yelling, tantrum-throwing and hissy-fitting many of us did this year (I'm not immune to it), it's been a pretty amazing season for SU sports fans. And it's not done yet. Both lacrosse teams might yet have a run in them...let's not count them out. That's the point of all this, right?
Have your opinion, no one's telling you not to. But make sure you look back and realize that it takes an entire season to tell the story of a team. Sure, you can turn the TV off or stop showing up at the Dome a month in because the team is losing, but you might just miss out on something special. You would have in both cases for SU this year.
The Greg Robinson Era and a few NITs made us jaded but all of that is behind us. Doug Marrone did what we said he'd do and Jim Boeheim got his groove back. Syracuse is kicking ass again.
Let's enjoy the hell out of it, expectations be damned.
*but I know it won't