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Syracuse is Playing in Nebraska!

Tonight, #11-seed Syracuse will play against #2-seed Duke in the Sweet Sixteen (Midwest Regional) of the NCAA Tournament. This regional is Omaha, Nebraska. Truth be told, I've never been to Omaha. But, last summer, I was in Nebraska.

My brother-in-law scored a teaching job back in his hometown in Florida, so he and my sister had to move from Oregon to Florida. He made the trip in July so he could get ready for school, while my sister stayed back in Oregon to maximize her job time there (and also wait for when I had time in my schedule to fly out there and help her move). I was lucky enough to be in Oregon near the solar eclipse's maximum totality landfall and the next day we began our trip to Florida. We mapped out some approximate landmarks to make it to each day, so we could make the trip in a respectable amount of time, but also see some of the sites along the way. When I initially mapped out Eugene, Oregon to Sebring, Florida, I noticed that after Lincoln, Nebraska, the route took us around Ohama toward Iowa/Missouri. And in the process, that route took us by a small town in Nebraska named Syracuse.

So it was fate. The most reasonable route took us by Syracuse, Nebraska. And so, I insisted to my sister that we stop in Syracuse. And I insisted that we wear our orange Syracuse shirts. I had previously bought her a Real Girls Wear Orange shirt for an earlier trip to the Carrier Dome, while I have, well, an entire wardrobe of Syracuse gear. So after a fun stop-off in Lincoln overnight (and a fun minor league baseball game), we embarked toward Syracuse on Friday, August 18. It was a cloudy, dreary day, so I immediately seemed at home.

As we drove off the Syracuse exit from Route 2, I immediately began searching for good photo spots. There was a rock memorial with the engraving Syracuse 1875 -- which I recognized to be five years after our beloved University was founded.

From there, we proceeded to drive into "downtown" Syracuse. It was quaint, with very little happening at 10:00am on a Friday morning. But the banners on the streetposts downtown told us that they cared about their city, they were proud, and they were welcoming. I appreciated that.

I was in search of a postcard -- something along the lines of "Greetings from Syracuse, Nebraska!" But, alas, none could be found. We visited a diner, a coffee shop, a hardware shop, and even city hall. No Syracuse postcards. However, our stop by city hall did yield some results.

The city clerk was extremely impressed to see a couple people walk in wearing orange Syracuse shirts, and after hearing our story, graciously gave me a few sheets of stationary on Syracuse city letterhead. I think Syracuse Orange success in Omaha this weekend will warrant me writing city hall back on their own letterhead. They'll probably addend my letter to the city charter or something!

After a quick trip to the post office for a picture and to mail out a postcard -- just to try to get a Syracuse Nebraska post-stamp to Syracuse New York (which didn't work, they don't post-stamp there), we continued on our way out of town.

A gas station right off the highway has a big nutcracker on its grounds. Maybe there's a deeper meaning there.

Also on our travels in Syracuse, my sister's odometer hit 44,044 miles. You literally can't make this shit up.

So, while Syracuse, Nebraska is about an hour away from the CenturyLink Center in Omaha where the NCAA Regionals will be played, let's be honest: Syracuse home game.

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