Orange Madness through the eyes of a first-year student

The energy of SU basketball began Friday night, and some saw what Syracuse basketball is like for the first time.

Throughout our daily routines, we rarely stop to think about the energy that surrounds us – the energy it takes to turn on the lights, the energy that goes into the production of our food or the energy used to heat our showers.

However, as I stood in the student section of the Carrier Dome last night for my freshman introduction to the long-awaited basketball season, energy was all I could think about. Never before had I been in a place where so much enthusiasm and excitement was packed into one building.

Never before had I experienced anything quite like Orange Madness.

Even after a long week of grueling midterms, the spirit in the Dome was undeniable. The chanting, singing, whistling and cheering began even before the clock struck eight. From New York-themed music to the German juggler on a unicycle, the anticipation was as prominent as our sprawling mass of orange t-shirts. Then, suddenly, the lights went out.

In the dimly lit Dome, the crowd went wild as cheerleaders took the floor. Among the team, at the top of the pyramid, was a new and very special member: Otto.

The night progressed with a dramatic lip-syncing battle with songs like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song to Taylor Swift.

When the women’s team took the court for an eight-minute scrimmage, the crowd hooted and howled. Next, it was the men’s turn, and the student section erupted.

When I attended my first home football game, I was amazed by the amount of orange I saw. I was astounded by the fact that I was surrounded by 39,000 other fans cheering on our beloved Orange in their first home ACC appearance – such an enormous number of people to be united by a common interest for a few hours each week.

Standing in the crowd during Orange Madness was electrifying. With fans, old and new, reminiscing on last season’s triumphs and anxiously awaiting Nov. 1st, the spirit I experienced was tremendous.

The energy I felt proved to me that although I have only been here for two months, it is clear that both inside and outside of the Carrier Dome, Syracuse University is one of the most vivacious places on this planet – and I, for one, could not be more excited to be a part of it.

As I stood there soaking it all in, an older student said to me, “Just wait until basketball season; you haven’t seen anything yet.” I nodded, not doubting his judgment, but wasn’t quite ready to give up the enchantment of the moment yet when he added, “There isn’t any other place like Syracuse, I promise you that.”

Brings Me Back

Nice piece, Leah! Reading your colorful description brought me back to my first time at the Carrier Dome, for a football game my freshman year. All that orange under a bright white-marshmallow roof was as surreal as it was intoxicating. The Dome surely is a special place, especially when it comes to life so raucously in the dead of winter. Thanks for taking me back.

Great article

Hi Leah,
Nice job capturing the excitement in the Dome for the curtain raiser on this year's basketball season. Good to see you applying your writing skills early to the communications network at Syracuse. Keep up the good work.
Jim and Christine

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