Matt Carberry (kingpin248) wrote,
Matt Carberry

It's different for us.

Holy shit. We're playing for the National Championship on Monday.
- RichH, eLynah Forum

For the first time in twenty-one years, a Big Red team is one win away from an NCAA championship. At one o'clock tomorrow, Cornell's men's lacrosse team will meet the Syracuse Orange at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, with the winner taking home a gold trophy and a place in the history books. The Orange are defending the championship and seeking their fifth of the decade. They were supposed to be here; the second seed, they have easily handled Siena, Maryland, and Duke thus far. The Big Red were seeded fifth, and as such were expected to go out in the quarterfinal. But they didn't, taking down Ivy co-champion Princeton 6-4 at Hofstra. That win set them against top-seeded Virginia, where none of the lacrosse cognoscenti gave them a chance. The 'Hoos were supposed to simply overpower and outscore Cornell; how could any defense contain all those weapons on the attack? How? Get an early lead and control time of possession, that's how. 3-0, then 6-1, 8-2 at the half...and every time the Cavaliers tried to get rolling, the boys from Ithaca answered. It finished 15-6 to the Big Red...and so it is that we have this all-Central New York and all-color title game.

Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, Cornell - hmm, one of these things is clearly not like the other. Three from BC$ conferences...and an Ivy League school. That translates to a starkly different perception for fans of the Big Red. To be sure, each of the "Fastest Four" has passionate lacrosse fans, and they were out in force at Gillette. But only one sport reigns supreme in Durham, as confirmed by visits from College GameDay during the winter months. Virginia's hoopsters, despite missing the NCAA Tournament this year, still played on ESPN2, ESPN, and ABC this season. And the Orange? After tomorrow's game, poll ten Syracuse sports fans at random on the defining 'Cuse sports memory of this year, and at least eight will answer "six overtimes at Madison Square Garden," regardless of tomorrow's outcome. As for us? Saturday was the first time in six years that the Big Red have represented on either of the two main channels of the Self-Proclaimed Worldwide Leader. Sure, we've been on the YES network's coverage of Ivy League football, and selected markets have seen the Big Red cagers in the Big Dance these last two years. But not since we came so close against New Hampshire in Buffalo in '03 have so many been able to watch my school represent. And tomorrow, they'll be seen on "the mother ship?" Wow.

One thing brings this home more than any other. Of the four who advanced to Foxborough, only one brought a band. Actually, that's not totally accurate - only one school's band brought itself. NCAA/CBS got some video with the illustrious Big Red Pep Band, and media mentions also came from Geoff Shannon of Inside Lacrosse, and Alisha Ricardi and Dana O'Neil of ESPN. We know, from the official release, that the seniors who'll take the field for Cornell tomorrow eschewed commencement. But the seniors of the band? They likely raced back to Ithaca, picked up hard-earned diplomas, and will have another early day tomorrow to get back for the final. That is simply how we roll. Cabo San Lucas? South Padre Island? I never dreamed of those as Spring Break destinations when I was on the East Hill, and neither did those who followed our icers to Albany and Grand Rapids this past March. At Shuart Hofstra Stadium last weekend, I remarked that Cornell's final exams had just wrapped up, and yet our band was still there. Well, they've been done for a week, and there was that commencement I mentioned before, but they're still there in force - and I don't doubt they will be on Monday afternoon.

As for me? Well, my car needed a little rest. I am, after all, about to ask it for eight thousand miles over five weeks, on the Post-Navy Roadtrip. That, plus the dedication of something amazing in Northport, plus the availability of these games on channels available even on my parents' televisions, made it logical to not make the trip to Massachusetts. But you know I'll be could I not? LET'S GO RED!!
Tags: cornell
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