When I shared my memories of growing up as a Little Orange, I knew I was not alone. So many of us were raised correctly and have been bleeding Orange through Syracuse history. A loyal Nunes Magician reader shared this story with me, and it's worth passing along. If you have a story you'd like to share, email me at sharicuse at gmail dot com.
My name is Dave Dixon, Orange fan, like my father before me. And like some of you out there in TNIAAM-land, Orange parenting got me to this point. The point where you actually get ill, or the shakes, or even cry during Orange games, senior day festivities, etc. Upon reading Shari's call for us to give some stories for the site, I was all like "Oh yeah, I'm sooooo all over this". Then came the immediate dilemma of trying to figure out what memories to share first. How would said memory tie in with any kind of Orange parenting? Hmmmmm...
I am 41 years old. I attended a few games at Archbold, including the final game against Navy. I have sod and concrete from said adventure in my Syracuse shrine of a man cave. I also attended a few basketball games at Manley. But at my age, obviously most of my Orange memories are Dome-related.
With season tickets for football and basketball for nearly the entire life of the Dome thus far, my choices seemed limitless. I was there for Pearl's shot. I saw the Gait brothers play in free lacrosse games that used to be played after the yearly spring football game. I was there when Greg Robinson... did absolutely nothing. Too many choices. But one story kept settling on the top. This memory is perhaps one of a kind.
On November 21, 1987, I was a 17 year old senior in high school. I was the section leader, and snare drummer of the Baldwinsville Marching Band drum line ( Go BEES!! ). I was at this point also drumming in local metal bands, long hair and all. The key to this whole story was the fact that my percussion instructor at B'ville (Rich) was also the percussion instructor at Syracuse. As usual, I attended the game with my father. The opponent: West Virginia. Over the course of the game, I made my way to see Rich, and see the line up-close and personal. I even spent some time on the sidelines while the band played their halftime show.
At this point I'm in my element. There was no way I was going back to my seat with my Father. I spent the rest of the game in the stands with the band. With a snare drum. Fight song, cadence, and even the pre-kickoff Atlanta Braves / FSU- style music and arm-chop thingy they used to do (before someone obviously got offended, smh). C'mon, how cool is this, right?
I doubt I have to tell you how the game ended. If you're THAT GUY that doesn't know, Michael Owens ran in a two-point conversion to win the game and seal the deal on an undefeated season, sending the Orange to the Sugar Bowl to face Pat Dye and Auburn. Booooooooooo!! We won't even go there.
I ended up telling my Father that I was going to get a ride home from Rich, and DID NOT tell him I was going to a drum line party. We just won the game, I'm gonna party with a college drum line, and most importantly, one of them was smokin' hot. How much of the actual party do I remember? Pretty much none of it, and I know for sure that the smokin' hot one did not give me the time of day.
So, now lets pretend we hit the fast forward button to the following morning. I was tired as hell, had a whopper of a headache, and feeling the after-effects of being ill just a few hours earlier. This is where the parenting part comes in.
Sometimes, as much as our parents try to teach certain things, we need to experience things before the point gets across. I have never been a big drinker, as this night was the last time I ever got drunk. I still enjoy drinking a little, I just know when to stop as I always have flashbacks of that night.
Lessons learned that night: When you weigh 140 lbs soaking wet, and have no tolerance, do not let college drummers feed you Molson after Molson. If you choose to do so, never couple it with buttered popcorn AND sour cream and onion potato chips. And, it is not easy to puke out of a Nissan 280Z at 55 mph on Rte 690.
Now after losing my Orange father in '08, there is a final lesson to be learned from that night. If I could go back to 11/21/1987, I would go back to my seat and experience that game with my Father.