When I wrote yesterday's apology on behalf of Syracuse Orange basketball's run to the Sweet Sixteen, I figured there would be a lot of SU fans out there who would get it. What I didn't quite realize was just how much of a nerve the national disgust that so many seem to have with the Orange had struck.
Clearly this wasn't just a couple of us feeling DISRESPEKT. This was something Syracuse fans were feeling nationwide.
It was one thing to watch national writers fall over themselves to retcon their own narratives about Middle Tennessee as soon as Syracuse beat them, it's been something else altogether to see just how much people really don't like SU.
Stewart Mandel finds Syracuse to be the most unlikable team left in the tournament and that "rooting for Syracuse to make the Final Four would be like cheering for the Yankees to beat a Triple-A team."
Matt Norlander says Syracuse is the worst team left and that they've "fooled everyone in getting through to the second weekend."
Rob Dauster wants to make it clear that the Orange are lucky, not good. "Please, don’t be the guy that says the Orange justified their inclusion with these two wins. By all means, enjoy this run, but it doesn’t "prove" the committee right anymore than getting drunk in a bar "proves" you’re 21 if you got in with a fake ID."
Now let's be honest about a few things upfront. It's true, Syracuse got into the tournament by the skin of it's teeth. And if you're looking around at each team on paper, we are in fact one of the "worst" teams left. And we have to admit that Jim Boeheim is the kind of person people just love to hate. So none of this is entirely unexpected.
So the point isn't to go on Twitter and troll these guys. That's silly and just proves to them that Syracuse fans are what they think we are.
The point is to take their narrative they've created for us and run with it.
They want us to be party-ruining villains, so let's be villains.
During football season, we don't get to the be the villains. We have to be the also-ran or the underdog. About the only time we get to be the Big Bad is when we play Wake Forest. Otherwise, we take our medicine and we have to like it.
Not with basketball season. We're an evil empire. We're led by an unlikable (to them) jerk (again, to them). We don't have any superstars that make it easy for people to understand why we're good. We expect to win every season and we pretty much do. We don't do losing seasons. We almost always make the NCAA Tournament (except when we stop ourselves). We've been to plenty of Sweet Sixteens and enough Final Fours. We're always on TV. We take time away from "gritty" programs and "pure" programs and "classy" programs. We do all of this and we pick our nose in plain site in defiance of everyone. No one gets excited when we win. Many people take pleasure in watching us lose.
So if we're bad guys, let's be bad guys.
If you're going to the game, bring your best villain-wear. If I don't see an all-orange Joker in the stands, I'm going to be very disappointed.
If you're online, continue to share our #SorryNotSorry mantra with others. Instead of taking their troll-y bait, puff out your chest and drop a clip of Michael Gbinije dunking on fools.
When we win, flood the Internet with celebration shock & awe. #Syracuse, #Cuse, and #LetsGoOrange better all be trending.
They don't want to see us? We won't give them the option.