As the Syracuse Orange move on from the name Carrier Dome I hope you’ve enjoyed our look back at the games and moments from the Dome’s opening until now. We tried to find moments that touched different eras for our audience so I found it interesting to read your comments (gone but not forgotten) and wanted to share some of my recollections.
When I finalized my intent to enroll at Syracuse and it came time to choosing a dorm I did what everyone does and put the two closest dorms as my top choices. That’s how I ended up living in Sadler where I learned that Syracuse football players like Ernie Davis lived and where I could head to any Dome event without needing a jacket. I was in the concourse of the Florida game and rushed to an aisle in time to see Kirby Dar Dar gliding into the end zone. As the game ended I thought about those Gators fans who had parked their RV across from Sadler the Tuesday before the game....hopefully they enjoyed their last trip North for a while.
Arriving at Syracuse and sticking on the cross-country team gave me access to excess tickets. This meant that athletes could get into Dome games as long as there were seats available-an issue that only came up when the #1 Miami Hurricanes came to Syracuse in 1992, It meant that I got to experience a lot of pretty special games as a college kid without a lot of money.
I’m old enough that I remember the blue curtain, the students sitting across from the Syracuse basketball bench and cheering for free fries that could be redeemed at the Marshall Street Burger King. Over the years we jeered Georgetown, heckled Danny Hurley with chants of “Bobby’s better” and enjoyed the antics of “Rainbow Wig guy” in the student section (I’d like to think he’s a TNIAAM commenter).
I’ve actually been to a Syracuse soccer game in the Dome. I’ve run laps on the Dome track (old and new), worked as an usher for a Rolling Stones concert and graduate twice under the inflated roof. When the O-Zone opened I had front-row season tickets. On one side of me was the owner of Harry’s who rarely showed up and instead sent some real interesting people in his place and on the other was a guy who just loved to yell “Pass the Baloney” when he disagreed with Syracuse’s decision-making. I mostly stared straight ahead to focus on watching Walter Reyes run all over teams.
In February of 1992 I spend two days in the Dome watching my track teammates fight and claw for every point to bring home the school’s 1st Big East team title. We had people who did events for the first time that season, people who turned in career-best performances and a couple who did both. I realized that being part of a team meant putting aside differences to achieve a common goal and most importantly that beating Georgetown in any sport really made a win better.
I’ve been in the building for Moten, McNabb, and McNamara. Watched Calipari blow a trip to the Final Four because John Wall (no relation) and DeMarcus Cousins couldn’t stop Joe Mazzulla. I was at that Casey Powell game against Virginia and never saw an athlete that dominant....until Freeney sacked Vick 4.5 times in a half....and then Melo came through a couple years later.
I left the Oklahoma game early, stayed at the Illinois game too long and shook my head in horror at both the original Ernie Davis statue and the way the 01-02 hoops team closed out the year.
From classic uniforms to the #platinum era and a hopeful return to more script the metal bleachers have been an uncomfortable comfort. I’ve watched as The Dome has gone from a gray, cold place to an arena with bright lights, bright colors and growing tributes to former athletes and coaches. In a few years little will remain the same from my 1st visit in 1990 but new memories will be made and even if the name on the outside changes a few more times in the next 30+ years let’s hope the good times outweigh the bad.