This is one of those sports weekends that makes Syracuse the place to be. I've loved it since I was a kid and walked over to Manley Field House with my friends to watch Jim Boeheim play ball with his friend Dave Bing. Now I enjoy the walk in to the Dome to watch him coach.
We went to the Marquette-SU game Saturday, two of over 29,000 fans gathered for the event. It's amazing to witness - no other basketball house comes close to the Dome and its people. From where we sat we could see Bob's cousin Mike with his orange towel under the basket, and see that he brought Aunt Joanne (even though she wore pink, we'll still claim her!) And we were far up, next to "311 Heaven." What a great place to go on a Saturday!
Today Mike Hart suits up to play with the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC championship and a chance to go to the Super Bowl. For newcomers to the area, Mike played for tiny Onondaga Central and broke all records (I swear!) for high school running backs in New York State. We watched him for years, then rooted for him when he went to Michigan. His presense was felt there, too, as a team leader and inspirational player.
Last year he had his NFL chance with the Colts who pass more than they run. He got hurt and had to sit it out. This year he got cut, but then reinstated and saw action the last few weeks. He's small - 5'9" (early in the morning) and now bulked to 209 pounds, so they say. He's torn ligaments and sprained ankles, but he gives over 100 per cent. He's the reason to root for the Colts today if you're from Syracuse.
Tomorrow Georgetown comes to play in the Dome. The expectation is over 33,000 rabid fans will scream for the #5 (in the country) Syracuse team against what will probably be the #10 Georgetown team. It will truly be "The Loudhouse." Derrick Coleman will be there under the basket, Cousin Mike will wave his towel, we will yell whether we're there or not. It will be mayhem - how much fun is that! It will probably also be a good game, no matter who wins (but we will of course!)
Somewhere Mike Hart will watch it, probably resting whatever aches and getting ready for the Super Bowl, eager to get in the game. Go Orange!