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The Big East Tournament Is Decadent And Depraved - Part II

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SU Grad and "self-hurt" guru Aaron Goldfarb is on the ground in NYC this week for the Big East Tournament. And I mean that literally, he is lying on the ground after a debauchery-laden evening in the Big Orange. These are his tales... (Read Part I here)

There’s a famous quote, probably apocryphal, attributed to legendary Syracuse lacrosse coach Roy Simmons, Sr.:

"When we win we celebrate; when we lose we drink."

And when "we," Syracuse fans, are anxiously sitting around for two days waiting for our quarterfinal match-up, we drink even heavier.

I’m not saying Syracuse fans are the highest quality drinkers in the Big East--that honor goes to Louisville with their bourbon, natch--but we are the highest quantity.

Georgetown fans don’t drink because they "have to study later," Nova fans drink mimosas (even at night), Pitt fans drink Eyurn City, Marquette fans cans of Miller, Rutgers fans drink the Four Lokos they stockpiled once it got banned, Depaul fans drink hemlock, and I have no clue what USF fans drink but their girlfriends drinks cocktails with rohypnol slyly swizzle-sticked in.

The first thing a Syracuse fan says when he enters the bar is, "What’s on special?" Then that’s what he or she usually drinks. Preferably Labatt Blue, or "Blue Light" if watching her upstate figure, possibly Genny Cream, but really anything will do. Syracuse fans even prefer their Manhattans with Canadian Club, an absolutely despicable substitution, but I would never go on record as saying such a thing against my own people. As for me, it’s usually beer before the game, Irish whiskey afterward, win or lose.

One reason I wanted to write this series is so I’d at least do something productive this week. It’s far too easy to wake up hungover, watch ad nauseum replays of the previous night’s games on Sportscenter, check message boards to see what antisemitic things Nova fans are saying now, before the games begin and your day is shot. I drank at the terrific Feile til 1 AM last night, but here I am up at 6:30, all because of this series and you fine people.

The great (and terrible) thing about living in New York and walking distance to the Garden is that it’s too easy to find yourself watching, say, Rutger/St. John’s, getting excited by terrible officiating, and going, "Fuck it," before sprinting to midtown. I can go from watching a game in my apartment to watching in the arena in only about 7:00 minutes of live action. 5:00 minutes if Pitt is fouling and stoppaging their way through an ugly clutch-and-grab contest.

Back during Super Bowl week, on the Thursday or so, I saw a grown man in a Clay Matthews jersey. I thought, "Hmmm...that man is either going to wear that same jersey on Sunday too, or he owns multiple Packers jerseys." I now realize the latter is clearly true.

We are those fans. MSG and the surrounding area was packed last night with Cuse-clad faithful. Syracuse fans must have entire closets full of Orange gear. Most of my friends do. Shit, I even know a man who bought a dozen 2003 championship t-shirts, kept half in the sealed packaging, and stuffed them into the deep recesses of his closet. His plan is, in 2020 if, God forbid, we haven’t won another title, to break out a fresh 2003 shirt and have all of us in our frayed and whitened 2003 shirts jealous.

At yesterday’s game between Rutgers and St. John’s, the loudest cheers weren’t St. John’s fans cheering for their team, or the Rutgers faithful cheering for theirs, it was the drunk Syracuse fans in the crowd cheering for whatever whims they had at the current moment: Rutgers at first (for an easier quarterfinal opponent), St. John’s later (for the chance at an epic game), against referees Jim Burr and Tim Higgins ultimately. The same was true for the half-empty arena night tilts featuring three teams that weren’t even in the Big East a half-decade ago.

You might be a pessimist and see a half-empty arena and go, "Wow, we really need to kick these teams out of the Big East."

Well I’m an optimist. I see a half-empty arena and think, "We can just fill this with Syracuse fans."

We usually do. We certainly will in a few hours. I can’t wait. It’s almost time for a drink. But make my Manhattan with Maker’s.

Aaron is the author of How to Fail: The Self-Hurt Guide, the world's first self-hurt guide.  He was a 2001 SU graduate, lives in New York, and has attend the last 11 BETs.  Follow him on Twitter: @aarongoldfarb