At 4:15 Sunday afternoon Orange fans jumped from their seats where they had nervously sat for two hours. They raised their arms in the familiar victory pose. They high fived, fist bumped and hugged friends, family and complete strangers. They shouted in unison: "YESSSSSSS! We did it!" That same cheer was followed by a range of added descriptors like. "I can't believe it." "Holy ----" "Boeheim is a genius." And, I want to go outside to the driveway and play some 2-3 zone.
Among those watching the game in the Liverpool family room where I grew up watching great Syracuse games. My 87 year old father, my 27 year old niece and my 9 year old dog Bentley. Bentley may have been the only one in this multi-generational family of Orange fans who took the victory in stride. The rest of us yelled at the television, questioned every call and debated whether Boeheim should keep intentionally fouling Michigan State with the game on the line.
Even in the tail end of our overly long winter our minds, heart and blood pressure are all lifted by cheering on Syracuse in the NCAA tourney. We've felt the heart break of highly talented top seeds falling too soon in the tourney. That may be why the runs feel even sweeter when made by a nearly didn't get invited group like this one, similarly to the team from two years ago.
Have you made your viewing plans yet for Friday night. The oddsmakers say Syracuse is an 80 to 1 long shot to win the whole tourney. That seems like a pretty good shot and a big payoff. If the opponent can't score more than 56 points per game, of course, Syracuse has a chance to win it in the end.
Just make sure your have your family AED powered up and ready to go. There's a good chance someone will need it as the clock ticks down.