It is now official! Effective July 1, 2013 Syracuse University will begin participation in the ACC and cease all rivalries in the Big East. As noted by many on my Twitter feed and as you can read in this great post by Hoya Suxa on TNIAAM, many of us find this to be a bit of a Bitter Sweet Symphony because though we know and support the reasons, the natural rivalries will not be a regular part of our season.
I think my friend buddy HoyaSuxa did a great job with his column so this is not about retyping what he said. This is to try and help show the positives about the move. Sure we can pine about how much I hate everything about Georgetown but those who know me, know I try to find the positives in life.
In 1996, I fulfilled my Army obligation and moved to North Carolina where I have lived since. This does not make me an expert on the area but it does mean I can share some information that will be helpful as we enter the ACC. With that in mind, I am here to share with you 10 things you should know or experience if you take a road trip for SU games to enhance your experience.
10) Pecan Pie and Peach Cobbler. These are things you HAVE to try. I am sure there is a chance you have a recipe you have tried before but for many down here, making a good pie or cobbler is like making a good half-moon cookie. There are people passionate about them and for the most part, you will not be disappointed. If you get the peach cobbler with a scoop of ice cream (ala mode), you will be one happy camper but even without it, you will still enjoy them.
9) There are Wegmans in Virginia and Maryland but they are not everywhere so enjoy it if you find one. The rest of the southern states have Food Lions, Harris Teeters and others so I would say choose Harris Teeter if you want something close to Wegmans and Food Lion if you prefer Price Chopper or Tops. Or you can go with Wal-Mart and Target since those are the same everywhere.
8) Despite the Jeff Foxworthy jokes or whatever ridiculous jokes you have heard, there are many intelligent people with southern accents. Oh sure, the phrase, “Hey y’all, watch this” is used by some but that guy you run into at the store and mock in the line could be the one giving y’all CPR if you need it as well so please, do not point out that you won the civil war or your education is better than theirs. I spent 2 years in Germany watching Americans trying to do this to German people and it didn’t work there either. Try a little southern hospitality and it might get you further than you think…bless your heart.
7) Your trip to Dino BBQ was probably a great experience but I assure you that BBQ here is another world. Heck, there is even western & eastern varieties apparently. The good thing, pulled pork provides for a very quick dinner as most places will have you served rather quickly if you are ordering a plate or a tray as it appears on the menu. There are BBQ places all over and not everyone is similar so try a few if you have time. My favorites our Lancaster’s in Mooresville and Queen City Q in uptown Charlotte (not sure if there is a downtown or not but I do know there is an uptown).
Also, there is a cookout (heck there is even a fast food place called Cookout) and there is BBQ. The two are different things. BBQ is pork while a cookout is what you do when you use your grill with friends and family.
6) Not everyone here is a racing or pro wrestling fan but the ones who are, they are very passionate about it and you best prepare yourself if you wish to mock it in mixed company. Some consider them a sport so don’t antagonize them unless you are looking for trouble. The sound WHOOOO! and the #3 will always spark a reaction. Many can tell you their favorite race or match by heart and mocking their favorite could lead to a heated exchange and possibly a stunner.
By the way, as someone who works for a technical school that offers NASCAR training for those who wish it, don’t knock it until you have tried it. I tried our pit class run by former pit crew guys and I assure you, it is harder than it looks like on TV.
5) Chic-Fil-A is not open on Sundays but is worth it if you love chicken sandwiches any other day of the week. There could possibly be a big cow outside the place waving at you but do not freak out, it will not bite.
4) Bojangles Chicken Supremes are the closest you will find to Tully’s Tenders (that I have found anyway) in the south. They are not similar but those dang Supremes are worth it and are very delicious. In fact, I recommend the combo with some fries, a biscuit and a drink. There are KFC’s and other fast food chicken option (though Popeye’s in some areas can be a rarity sadly) but I assure you that Bojangles is worth the stop whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner.
3) Sun Drop and Cheerwine. Both of these soft drinks are big local favorites with unique flavors not like any other soda/pop you know. Sun Drop is a citrus base and Cheerwine is a cherry flavored drink. Both are especially good if you can find someone who still serves them in a glass bottle or in a slushie. And be careful, Sun Drop could lead to you “dropping it like it is hot” as noted below:
2) Sweet tea! I don’t care about whether you like Lipton Iced Tea, sweet tea is a southern experience. I took my NC family to NY once and forgot to warn them that there is no sweet tea in Syracuse so we found out just how different Lipton is to some homemade sweet tea. By the way, sweet tea either comes sweetened or unsweetened so be sure whether you want it heavily sugared or strong on the tea part.
1) We had a bit of a rivalry with BC and UConn. We had a huge rivalry with Georgetown to the point I still dislike anything associated with the university (it is 7:00pm and Georgetown still SUCKS). However being here you will see, Duke/UNC is a very heated rivalry so pick your blue carefully (light blue is Carolina Blue while dark blue belongs to Duke). Sport talk radio, media and your school and office will be taken over when these two play so get used to it. Someone at your office will have hard feeling the day after a loss to the point they may not even show up at work the next day.
Sure, Syracuse will be competitive and we may develop a rivalry with Maryland or NC State. We may build more on our past ones with BC, Virginia Tech or Pitt but for now, we are probably better off just coming in and kicking butt and taking names. People on either side did not just wake up one day and hate the other; it was something that came about in time and if you argue their rivalry is irrelevant, you will like just lose credibility in their eyes. The games tend to be close, the schools are not far from each other, and every win matters for bragging rights and to them, this is only second to winning a national championship. Besides, we can still brag we beat Roy while he was at Kansas in 2003 .
That is my top 10 list but depending on where the games are, there may be more places to try or things to keep in mind but this is a pretty fair generalization of a wider area. The numbers can be moved around depending on your need or what you like so please do not take the sequence too seriously but more consider it as an overall guide with numbers to emphasize each issue. I always love my trips to Syracuse (excited for my next trip Labor Day week actually) but you can easily enjoy life down here as much if you wish to do so.
Now if you will excuse me, I will go enjoy one thing I truly started to enjoy since moving here and that is some great country music: