I've been to The Parlor in Santa Monica twice in my life. The first time, it was to watch the NFC Playoff game earlier this year between my Giants and the Eagles. You know how that turned out. The second time was to watch the Syracuse Orange play the Oklahoma Sooners in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. And you also know how that turned out.
No offense to the owners and operators of The Parlor and to the SU Alumni group that meets there regularly, but I will never be setting foot inside the establishment ever again. Nothing personal, just business.
Not to say I didn't appreciate what I saw. Syracuse fans were out in droves at the place. And aside from the guy wearing the SU basketball jersey with no undershirt (no.), everyone was respectable. It's just that, since the place where I watch my teams play directly affects whether or not the team wins or loses (obviously), I can't take another chance. Especially since my teams clearly decide to not only lose but completely crap the bed when I go there.
We got punched in the mouth and we were ice cold and by the time we figured out what was going on it was too late. Plain and simple. My big fear before the game was that Oklahoma would come out shooting hot and we would come out ice cold and that's exactly what happened. Nothing much you can do after that. All the adjustments and Jonny Flyyn heroics in the world aren't going to reverse that.
I was fired up about the refs in the first half and I was ready to go searching out their social security numbers and next of kin so we could terrorize them for the whole of the summer. It seemed that they wouldn't make a call until a Sooner jumped on a Syracuse player's back...literally. Then when I had time to think about it and I realized the refs were actually calling the game the way we've always wanted them to. They were letting them play, for realsies. It's just that we're so used to horrible, ticcy-tac ref nonsense that we're conditioned to expect phantom calls and arbitrarity-blown whistles. Of course, there are better times to start changing your referree-style than the Sweet Sixteen, but sufficed to say I've called off the hit on the trio.
We'll get into the details over the next couple days. Talk about what happened this year, where we go from here and everything that could happen in between. But at the end of the day, feel good about the fact that Syracuse basketball is relevant in the postseason again. We not only returned to the Big Dance but we proved we were good enough to belong amongst the best teams in the nation. We ended up getting beat by a better team, and it didn't feel too good, but I think deep down we knew that this team had already broken even and was playing with house money from that point on.
Good season, all. Good season.