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The infinite Syracuse Football road trip diary: Connecticut

Hoya Suxa's third diary entry in his endless Syracuse football road trip.

Hoya Suxa is aiming to attend 10 of Syracuse's 12 regular season football games this year. He'll be filing short travelogues from his journeys.


I had Syracuse's date with Connecticut circled on my calendar for a while: Not only did the game provide an opportunity to see the Orange win an actual football game in a year where the schedule featured various forms of loss-wielding plague, it also offered the chance to find out if my parents loved me more than one of my brothers. This was pretty serious business: If I could, without prodding or other psychological means, witness my parents actively supporting Syracuse over Connecticut it would mark a major victory in my personal quest to dominate my parents' affection as the best child they created.

Growing up in Connecticut and going to school at Syracuse has always yielded an odd construct in my social circle. Many of my friends from high school are UConn fans, either through a diploma-issued requirement or being drawn into the circle of Huskies fandom due to geographic proximity. While this tension has dissipated over the years as a result of the Orange finding residence in the ACC and Connecticut punching its time card in the haphazardly organized American, there is a personal strain of hostility that remains: My younger brother is a Connecticut graduate and, therefore, stands in the way of me assuming absolute control over which school my parents should assign their loyalty (and, residually, which son they love way more than the other one).

I stood up for my younger brother at his wedding and generally do not want to give him a noogie before introducing his head to a toilet bowl, but his continued existence -- and his backing of the Huskies -- has thrown a wrench in my life-long quest to turn my parents against him and, in turn, in my unmitigated favor. With my younger brother unable to trek to East Hartford for the game, I felt as if the circumstances were ripe to see my parents' true colors. Would they don orange or blue? Which son's choice in undergraduate education would they deem better and, therefore, serve as a clear signal that their fondness for the non-preferenced child was merely the by-product of social norms mandating the acceptance of a child (even if that child went to a school where you can major in hand puppets)?

This was a big moment in my life and, instead of witnessing the volition of my family taking a drastic change of direction, my Mom wore purple and my Dad rooted for beer:

The red and blue that my Dad is wearing seems, at least superficially, to indicate that he's pulling for Connecticut, but the reality is that the shirt was clean and that fact ultimately dictated that it should be worn outside the house. I can confirm this both directly and indirectly: If he was affirmatively wearing things that supported a specific concern, he would not have proudly wore the Budweiser hat while pounding Coors Light during the pregame tailgate. Alas, the conflict for my parents' undivided love rages on with no end in sight.



The best thing about going on the road -- this is in the context of non-Carrier Dome affairs; every game is basically a road game when you live in New York City and your favorite team is located 250 miles away -- is the potential for leveraging the tailgating resources of someone you know that already has a crew together, even if they're season ticket holders for the dope-infested opponent. We were able to pull that off this week: Hooking up with my friend Ben, we welded an alligator mouth to a human face, somehow creating a pregame show of Connecticut fans, Syracuse fans, and non-affiliated animals that were more enthused about drinking at 9 AM and playing cornhole than what the scoreboard would read in the early evening.

The contributions of each side ended up creating an odd menu of astounding pork sandwiches and venison burgers and sausages. This, importantly, is not a problem as much as it is the beautiful consequence of disparate universes, each on their own continuum, finding convergence.

The pork sandwiches are, and will always remain, a reliable option: Boneless pork loin chops grilled over high heat are virtually undefeated, especially when accompanied by the indomitable mustard horseradish sauce that affably complements the power source. I marinated the pork in a homemade lemon pepper sauce rather than addressing the meat in a paprika and pepper influenced rub as is my personal custom, and this generated a more agile offering despite keeping all the relevant supports -- onion roll, provolone, shredding lettuce, etc. -- exactly the same. Life is a rich tapestry of "I hope to God this works and doesn't kill people."

The venison sausages were little rockets that only needed a spark to the fuse to send soaring: There was nothing overly gamey about these marvels, and there was enough fat content in the sausages to keep them moist. Venison is a somewhat acquired taste if you're not used to having your mouth ripped in half, but a solid venison sausage that is seasoned with skill and cased with care produces a very nice option that sits somewhat askew of traditional sausage choices at a tailgate.  As for the venison burgers, these were real estate squatters that never made a final voyage into my fat face. This is disappointing as these vessels of happiness grilled exquisitely and never seemed to find a breaking point, and my gut regrets not having the meat of something that used to nose through the trash in the dead of winter within it. Everyone that had one, though, seemed to believe that deers are actually made of rainbows and these burgers were the natural consequence of that genetic makeup.


Games Attended: 3
Syracuse's Record in Games Attended: 2-1 
Miles Driven: ~1,365
Miles Flown: 0
Next Syracuse Game: Notre Dame
Next Syracuse Game I'm Attending: Notre Dame
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