I’m currently sitting here in JFK airport during a layover as I travel from Syracuse to Maine for my Thanksgiving break. As I got off my first flight and started walking through the halls of the terminal, I was given a reminder of why Orange pride is so amazing.
I’m wearing my typical Syracuse sweatshirt, Syracuse sweatpants, a ‘Cuse hat, Orange shoes and my Otto’s Army T-Shirt, pretty similar to any other day of the week. While on campus, my outfit doesn’t really phase anyone. It’s a normal day to see students walk around in Syracuse attire. But away from campus, it’s a different story.
As I walked from gate to gate, looking for mine, I passed three different Syracuse alumni who stopped to talk to me about the school. Even though I’m clearly tired and cranky, they went out of their ways to greet me with smiles. The pride the alumni of Syracuse University have for the school is incredible.
I’ve worn Orange every day since coming to Syracuse. That’s two and a half years of Orange clothing every single day. My friends think I’m crazy and sometimes I think I’m crazy, but then things like this happen and I remember why I wear the color. It’s not because I think I look good, or because I feel obligated in any way, it’s so when I’m out and about in the world, I can relate to the people who love the color (and the university) as much as I do.
This pride isn’t a recent phenomenon, it dates back to the early days of the university, to some of the oldest alumni out there. I had a chance to talk to a 1952 graduate during homecoming weekend a few days ago and he started to cry when talking about how much he loved returning to campus, even though it’s vastly different from the days when he attended.
He told me stories of watching Jim Brown and Ernie Davis at Archbold Stadium. He talked about Davis’ last game. The man brought whiskey sours to the game to celebrate Ernie’s amazing career. He and his friends decided to take a drink every time Davis made a big play. Needless to say, they got pretty drunk.
I just hope that one day, I can look back on my time at Syracuse University and reminisce the same way. I hope that the Orange pride will still burn as strong 40 years down the road. I hope that one day, I’ll be that alumni greeting a student at a random airport around the country to talk about the school I love so much.