Earlier tonight, third-ranked Syracuse defeated Connecticut in a close one at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY. Watching this game with my son, I was suddenly transported back 19 years ago.
In January of 1991, Syracuse and UConn took a regular season game at the Carrier Dome into overtime. I was sitting in the seats behind the Southern hoop, maybe twenty five rows up. Just before the opening tip-off of overtime, an announcement was made that the Allied assault on Bahgdad had begun.
I was a freshmen, 18 years old. The enormity of the moment seized all 30,000 in attendance and the Dome became deathly silent. Then, slowly at first, the "USA" chant began. It was the first time I'd ever heard that chant, that pro-wrestling-like mantra that has since marked us as a nation of hubristic blundering. But that night, I suppose there was someting innoncent about it.
Half the students left the game and went back to their dorm rooms to begin their months-long obsession with CNN. It was to be America's first puff of the destructive narcotic of 24hr cable news. I stayed to watch the rest of the game. Sure, we were at war. Sure Israel might jump in and rupture the tenuous Arab Alliance. Sure, I'd soon be attending draft information sessions in my dorm. Sure all that shit was going to hit the fan - but that night - Cuse had to take UConn down. And we did. Just like we did tonight.