Last night Syracuse University played Villanova in basketball before the largest crowd in college history. Not only did they play the number 7 team in the country, but they won in such convincing fashion that there was no doubt in any observer's mind that SU will be ranked number 1 come Monday. Wow!
I've been going to games since I was a little girl, walking to Manley Field House with my friends, sitting under the net for $1 general admission. When I came back to the area in 1990, the venue was the Carrier Dome and Alex and I would make a game or two a year. Once Carmelo came, Bob and I started getting season tickets and attending regularly, if not every game at least many games. Never ever have I stood through an entire game before. We did last night, way up in our wonderful 310 nosebleed seats. And so, it seemed, did everyone else in the Dome, each of us waving our orange towels.
I tried to get the t-shirts which announced that 34,616 people attended the sold out game to give to Alex and Rachel, plus a die-hard Kentucky fan/client who is moving to this area. I was sure he would appreciate one! Kentucky is as rabid as SU, regularly beating us in attendance. But he's in Orange country now!
The t-shirts were also sold out! Who knew!?
The oldsters came, the legends of SU sports. Floyd Little was introduced, on his way to the Football Hall of Fame this year. Another "44," Derrick Coleman, gave Onuaku the current center a huge hug. Bob and I believe that Coleman's presence at home and away games has been part of the reason "AO" is playing so very well lately.
It's so much fun to howl "Scooooooooooooooooop!"
We sit with people we've just met this year and others we've known. Next to us is a first year teacher who will be part of the Liverpool down-sizing. The man who sits in front told us of the imminent birth of his first child last year, and shows us pictures of her almost crawling this year. Next year he says she will be there. We sit on seats that Alex and Rachel got us for Christmas - but then, we hardly sat last night.
The night was magical. The Dunk 'n Bright furniture give-away recliner contest was actually won with a throw from the free-throw line. Mr. Tzivani who sits by the court as official greeter, general housekeeper wore his usual orange blazer but added natty orange pants, too. We sat after the game and watched the hugs, the joy that only moments in sports seem to inspire, that we all share. The moon was full as we walked across campus at midnight to retrieve the car from the road by Thorden's rose garden, snowflakes caught the light of the streetlamps.
Syracuse is known for sports and in this wintry season those sports - be it an historic outdoor hockey game at the Fairgrounds, or inside the Dome for basketball and lacrosse - give us so much pleasure.
"Let's go, Orange!"