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The infinite Syracuse football road trip diary: Central Connecticut

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Hoya Suxa's first diary entry in his endless 2017 Syracuse football road trip.

Hoya Suxa is aiming to attend 7 of Syracuse's 12 regular season football games this year. He'll be filing short travelogues from his journeys.

AGAIN? AGAIN!

He is either your best self or your worst self, you're not sure which.

Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney

Most of the free time that I've had over the last nine months has been spent plowing through books authored by Syracuse grads. George Saunders, Tom Perrotta, Joyce Carol Oates, et al. have intoned the volition of 2017 for me, but it was that quote from Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City — a recent finish within the last two weeks — that found immediate reflection in a baker's dozen of other books: This is your life, and you're responsible for it, even if you can't quite piece it all together into a coherent focus.

Dedicating seven fall weekends to Syracuse football — not just finding 21 or so hours to watch it, but to physically and emotionally spend Friday evenings to Sunday afternoons immersed in what a full football weekend can offer, both "home" and "away" (they're all road games when you live 250 miles from the base of football operations) — isn't an effort to earn an internet gold star for Special Achievement in the Scientific Area of Bleacher Sitting. It's something else — It's investing in a different way as a fan, building stronger bonds with family and friends that are essentially family, experiencing new things, and maniacally creating a life balance by pushing it to the edge of the envelope. There's tension in this -- How far is too far, or is this not far enough? — but that's ultimately the point of undertaking any kind of maximized idea: You must, and can, go further to see if it bears fruit.

There are a number of aspects of mainstream thinking that are suspended for this to work: (a) You need to have an ability to foster an appreciation for the totality of what a college football weekend has to offer rather than tethering the final accounting to the scoreboard when it flashes 0:00; (b) You need to be willing to actively pursue sunshine, even if passiveness is easier and provides an instantaneous sense of satisfaction; and (c) You need to take responsibility for it all and what you'll earn from it may be different from what you originally thought was important. With those parameters, every weekend yields a net-positive, even if the team's year-end record is not indicative of that. These are truths, at least based on how I've moved through existence since booting up this endeavor for the 2015 season. What they mean to others, of course, is internally interpretive — We all own the answers to our own lives, but answers aren't always universal in application or scope.

To those that are going beyond the limits I have in 2017 — I applaud your tenacity. To those that aren't ready or able to push to my maximum threshold but are, for at least a short period of time, screeching across the sky — I applaud you as well. We're all on a similar journey, and what we drink from it will help define who we are, the communities we move through, and what we're trying to squeeze out of life.

I'M GOING TO EAT THIS AND DIE AND PROBABLY BE HAPPY FOR ETERNITY WHILE I HAUNT GEORGETOWN'S DORMITORIES AS A SPOOKY AND WELL-FED GHOST

Last year's tailgates ranged from banh mi to smoked meatloaf sandwiches to fried turkey and anything else we could think of that could be leveraged from the kitchen or backyard and situated on a grill in a parking lot in Syracuse and beyond. This year's opening tailgate salvo continued the theme of treating hamburgers and hot dogs as orphanage gruel: Traditional Cuban sandwiches, pressed onto the griddle by a high-tech grilling implement (note: a high-tech grilling implement is just a brick wrapped in tin foil). The pork was stellar: Rubbed and roasted in the marinade for a few hours before tailgate departure, it exploded perfectly in concert with the sliced ham and swiss, exquisitely complimenting the salty/garlicky homemade pickles that closed the loop on the massive torpedo of deliciousness. This may have been as close as I'll get to understanding the Rapture, and really, there are number of reasons that the Cuban sandwiches were better than salvation (the most important being that I look like an idiot in flowing robes).

The tailgate, though, wasn't the only fire-and-meat-and-I-can-hear-myself-getting-fatter accomplishment of the weekend. With Saturday free for all kinds of incredible human activities, we buckled down in the late afternoon and smoked a chicken and some sausages from Liehs & Steigerwald.

The apple wood kissed the chicken lightly, giving the chicken a beautiful bronzing and a gentle smoky flavor. The sausages — a mix of kielbasa, jalapeno bratwurst, and bavarian bratwurst — were great buffet-style left turns, true Syracuse offerings that didn't disappoint in flavor. With a clever blueberry sour from Full Boar Craft Brewery in North Syracuse discovered earlier in the day, the late summer feast was a final bow of sorts before fall's — and winter's — comfort food takes center stage.

I, FOR SOME REASON, AM THE PROUD RECIPIENT OF A — I THINK — MEMO ADDRESSED TO ME, WITH NO MEMO BODY, SIGNED BY RILEY DIXON (SUPERSTAR PUNTER OF THE DENVER BRONCOS)

I have very weird friends but I love them very much. This — autograph? blood oath? — something joins a place of honor with my Floyd Little bobblehead (we're best pals) on my television stand. May it make watching Days of Thunder on Netflix every other day even more rad.

FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE TRAIN WHISTLE, AND I SAID NOTHING

What I want is a monstrously loud train whistle that blares after Syracuse touchdowns.

That's not exactly true. What I really want is a monstrously loud train whistle that blares after Syracuse touchdowns, but it comes out of the face of a dinosaur on the jumbotron.

That's probably a lie, too. What I actually want is a monstrously loud train whistle that blares after Syracuse touchdowns, but it comes out of the face of a dinosaur on the jumbotron and that dinosaur is ridden by Dino Babers and the dinosaur roars the train whistle sound every time Babers pulls on the dinosaur reins.

That's somewhat true, but not totally, 100% the truth. What I really need is a monstrously loud train whistle that blares after Syracuse touchdowns, but it comes out of the face of a dinosaur on the jumbotron and that dinosaur is ridden by Dino Babers and the dinosaur roars the train whistle every time Babers pulls on the dinosaur reins and it turns out that we're all actually the dinosaurs that are roaring the train whistle sound and Dino Babers is everywhere around us and nowhere to be found all at the same time and I'm not exactly sure what time is as a conceptual theory because TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT! TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!

But instead of that, which the Dome should totally have, I will accept the return of just the regular ol' train whistle.

BINDLESTIFF

Games Attended: 1

Syracuse's Record in Games Attended: 1-0

Miles Driven: ~512

Miles Flown: 0

Next Syracuse Game: Middle Tennessee

Next Syracuse Game I'm Attending: Middle Tennessee

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