Thursday, March 4, 2010

Otto has always been #1 in my book

Check that out, right there. For the time being, my alma mater Syracuse is #1 in both college basketball polls. They've been surging all season (27-2! insane), and even in the past few weeks, with their best player banged up, they managed to beat Georgetown (ranked like #10 at the time) and Villanova (#7). Oh, and Providence, which was especially awesome, because a few of us took the 3:30pm Amtrak Miller Lite Express down to Rhode Island to catch the game.

(Wait, it's not called the Miller Lite Express? It should be. You really have to pound them, it's only a half-hour ride!)

I'd been loosely following the 'Cuse on their season-long ascent, catching a half here and a highlight there. But seeing them play live made it clear: this team is really, really good. I'll be picking them to win the tourney — wait, I mean I would pick them, if I participated in such mischief — and not just out of wistful nostalgia for my college years. I attended two basketball games last week: SU at Providence and the Celtics vs. the woeful NJ Nets, at home. This Syracuse team could have wiped the floor with the Celts that day.

I will now knock on various wooden objects.

Other lessons learned from last Tuesday's adventure:

1. The train is the way to go. I love trains anyway — I mean, I really miss taking the subway to work, and that's just a standing-room-only cattle car hurtling through blackness underground. When you add comfortable seats, scenic vistas, the gentle rocking, and booze car? There's really no comparison... driving is for chumps. Also, we got there in record time, and the kindly MBTA commuter rail (a longer but cheaper trip than Amtrak) got us all home safely after the game.

2. Behaving like you're 23 years old will not actually make you 23 again. In fact, the next day you will feel like you're 83.

3. College basketball road trips are the best (if you didn't go to a big sports school, well, sorry I guess. You're welcome to root for SU). This was on par with our early 2000's trip to New York for the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden. That year, we still had our college IDs and managed to score $9 student tickets — on the floor! — to the sold out night games. Three of us crammed into a 100-square-foot hotel room but we spent most of the night at a diner anyway. (At one point, I believe I leapt into a pile of curbside Manhattan garbage for $5... learning from bad decisions is essential to personal growth, right?) Awesome times, just a few hours away. We should have taken the train!

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