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Georgetown Travel Recap

Many months ago when the SU Men's Basketball schedule came out, there was one date that stood out to me above all others: a February 18 matchup against Georgetown in Washington. At that precise moment, I said "I am going to that game." Not only was this a game against the most hated rival of Syracuse, but it would also happen to fall on my birthday. So I basically promised myself I would go to that game, no matter what. Luckily when I make promises to myself I always follow through with them, and so this past Thursday morning, I made that thought into a reality.
With the car all packed up and a half a tank of gas, I put the key in the ignition and turned on the car. The song playing on 80s on 8 was Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" to which I replied "Why, yes I was, 28 years ago." The trip was already off to a good start.

But it wasn't The Boss that I was itching to listen to; for most long road trips, I make a special CD. This trip would be no different. This one was called "Hoya Hater Birthday 2010" and kicked off with a special podcast recorded the night before by Brian (of Orange::44), Sean (of Nunes/Magician), and Matt (of Hoya Suxa). Because what's a better way to get into the mood to hate the Hoyas than by listening to three of the best in the business talk about it?

Soon after leaving the happy confines of Horseheads, I found myself one step closer to enemy territory, entering the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I couldn't help but think that someone with a Georgetown degree probably erected that sign. Getting deeper into Penn's Woods, I eventually found myself in Williamsport, the headquarters of Little League Baseball and the home of both a Subway and a McDonald's. This was clutch for me because I happened to have $5 in my wallet and a big appetite, along with a craving to have my first Shamrock Shake of the season. And so I had a wonderful birthday lunch consisting of a footlong Turkey & Ham, and a Shamrock Shake.

Reenergized, I continued on my way. Anyone who has ever made the trek through Pennsylvania knows that it goes on and on and on and on. So it was a very welcome sight to drive by this sign, entering Maryland. This was important for a number of reasons: I was no longer in PA; I was in an actual state; and I was almost to Washington! Oddly enough though, I was noticing that the farther south I drove, the more snow they had. Horseheads had a couple inches on the ground, but I get to Maryland and they have a couple feet!

Anyway, I eventually get into Washington, meet up with my friend Vicki, and hop on the Metro to head to the Verizon Center. For the first leg of our trip, we board the Orange Line. Unfortunately we have to transfer, but who do we bump into waiting for our next train at the transfer? The Congressional representative for Syracuse, Mr. Dan Maffei! And to his credit, he was wearing an orange tie and was also en route to the Verizon Center. Upon leaving the Metro, we walk to Clyde's, a bar next to the Verizon Center where the DC Alumni Club is having a pregame party. At the time I tweeted that there were ten thousand Cuse fans there. That may have been an exaggeration, but not by much. The entire place (huge, by the way), was completely packed with Cuse fans. And nearly everyone's wearing orange. And getting liquored up. It was certainly a great atmosphere to be in, especially when you're moments away from entering hostile territory against your most hated enemy. Strength in numbers always helps, which is why I was so happy to see the Clyde's crowd spill into the Verizon Center and virtually take over the place.

By the time we got into the concourse it was only a couple minutes until tip, so I made the executive decision to go right to my seat and wait until the under-16 timeout to get food and beer. On the way to my seat I hear a "Hey John" from behind me. I turn around to see Raymond, who I first met in New Orleans in 2003. More on this later. Anyway, I won't bore you with details of the game, but Syracuse got off to a hot start. There would be no spotting the Hoyas 14 points this go-around. At the first media timeout, I was back out to the concourse where I purchased a chicken sandwich and a Bud Light. 24oz. for $7.50. And I thought for about 30 seconds whether that was a better or worse deal than at the Carrier Dome. Then I figured out that 16oz. for $5 is the same. Though in the long run I gotta give the edge to the Verizon Center, since you can buy more beer at once.
Between eating, drinking, and watching the game, I was not really into twitter as much as I usually am. But during a timeout near the end of the first half, I noticed that Brian tweeted about Erin Andrews being there. A quick scan of the arena and BOOM I'm able to spot her, standing with the cheerleaders (of course). Erin Andrews, it seems, is stalking me on my birthday. Because back in 2006 when College Gameday came to the Dome, that also happened to fall on my birthday, and I was lucky enough to get a picture with her. I had approached her that day with a "It's my birthday today, can I have my picture with you?" She replied "You don't have to lie to get a picture." I offered to show her my license, but I think she was in a hurry and just wanted to pose. So, that was 4 years ago. Now it's 2010 and she's back. She kept her distance this time, though. At least, as far as I know.

So at halftime, Syracuse is up on the Hoyas 44-31. Just dominating the game. I like the position Syracuse has put itself in. Satisfied for the moment, I go get some more magic juice for the second half, and start having thoughts of how -- and when -- Syracuse would ruin the good thing they had going. I was never really able to pinpoint a how or a when, but I knew it would happen. And it did. Luckily thanks to Andy Rautins, the Orangemen never relinquished the lead they had since the opening tip. But I think all of Orange Nation inside the Verizon Center was standing and cheering the last 2 minutes of the game. And I'm sure a lot of the "Let's Go Orange!" chants were audible on TV. Just a great atmosphere to be in under those circumstances. Syracuse got to 75 points and I celebrated a fake Taco Time, and a few seconds later, celebrated a real victory over the Hoyas! I think we all just stood there and soaked it in: that Syracuse had beaten Georgetown in its own home, and had completed the season sweep! Clearly, it was time to go celebrate with some more adult beverages.

So we made our way to a bar near the Verizon Center, RFD. Lots of TVs including a bar upstairs. And virtually a sea of orange! I'm pretty sure all the Hoya fans went directly home after the game. So we're in there having a good time, and who to I run into again? Raymond. So how do I know him? Well, long story short, my first night in New Orleans for the Final Four in 2003 I get separated from my friends on Bourbon Street, and try to walk back to my hotel by myself. Let's just say I don't have all my wits about me, I get lost, and I get in a fight with some bushes. Well, Raymond and a friend of his happen to find me, are able to elicit important information from me (i.e. the hotel I'm staying at) and they help me walk there. It helped that they were staying at the same hotel. Evidently the whole walk home I kept saying "I just wanna go to my room!" I ran into him on Bourbon Street the next night, he filled in some gaps from the night before, and wanted me to say it again, "I just wanna go to my room!" From then on, I have run into Raymond in a number of places randomly, and he always puts in the request for me to say it. So anyway, back to the bar. We exchange pleasantries, he buys me a shot, and I continue with my evening. I met up with some other Syracuse friends and continued to enjoy the night.

The next day, I completed the governmental hat trick, visiting the White House, the Supreme Court, and the Capitol. I highly recommend doing all three. Just in case you've got a Georgetown education, here are photos of what each of the three buildings look like:
The rest of the weekend consisted of an Olympics Party that had an ice luge (I represented Ireland) and my totally not exciting ride home. This was a great weekend for me, and a great weekend to be a member of Orange Nation. One thing is clear about this basketball team: they win all their games in places not called the Carrier Dome. And they win most of the games there. They find a way to win games. Sure, it's cliche, but it's true. And that's what you want in a basketball team. A team that puts numbers in the W column. All in all, a wonderful trip on a wonderful weekend. One could even call it tremendously tremendous. I recommend you all attend a Syracuse/GTown game in Washington sometime in your life.

Now, hopefully I'll have a reason over the next several weeks to travel to other places besides Syracuse to watch them play basketball...

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