Why this hack will always remember 2009-10 Syracuse basketball team

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on May 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm Commentscenter_img The cab to the airport arrived around 5 a.m. and parked outside my Sumner Avenue home.Conversation with the gruff driver waiting inside already seemed unlikely. Not just because he seemed like the silent type; planted firmly in his front seat and eclipsed by a thin film of cigarette smoke. But because I, too, wouldn’t be talking while I dug through my bag and realized all the things I’d forgotten (press pass, it turned out).He asked me where I was headed, and I told him Louisville. It was to cover Syracuse’s regular season finale against the Cardinals. The last game at Freedom Hall. I didn’t think he’d care. I didn’t bother to mention it.But at that moment, he knew why I was going where I was. Like so many people I’d met since the start of basketball season, the Orange actually meant something to him. He didn’t remember player names exactly (Andy Rautins was something like that guy who can shoot. Wes Johnson, I gathered, was the really, really good one.). But regardless, we talked Orange hoops the entire way as the driver expertly navigated around a shut-down Route 81. Being the men’s basketball beat writer for The Daily Orange made me some kind of expert. For whatever reason, this guy cared about what I had to say.I walked onto the plane that day knowing for certain this was the best job anyone could have.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textKnowing what I knew, covering what I covered, I was riding alongside the beat of the community. Bartenders, students, parents and teachers all wanted to tell me why they thought Andy Rautins went 0-for-2 against Marquette and what Jim Boeheim could do to fix it. And they listened, I think, when I talked about the Golden Eagles’ triangle-and-two defense and how it’s designed to take out primary scorers (thanks, Boeheim).Maybe it’s because I never shut up anyway. Talking about sports is great and this just afforded me another opportunity.But being around the 2009-10 Syracuse men’s basketball team was something more. I watched as the hype grew from Dolphin-prone lightweight to the toast of New York City in less than a month. I got to see Wes Johnson emerge from cagey forward to dazzling lottery pick.And on those really great occasions, I got to see random members of the community and talk to them about their team. Those moments — hearing what everyone had to say about Kris Joseph’s viability as an NBA forward, about Brandon Triche’s subtle firepower, and about how people like this year’s team better because ‘nobody pretends to be a gangster when they’re not,’ were just as fun as sitting courtside.Just like a few of them read my stories (thanks, Mom and Dad), I listened. Journalism, as we’re taught, is a form of public service, providing information to the public. And with a year like this one, where everyone seemed engaged, interested and inside the Carrier Dome against Villanova, it made everything all the better.When I leave this place for good in two weeks and move on to another city, another paper and another team, I hope I find something this good ? a place where people want to pick up The Daily Miracle and start a conversation. I hope to find an opportunity like I did to meet so many interesting people. And I hope, one day, I can be part of the community’s beat one more time and get the chance to remember why I love this job as much as I do.So, as I finish writing my last few words at this paper, I just wanted to say to the basketball team, the fans, the teachers, the bartenders and especially the cab drivers, thanks. It has been one hell of a ride.Conor Orr was the sports editor at The Daily Orange, where his column will no longer appear. He can be reached at [email protected]last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>