"Don't know what you got, til it's gone." - Cinderella (the Band, not Disney)
In the last few weeks, over and over again, the dead horses have been beat. Bring back 44? Move the basketball court for the Duke game? And as much as I hate to be the one to do it again, how much life is left in the Carrier Dome?
Tomorrow kicks off the 33rd Home Schedule season of Syracuse Football since the opening of the Carrier Dome. Thirty three. Pay attention to that number.
I sometimes feel that I might be among the older crowd on this site. Not old mind you, just older than some of you. That leads me to believe that I am a minority. Not because of race, religion, or sexual orientation, but rather in my Syracuse experience. In particular, I am privileged enough to be able to say not only did I attend games at old Archbold, but I attended the last game at Archbold, and the first game at the Dome. I was all of 8 years old at that game vs. Navy, and a whopping 10 at the Dome opener against Miami, OH.
I will never as long as I live forget either. The destruction before our eyes of ol' Archie, and the overwhelming awe over the monstrosity (comparatively, as a 10 yr old) that is the Dome. Put yourself in that position, visualize using these pictures, and imagine the incredible contrast. The open cold air of Archbold, the stanky smokey unbreathable air of the Dome. (Yes, there was smoking in the Carrier Dome, and up in section 317 Row Z, it was like being in the clouds)
A lot of people seem to be of the opinion that the Dome has lived it's life, and I'm not one of them.
Who are we? Why do we harp on something so petty as to replace a building that is an iconic figure for us. An outsider hears Syracuse, and the Dome probably is among their first visuals in their head. A building that still serves it's purpose, and by the way replaced an old decrepit stadium that stood for 71 years. More than double the Dome's life. Would a new stadium be cool? Sure. But would you not miss at least some aspect of the Dome? Wouldn't money spent on upgrading said building's amenities or appearance make more sense than hundreds of millions on one multi use or two individual new buildings? And I've got news for you. This is Syracuse. Someone who is in favor of replacing the Dome, would walk into the new stadium and claim it to be a dump. Some would say after 15, or 33 years "when are we gonna tear this down and build a real stadium?" I say dress her up. Add, add, add. The interior of that Dome is like the Taj Mahal right now compared to the day we walked into it. Even a brand new stadium would not take long to have obsolete features.
The Dome has been standing for 33 years. Other schools that some in the country would consider "meccas" of college football, I'm guessing would never think of replacing what they have. Even though they've been standing far longer than ours. You do the math.
Notre Dame stadium was built in 1930.
Ohio Stadium - 1922.
Michigan Stadium - 1927.
Rose Bowl - 1922.
Los Angeles Coliseum - 1923.
Bryant-Denny Stadium - 1929
All of these stadiums have had upgrades, renovations, etc. That's the name of the game. Tell me someone suggesting the replacement of Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend would not get his ass shot. Why do we not have that same mentality?
All of the stadiums listed above by the way, have at least some if not all bench seats. That seems to be a complaint around here. I personally think we have bigger fish to fry, and I would hate to lose so much in seating capacity by switching to stadium seats. Keep this mind the next time your ass and back hurt in the Dome: Archbold was concrete. Concrete seats in November or December? I'm guessing the Syracuse area before 1980 had a lot more hemorrhoid flare ups?
An interesting little tidbit I found: We are not the only ones that have troughs either. I have heard some people complain about that as well, which I think is ridiculous. We're talking about the hole in which you pee in. Is your game experience going to be better in a fancier bathroom with individual urinals? "Man that McNabb to Brominski TD to win against VT the other day was awesome, but what really made it special was being able to piss in an individual urinal with dividers". One thing is for sure, we'd have lines like the women do. No thank you. Go pee, and get back to the game! Anyway, check out this piece on Notre Dame's bathroom situation, entitled Yuck of the Irish.
The parking complaint seems to be another hot item. When I was going with my father who had many health issues, we parked at Archbold Gymnasium and could literally just about spit on the Dome. But since then, my cheap ass has parked for FREE on Genessee St. Every game, football and basketball. 12 minutes. That's all it takes me to walk up to the Dome. And then I walk down to my car, get in, and drive away. Done. No traffic jams. No waiting to get out of the garage. For football, I just do the quad thing, and then head on in. To each his own. For me it's about the game, the sights, and the sounds. I don't base my opinion of the entire experience on the parking situation, because it just isn't that big of a deal to me. What if it had been built at the fairgrounds? Then we wouldn't have the lovely campus around us, we'd have horse barns. The "largest on campus" blah blah blah would have never been uttered. "But hey, it's easy to park!" I can't see deciding this arena's fate on parking alone.
Listen, I'm not against an alternative plan if it's done right. The reasons that many list to do away with it seem a little petty. Often, a story like this comes up and I can't help but feel that it's something the writer is using to fill the newspaper with. To bait people into a discussion. Almost fabricating a story that doesn't really exist. Next thing your know, every media source in the area is talking about it. I just think too many times you hear someone call it a dump. If that's your opinion, keep this in mind. It's OUR dump. With the changes under the Gross administration, the Dome is a lot less dump than it used to be. Enjoy it. Love it. Spend like crazy to keep it up and improve it.
Put yourself at Archbold for that last game. Then walk into the Dome. That's all. We are so lucky to have what we do.
And... Go Orange, Dammit!!