Enough Is Enough: Why Fan Tardiness Has Become a Concern in Syracuse

Dan KelleyCorrespondent IOctober 17, 2009

Have Syracuse fans forgotten how to conduct themselves at a football game?

It certainly seems so. Already this year, a collection of Orange bloggers were forced to rebuke the Syracuse fan base for their inappropriate use of the wave .

Perhaps they should be excused though. After all, the majority of them haven’t been around the Carrier Dome very often the past four years. Aside from the 10,000-20,000 die-hards that faithfully made their way to see the Orange play each Saturday, the Dome has been a rather desolate place these past few years.

These days things are looking up though. With head coach Doug Marrone at the helm, the Orange have looked considerably better this season, despite the 2-4 record, and many of the fans have come back.

So far this season, Syracuse is 57th in the country, and fourth in the Big East in average attendance with a respectable 40,958 people a game.

It’s probably fair to say that our resurgent fan base has forgotten a thing or two the past few years. That’s why I feel some of you may need a wakeup call.

The attendance figures aren’t my concern at all right now. Nobody could realistically expect Syracuse to sell out the Carrier Dome until the team’s improvement translates into more wins. For where the team stands right now, just a bit fewer than 41,000 fans a game is terrific.

The thing that disturbs me and I now feel obligated to address is the punctuality of some of the returning Orange fans.  

Starting the season at home against Minnesota, I myself misjudged the amount of time I would need to get into the building and didn’t arrive at my seat until the Orange were already down 7-0 following the high snap over Greg Paulus’ head and Minnesota touchdown two plays later that I later saw for the first time in the highlights later on.

The fans had come out in numbers that I hadn’t seen in years, and it seemed as though everyone was unprepared for the lines at the entrances, including the Carrier Dome staff.

However, both the Dome staff and I adjusted and since week one I’ve had no trouble getting into the games on time. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case for 5,000-10,000 other fans that have been attending the games.

Each and every week, the Dome has looked like the barren facility that had become familiar during the Greg Robinson era up until about the middle of the first quarter, and sometimes close to the second before the stragglers finally make their way in.

Tailgating is a lot of fun. I understand that.

However, tailgating and the other festivities that take place prior to the start of the game are only supposed to be the appetizer.

When it comes down to it, you didn’t come to the Dome all decked out in your Orange gear to spend your Saturday afternoon in a parking lot guzzling beers and telling the same tired jokes that you and your friends have probably been saying for years.

You’re there to show your support for your home team and to be entertained by the Orange’s new-found aggressive, exciting, hard hitting style of football; the kind of college football that can’t be found anywhere else in the state of New York.

Believe me, the parking lot and all the good times that can be had there will still be available after the game. In fact, you can even pack the party up in your trunk and take it anywhere else you want to go. There are many other wonderful parking lots in the city of Syracuse.

On the flip side though, Orange fans only get eight opportunities to see their team play this year, and now there are only three chances remaining.

The opportunity for bowl eligibility is still alive, but the Orange will need all the support they can get from the fans in their three remaining home games to pull it off. Make your presence felt from the opening kickoff in your last three trips to the Dome.

Kickoff for Syracuse’s game against Akron on Saturday is at 3:30. I expect to see you there by no later than 3:15.