Home Sweet Dome

Last weekend my Dad, Ian and I headed up to the Carrier Dome to see Syracuse play longtime rival Georgetown. A record-setting 35,012 people packed the Dome breaking the NCAA on-campus attendance record. Carmelo Anthony was back at the Dome to have his number retired at halftime. The place was rocking and orange was everywhere. It was perfect. Then we lost to Georgetown. Talk about a buzz-kill.

The Syracuse – Georgetown rivalry is legendary and one of the things I’m most sad to lose as conference realignment moves forward next season and the Big East falls apart. I know they plan to continue playing each other, but it just won’t be the same. Seventeen of Syracuse’s 72 games with more than 30,000 in attendance at the Dome have been against Georgetown. A few years before I was born in February of 1980 Syracuse brought a 57 consecutive home game win streak in to its final game at Manley Field House. The seniors on that team had never lost a home game in their careers. Georgetown beat the Orange that day and Coach John Thompson grabbed a mic and announced, “Manley Field House is officially closed.’’ Truly a rivalry for the ages – you just can’t make this stuff up.

Last weekend, this year’s Syracuse squad took a 38 home game winning streak onto the court. Thanks to Otto Porter blowing up for 33 points and Syracuse not being able to beat their 2-3 zone – something you think they’d know how to attack! – the ‘cuse lost their last Big East home game to the Hoyas. Current Georgetown Coach, John Thompson III, said he wasn’t going to give a Manley Field House is closed type of statement. Some might call him classy for that, but I prefer to think he just doesn’t want to give the Orange any bulletin board material for their rematch on March 9 down here in D.C.

I’ll be at that game too and I hope the ‘cuse can return the favor. I’m sure it’ll be a blast and it’s always fun to see so many Orange shirts at an away game despite Georgetown’s best efforts to keep Syracuse fans out. I actually had to make a $50 donation to Georgetown this year for the chance to buy a maximum of eight tickets. They don’t do that for any other game. It was a bit hard to swallow, but worth it to head to Carrier Dome South – I mean the Verizon Center – for the game this March.

Pics from the game at the Dome below. I unfortunately forgot my real camera so some of the iPhone shots are a bit blurry. I did have my wide angle iPhone lens adapter though, so I was able to get some good shots showing how packed it was in there!

Dear Carrier Dome: I’ve Missed You

Dad and me at the Dome!

I went home this past weekend for the Syracuse vs. UConn game at the Carrier Dome. I’m sure there are a lot of other teams’ fans who might disagree, but there is nothing quite like watching a game in the Dome. It routinely hosts the largest on-campus crowds in college basketball, and if you’re there for one of the 30,000+ games, you’ll understand why they’ve dubbed it the Loud House.

On Saturday, the Dome again set the record for this season’s largest on-campus crowd while hosting Uconn with 33,430 fans – also, the fourth largest crowd in Carrier Dome history. I’ve been at many of the attendance record setting games over the years and they are really something special. For years (probably a few too many) I sat in the nosebleeds after buying my $5 youth ticket. When I was in college my Dad and I got season tickets behind the hoop opposite the student section, and I would drive the two hours home from school to make the games.

The first record-setting game I remember being a part of was in 2005 against Notre Dame. The Syracuse Athletic Department actually announced a sell out – the first in history – with 33,199 in attendance. Walking into the Dome that day, every single door had a sign posted that read: Carrier Dome – Sold Out. It gave me chills. Syracuse struggled early that day, and it truly felt like the crowd willed them to victory in a 60-57 win as it got so loud in there I felt like a 747 jet was taking off above us.

Carrier Dome

Gerry McNamara’s senior day game was another special record breaker. No player has quite captured the hearts of Syracuse fans quite like G-Mac did, and I have to admit, I may have been one of the many girls in attendance holding a “Marry Me Gerry” poster. The ‘cuse lost 92-82 against Villanova that day, but the 33,633 in attendance were as loud as ever celebrating G-Mac’s career.

I missed out on the latest record-setting game in 2010, which still stands as the largest on-campus crowd in college hoops, also against Villanova. The Orange didn’t disappoint this time, beating the Wildcats 95-77 in front of 34,616 fans.a

While Saturday’s large crowd didn’t break the record, it was still a packed house. My Dad and I sat up in section 315 about five rows up and enjoyed every minute of it. The ‘cuse made it interesting as always allowing Uconn to within two with five minutes to play. After that they shut it down though, beating UConn by 18 with five walk-ons on the court to end the game. We were on our feet cheering on Melo’s blocks (and jumpers!), CJ Fair’s amazing dunk and watching Kris, Scoop and Dion do their thing. There’s no place like home!