If you look on both of my daughters’ birth certificates, you will see the home address listed as 4444 Tobacco Road, Greensboro, NC. Okay, only half of that is true, but you get the point. We certainly knew what Jim Boeheim was talking about a few months ago. We have lived in foreign lands, not by choice, and our Little Oranges survived with Orange loyalties intact. Here are some things we did to survive.
Show our Pride – While our Little Oranges were learning to ride their tricycles on our Tobacco Court cul-de-sac, they passed many North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest, and Duke flags. They knew that when they got back to the house with the Syracuse Orange and Blue (yes, blue) flag, they were home. Though it was a stretch, we also hoped that some of the other kids from those ACC houses would start asking questions about our flag and we could educate them properly.
Keep Up with Technology – We saw significant changes in our abilities to follow Syracuse sports while we lived in NC. When we arrived in 2004, we could occasionally get an audio feed of a football or basketball game over a computer, and we spent half of those games waiting for buffering. When our first Little Orange arrived in 2007, Sirius was broadcasting most games and we could follow game progress on automatically updating websites. It was always fun to see which one got us the information faster. Before leaving in 2009, our second Little Orange could watch almost every game on Orange All-Access. I know it’s gotten even better now for your out-of-state Little Oranges.
Local Sports – Whether we could see the good guys play or not, it was essential to us to instill in our girls a love of sports. That way, on the occasions when they could see Syracuse games, they would understand when to cheer. We got extraordinarily lucky that our most accessible team, the Greensboro Grasshoppers minor league baseball team, had orange as one of their colors (orange and green?). That way, we could tell the kids to cheer when the orange team did something good. I guess we could have done research of the local high school teams and found someone orange. Then we could have introduced them to all sports while cheering for the orange team.
Reading Material - I think the true inspiration for this weekly column is Sean's book, "How to Grow an Orange". Our younger Orange was the original model for the book on this site, and soon our girls were fighting over it. While a lot of what I'm saying here is tongue-in-cheek, being that our girls barely understand the language of sports or history, much less read it, the book truly is a great tool for teaching someone to be a Syracuse fan. It can be used extensively when you aren't in the Syracuse area.
Now if you're a true lifelong Syracuse nerd like I am, you may have saved all of the programs you obtained during years of basketball and football games. That's for when they start learning about primary and secondary sources.
School Days - Before becoming the mom that I am now, I was an elementary school teacher for 14 years in four different schools in three states outside of New York. Every school, across all of those miles, had some sort of day every year with a sports theme. Whether it was "Team Up Against Drugs" day or "Be a Sport: Recycle" day, children were invited to wear their favorite team's colors to school. This was my time to shine as an Orange Parent. (Sadly, my kids only made it to preschool, so they didn't experience the thrill of trash-talking their peers.) When this sports-themed day was announced with notice too short to order from Syracuse-area stores (and the cost being prohibitive as well), out came the iron-ons.
Come Home - All of what I wrote here is in past tense because we have returned to Syracuse. It took 20 months of job applications for my husband, 3 interviews, and numerous friends-of-friends helping out, but my husband found a job and he actually likes it. I'm still unable to find a job (thus the stay-at-home-mom status), but we know what's best for our Little Oranges.
Good luck to the parents all over the Otto-man Empire and beyond. You can raise your children correctly!