Hey guys, writing to you from Syracuse, N.Y., where March Madness is at fever pitch as the Syracuse Orange takes on the Choke-lahoma Sooners at 7:30 p.m. today. (We're Nebraska boys on this blog: We support ANY non-Big XII team that plays the Sooners.)
It's quite a sight up here, and it's something we don't see at VCU -- school spirit. Everyone is in orange, the tour guides for my girlfriend's visit to the law school were clad in orange, you simply can't escape an orange T-shirt, jersey or someone yelling, "GO ORANGE!"
So what did I wear today? Red -- Capitals red. In a quest to see if the Capitals had any fans in Syracuse. Dressed in a sporty windbreaker with the letters C-A-P-I-T-A-L-S and the WEagle, I took a stroll up and down Syracuse's hilly campus in an attempt to experience the school for myself.
Within five minutes of walking up the stairs toward the campus, I hear "LET'S GO CAPS!"
I turn around and two students, head to toe in orange, are walking toward me.
"Caps fans, eh?" I said.
"I am," said one of the students, "but this guy here's a Maple 'Laffs' fan."
His friend looks down in shame and chirps back, "We aren't THAT bad, but the Caps are my second team, plus I'm a big Semin fan."
After a quick exchange of words about the team, and my reason for being there, we part ways. I ascend farther through campus and the Carrier Dome comes into sight. I turn to my right and see the Law School overlooking a valley and as soon as I take a step in its direction I hear another yell.
"Ovechkin is my boy, dawg!"
Yet another Orange student, this time in a Johnny Flynn jersey and holding a basketball. I turn around and start talking with this student as well, probing deeper into his fanship for the Great 8.
"So why do you cheer for the Caps?" I asked.
"Ovechkin is just so exciting. I stopped watching hockey around the lockout, but since Ovechkin came I can't stop watching."
"Who'd you cheer for before the lockout?"
"No one really, I just watched for fights. Now I watch for Ovechkin's goals."
These were the two longest Capitals encounters I had on the campus today. I had a few more people speak to, or rather, yell at me about my sweater. Mostly "Let's Go Caps!" or "nice shirt, man," and one "Let's go Pens! Ovie's gay!"
The excitement these kids had over the Caps and the Syracuse game tonight makes me long for the playoffs and being around 18,000 red-to-toe fans cheering for Washington's finest.
Syracuse may be 10 hours away from home, but with Caps fans in the area I don't feel alone at all.