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How the West Coast Treated Orange Nation

A travelogue of one SU fan who dared trek three time-zones for a football game.

Seattle is different. Washington is different. The West Coast is different.

Things move slower, people dress differently, and oh, and the football teams are better. At least better than Syracuse.

I’m wrapping up my trip to Seattle by watching Redskins-Cowboys before I head off to the airport. This Fizz scribe had never been past Indiana before. What did I learn? Time travel. I leave at 11 p.m. and arrive at 10 a.m. Culture. This is where hipsters truly come from.

I’ve learned that people actually wait to cross the street until the light tells them to, not just when the coast is clear. (I was scolded by a cop at the football game for jay-walking. Seriously?)

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

I’ve learned that sports on the West Coast are a leisure activity, not a way of life – and that was the hardest part to deal with.

I’m from New York. I like fighting with rival fans. I like beer and food being thrown at the opposition. I like cursing, angry, sweaty fans. If you want that, don’t go west. Also if you want a cold beverage while watching your favorite team – forget it. They don’t even SELL beer at Husky Stadium.

The fans at the stadium were passive, they didn’t heckle any Syracuse fans (the worst response we got to an SU shirt was “Go Huskies”) and showed up rather late to the game. Give them credit for a good college football atmosphere: 65,000+ fans, an awesome setting, and plenty of hot UW co-eds. Not the Carrier Dome’s finest qualities.

As for the game, it was pretty good for the first half at least. Syracuse got out to a lead, the defense was playing well and it all went downhill. Did you expect Syracuse to win? Not really. For me, it was more about the experience of seeing a game somewhere other than the Dome.

Husky Stadium is an awesome setting for a game. Plenty of room to tailgate around the building and one of the most picturesque vistas through the opening of the horseshoe-shaped stadium. You have a full view of Lake Washington and all of the boats that are on it. Before the game, fans tailgate on their boats too. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

The stadium is old – it’s getting renovated next year – with small concourses and even tighter seating. Annoying? Yes. But on third-down? Wow. The entire place shakes and you can feel yourself moving in your seat.

Jet lag wasn’t a factor for SU. A day passes and you’re done with any effects of that – at least I was. It was simply a mismatch between the UW receivers and the SU defensive backs. Although conspiracy theory nugget: in the press box postgame, radio frequency technicians mentioned that both coaching staffs had problems with their headsets the entire game.

Apparently, the SU coaching staff use ten headsets during the game and had to switch eight of them from wireless sets to wired ones at halftime because of frequency problems. Guess what? They were not happy about it. We know Doug Marrone went on a tirade after the game. He says it was about the mistakes his team made. The techs insisted UW coaches dealt with the same problems, but they scored 21 more points so go figure.

Seattle is a cool place. As expected, lots of coffee. No really, plenty of it. It was a little cold and cloudy when I was here, but great restaurants (shrimp anyone?), great bars and great views. Definitely worth a return trip.

As I mentioned earlier, life moves slower. It’s ok for a barista to take up a conversation with a customer in lieu of ringing you up, and it’s fine to have slow service in restaurants. No worries, brah.

The West Coast experiment didn’t turn out well for the football team, but for this Orange it was a damn good time.

Posted: Mike Couzens

3 Comments on this Post

  1. You need to get out more. you were surprised that they didn’t sell beer on a college campus?? I’ve visited about 20-25 universities and Syr is the ONLY on campus stadium to sell brew. Tulane use to but they did away w/ it.

  2. Go to enough games at the Dome and that’s what you come to expect, I guess.

  3. I was raised in the Seattle area but born in NY and have been a Syracuse fan forever. I’m glad the cop didn’t give you a ticket for jaywalking, they take it seriously there! Seattle, and western Washington in general is beautiful and I’m happy you enjoyed your trip, besides the outcome of the game! Come back anytime!

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