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Why I’m a fan of the Syracuse Orange

TL;DR - The ‘Cuse is in the House

1996 Final Four

Welcome to the refreshed Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card (official rules). We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

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It's very odd to think of how you became a fan of something. Especially something that's been as much a part of your life as Syracuse Orange sports has for me. I guess it goes back solely to growing up in Central/Northern NY, in the foothills of the Adirondacks.

Over time, I can remember learning of these "Orangemen" and their presence as a sports team locally. I had a few friends who's fathers were fans and they were being molded to bleed orange, so I started paying attention to the program. It was more an osmosis thing initially. Everyone else was a fan, so I became one.

Even being "local," there were extremely limited times that you could even see the Orange. I was an hour and a half from the Dome with two parents that didn't really care about Syracuse sports and no television.

1996 Final Four

Now, contrary to what you've heard from John and Andy, this was in the age prior to the mainstream evolution of the internet. I didn't have access to the internet until probably junior high. Even then, that version of the web was a distinctly different animal than what we're used to now. We had modems and dialup and your parents picking up the phone and disconnecting you from AOL or Netscape or whatever. The dark times.

We could sort of get scores for sports on the internet, but you got your news and sports from the daily paper and of course SportsCenter. No DVR, no rewinds. God forbid you missed the score, you'd have to wait for the ticker to cycle all the way, which would inevitably take long enough to go to commercial and you'd have to wait through it again on the other side of the break. It was science that you'd show up when the scores for Texas were up. Just too late.

What sealed the deal was the 1996 basketball team. John Wallace, Lazarus Sims, Jason Cipolla, Otie Hill, Marius Janulis, Todd Burgan and company. I would have been in sixth grade at the time and it was the first time I can remember seeing them on television at all. I remember getting to watch the NCAA Tournament games, staying over at my friends house, his dad, being a fan, wanting to watch. It was going to be great. I didn’t realize, but SU had a tough draw. The Orangemen cruised through Montana State and Drexel.

Then the Georgia game happened.

Cipolla.

Overtime.

Wallace.

You couldn't help but be hooked.

They followed that up with the game against the Kansas Jayhawks, another last minute victory and one of the most “memorable” moments of Orange history:

They had me. I started paying more attention. I forced my parents to buy me a McNabb jersey and actually wore it out, wearing to to school as much as I did. I followed closer. I always found time to look up scores. It was an event any time they were on TV. Trips to the Dome became a thing.

When Syracuse won the 2003 NCAA Tournament, I was an undergrad at Union College. I think I was the only Syracuse fan in the dorm, but the rest of the floor sure know the Orange had won it with the way I was running around like a lunatic.

When I was at SUNY ESF, I had season tickets and started a now-defunct blog (Getting Back to ‘03 for any who remember it), which led to meeting Sean and the rest of the community. When I moved back to Syracuse we now have seasons again and Sean needed a soccer writer, so here I am.

I was hooked. There was no two ways about it. That 1996 men's basketball run may not have been why I became a fan, but it was what made me the fan I am today.

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Again, share your own story over on FanPosts. I’m sure someone’s reason for rooting for the Orange far outpaces this one.

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