clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Friday Conversation: How Would You Pitch Syracuse Fandom to a 'Free Agent Fan?'

If you had to convince someone to become a Syracuse fan, how would you go about it?

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Let's say you're hanging out in a sports bar on a Saturday morning sipping a mimosa before the games start (you seem like the type).

You're sitting there with your Block S Syracuse hat on. Next to you is some schmo in a Michigan hat. Next to them is some jerk in a North Carolina hat. On the other side of you there's a Florida fan for some reason. Next to them, a schlemiel in a UCLA hat.

You hear the door open behind you and a person wearing a logo-less hat walks in. They look like the generic person you start with in a video game Build-Your-Own-Character mode.

The unaffiliated person looks each of you up and down. Then they say, "Convince me why I should become a fan of your school."

How do you do it? That's the question posed to the TNIAAM staff and then to you. To keep things as short as possible, what are the three attributes you use to convince this rando to become a Syracuse Orange fan?

John Cassillo

1. Simple is for quitters. Syracuse fandom is a convoluted, complicated mess that rewards you far fewer times than you'd probably prefer. But the ongoing soap opera that has become Orange athletics certainly keeps you hooked. What keeps you engaged with regard to uber-successful programs? Relatively nothing, outside of a minor incident here and there. SU finds a way to incorporate a controversy for every season, somehow. After one cycle of this, you won't be able to look away.

2. We're at like a 4 out of 5 on the villainy scale. Of course, we (and you, now) the Orange faithful don't think so. But for one reason or another, most other fan bases have found a way to vehemently dislike us for our success (or lack thereof) in football, basketball and lacrosse. Everyone needs a villain to keep things interesting. To many, WE'RE THAT VILLAIN, many times by way of Jim Boeheim alone.

3. You stand out. People in blue Michigan shirts or green Oregon shirts are a dime a dozen, and they simply blend in with the surrounding populace. But as an Orange fan, you get to wear a loud and florescent shade of the color we're named for, announcing to the world "I AM A SYRACUSE FAN." In New York State (especially CNY) this may not make you enormously unique. But elsewhere (California, Washington State, the nation formerly known as Greece, etc.), it's a beacon to others to ask you about the 2-3 zone, tell you that Melo sucks and remind you that SU football's struggled of late. You then get to refute these things loudly, perpetuating the villainy narrative. Congrats!

Invisible Swordsman

1. WE ARE THE SMART INVESTMENT – Warren Buffet’s first principle for investing is "Always invest with a margin of safety". Margin of safety has nothing to do with pass coverage schemes, but rather is the principle of buying a security at a significant discount to its intrinsic value. Buffet recommends investing in entities whose liquid assets are worth more than the market cap of the company…in other words buying businesses for nothing. This type of investing is important as it can provide substantial profits once the market inevitably re-evaluates the stock and ups its price to a "fair value". If the stock remains low, there is limited-to-no downside risk. Syracuse, my friends, is the ultimate Warren Buffet football program. SU’s market cap – measured in football terms as the programs perceived value – remains about as low as any program in FCS football thanks to Greg Robinson’s four-year reign of terror from 2005-2008. Quite frankly, no one fancies us despite the fact that the program has some excellent intrinsic value – a storied history, improved facilities, a football-first AD, and plays in the weakest of Power-5 conferences. Every dog has its day, and Syracuse’s day will come soon enough. When it does, the satisfaction of knowing you "bought" SU low will bring you great joy, while finally giving you a long-awaited "one-up" on that douche-y guy from the golf course that always talks about buying Apple at $5.

2. YOU WILL SUFFER, BUT WE ARE WORTH SUFFERING FOR – Helen Keller once famously said "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." You want to jump right on the bandwagon of a top-10 team because they look cool, win games, and play exciting football? You are a glory hunter, and you are taking the easy way out my friend. Yeah, you’ll find yourself feeling good about yourself on most Fall Saturdays, but it will be an empty feeling of goodness. Put your lot in with Syracuse, and you will strengthen your soul. Sure, we may never even win an ACC divisional title let alone a National Championship, but you’ll celebrate rather than lament a 6-6 season alongside some of the funniest and well-grounded fans on earth. And on those rare years when we put it all together and win 10??? Well, you will experience a euphoria as close to anything as the first time you made passionate love, with the bonus that you won’t have to share any of it with those gross LSU or Ohio State fans…yuck.

3. BEER – If you are a beer lover, there is no better school to support than Syracuse. Why? Well, for starters, the Carrier Dome is one of the few college sports venues that serves beer during games. Want to throw back a cold one at Doak Campbell while the Seminoles are crushing some mid-tier ACC school on an 85-degree day (like Syr…err…Pitt!)? Sorry dude, you’ll have to settle with pounding drinks at the tailgate and live off your own alcohol-soaked sweat for three hours. Want to rub a cold Rolling Rock at Death Valley while the Tigers rub Howard’s Rock? Nope. The only "death" at Death Valley is going to be your thirst. Syracuse fans do not ever suffer such indignity. Add that to the fact that the Central New York area is home to some of the finest microbrews in the nation, combined with TNIAAM’s growing reputation as a great source of all things "tap-able", Syracuse is truly a suds-lover’s paradise…after all, you can’t spell suds without SU!

Lisa Nelson

1. Everyone loves to hate you. That may not sound like fun, but it really is. What's more, imagine being able to respond to the hate with examples of your team's success. That's one of the most basic reasons teams are hated isn't it? They win. Basketball, lacrosse, cross country...Syracuse sports are winners.

2. Now, I hear you saying, "but Syracuse football hasn't won anything lately." First, wrong. It may not have been the Orange Bowl, but SU has won three bowl games in five years. If that doesn't impress you, you've gotta get behind our current coach, Scott Shafer. He's the heart and soul of the team; a real, salt-of-the-earth guy, who's "next man in" mantra makes sure the hay is never in the barn...and other motivational quips like that. Besides, if you're not a winner, you're an underdog. And who doesn't love an underdog?

3. Finally, you'll have 492 million new friends (give or take). Instantly. I don't live in the greater Syracuse area, so every time I see someone wearing Orange, I say "hey there, I like your shirt," or whatever it may be. So if I see an SU hat, I make sure to say "that's a great hat there, my friend." It's always appreciated, I always get a smile, and some of the best conversations have started that way. Become an SU fan, and wear your gear proudly in public. You'll be welcomed with open arms, and a rousing "Go Orange!" wherever you go. And who can say no to that?

Kevin Wall

1. I agree with Swordsman. Syracuse is a great value pick right now. Many people seem to think the program is down because the 14-15 year wasn’t great, but you are getting in on a P5 program with a lot of history and a bright outlook for the future. The ACC revenue is going to allow Syracuse to maintain the coaching and facilities necessary to continue to compete across the board. Get in now and you won’t be disappointed.

2. As soon as you put on the Orange, you’re part of the Syracuse family. No matter where you go in the world, you’ll have instant connections with so many people. It never fails to hear a "Go Orange" whenever you are wearing orange, no matter where you are.

3. Syracuse is one of a select group of colleges which can boast a National Championship in football, basketball, lacrosse and cross-country. One of the women’s programs is going to break through before too long, so no matter what sport is your favorite (as long as it isn't baseball) hop on board and enjoy the climb.

Claudia Ceva

1. First things first - orange is the best color on the face of the earth. Period. There are so many schools with shades of red, blue, yellow, white, and black, but orange is not so common. Syracuse fans are easily recognizable across the country because the only color they don is the truest of oranges. Once a Syracuse fan, you will know exactly what it means to "bleed" Orange. Picture an entire 50,000-seat domed stadium a sea of orange. There's nothing quite like it.

2. The atmosphere. Sure, the Dome might not be filled to capacity every game day, but that doesn't stop us fans from being loud and proud! We are so passionate about our team that you can clearly hear "Let's go Orange!" chants rising from a mile outside of campus. That's loud. There's a reason the Dome was nicknamed "the Loudhouse." The decibel level can get pretty ridiculous, what with the sound bouncing off all of the corners of the stadium. It's also one of the only domes of it's kind in the northeast. Get cozy with your buddies on a cold winter's night to cheer on the Orange with the best fans on the planet!

3. The marching band and pep band. What do you think of when you think big-time college sports? The athletic bands, of course! During football season, you can catch The Pride of the Orange performing sweet tunes on the Quad before they head into the Dome to run-on to thunderous applause and march the block-S down the field. With at least three different halftime shows during the season, you are sure to be highly entertained. They also keep everyone's spirits up, no matter what the score, during the games. Since there is no room for a marching band on a basketball court, the Sour Sitrus Society entertains the crowd every game with rousing renditions of your favorite songs, both old and new. What more could you ask for?!

Sean Keeley

1. We cover the entire gamut of fan experience. Want to feel like the plucky underdog facing insurmountable odds but with enough history and future potential to make the rooting experience a meaningful one? Be a Syracuse Football fan. Want to feel like the elitist villain who everyone wants to beat but also wishes they could draw as many fans as (at home and on the road)? Be a Syracuse Basketball fan. Want to feel like King S*** on F*** Mountain looking down on all the peons who you're lucky enough to grace with your presence and whom you allow to win every once in a while because otherwise we'd get bored of winning everything? Be a Syracuse Lacrosse fan? Want to cheer on a great group of Olympic sport and women's athletes and feel proud about an athletics program that hasn't forgotten about them? Be a Syracuse fan.

2. We own New York. New York's College Team is cheesy but it's also kinda true. Yeah we can squabble over football market share but there is no denying that when Syracuse basketball comes to New York City, we are the only show that matters. Orange fans descend on Madison Square Garden, swell the bars and dominate the scene. You want to hang out in New York, right? We know all the good restaurants...or at least know a PR rep who went to Syracuse who has a connection there.

3. Our history stands on it's own two feet. SU football gets a bum rap but we've got a National Title and not many schools can say that. We've also got a Heisman Trophy winner and not many schools can say that. And then there's Jim Boeheim and Syracuse basketball. A National Title, all those Final Fours. Don't forget Syracuse men's lacrosse, the best program in the history of the sport. There's Ernie Davis and Dave Bing and Jim Brown and Gary Gait and Carmelo Anthony and John Mackey and Vic Hansen and Billy Gabor and Casey Powell and Derrick Coleman and Floyd Little and so many more where they came from. Get on board now so you can root for the next one in person.

Those are our pitches. What's yours?