Saturday, August 16, 2014

Syracuse, The Worse Part

After our fun dinner with Mary, we headed to the Syracuse Chiefs' stadium.  It was a nice night and we were looking forward to another game.  I hadn't been to this stadium since 1999 when I interned for the Buffalo Bisons and another intern and I chaperoned a booster club trip there, and Craig had never been there.  It all started simply enough.  We parked and I got this picture on the way in...


After we took that picture and started walking toward the box office, a guy stopped me and asked if we needed tickets.  He had free tickets as part of being a shareholder or something, and offered them to us.  So, of the six tickets in two days that we would have had to buy, we only paid for one!  Nice people are still out there!

The stadium looks pretty impressive from the outside, with a full blown upper deck and this tower...
 
But honestly, that's about where it ends.  There is no fancy signage outside, and the inside is just lacking pizazz and decent amenities.  It's fine, but it pales in comparison to Rochester and Buffalo. 
 
Once we got in, we wandered through the concourse and headed into the store.  We looked around and while we were there, one of their mascots, Scooch, walked in.  Carter was checking him out, as usual, and as I pulled out my camera and turned it on to try to capture his face, the camera whipped out of my hand and landed on the carpet-covered concrete floor.  That's happened a couple times, but this time something went horribly wrong because the pieces covering the lens were messed up.  The lens wouldn't retract, and as I tried to unjam it, some of the pieces came off.  So...my camera is officially dead.  It was only 2-1/2 years old.  The whole thing just makes me sad.  And in the middle of a vacation, I was extra upset, because I sort of feel like if it's not on camera, it almost didn't happen, you know?  I was heartbroken.  And cranky.  And as we sat there in our seats, Craig checked his phone and saw the news about Robin Williams.  Not a good night at all. 
 
The only good news in the mess was that Craig keeps our old digital camera in his car for work, and once we got through that game, I'd be able to use that for the rest of the trip.  Small consolation, but better than nothing.  So, the next few pictures are from Craig's phone.  Here was our view from our first set of seats (we had to move around, which I'll talk about in a bit)...

Here's a rare sighting of me, sitting with a cookie-eating Carter...

We had to get up and walk around because Jacob wanted to get down to their kids' area, which was free but total chaos!  He wanted to do the pitching thing, and then we did an inflatable version of skee ball. 
We wandered back up to the concourse, but by that point all Carter wanted to do was wander off.  We tried to sit but he refused.  He was a major handful.  By the 7th inning stretch I took him to the bathroom to get him changed and in his jammies so we could leave and plop him in bed right when we got back.  Jacob was unhappy we were leaving, but it was the best thing for all of us.  And Carter actually did stay asleep (which is nothing short of a miracle, seriously--that kid never stays asleep getting out of the car!) and we were all in bed before 10pm. 

I slept pretty lightly since Carter was still a little restless.  The next morning I woke up to the sound of rain.  The forecast was terrible and we had planned around it.  We were going to go back to the SU campus and visit Manley Fieldhouse, which has a lot of Syracuse's sports hardware.  It's an unassuming round building flanked by some office wings, but inside was pretty cool.

Right inside were displays with equipment and memorabilia of the various SU sports teams...

...and beyond that some selected trophies were featured on pedestals.  In case you're wondering, there was a giant trophy case with the rest!

Here's a closer view of the lacrosse team displays...

One of the more impressive features of the building is the Carmelo Anthony wing...
 
The wing highlights all of the successes of the men's and women's basketball teams...

 
Notice the championship trophy below...and interestingly it's in a display case that's visible in the practice gym, too.  Talk about motivation... 

The practice gym was set up for volleyball.  Nice facility.

The visit wouldn't have been complete without a photo with the giant "S".

We also saw this cool sculpture featuring Gary Gait, one of the great SU lacrosse players and a former Knighthawk.  It's him scoring a goal from behind the net, which was almost unheard of back in the day.

On our way out we snuck a peek at the field in the fieldhouse.  We saw some soccer players walking through the building and some cheerleaders practicing on the one side.  This picture is hard to see, but the low ceiling was just as you walked into the field area before you hit the track.  It looked really nice, though, with workout equipment on the far side. 

We finished up at SU and braved the rain back to the car.  We decided to go to Destiny USA, Syracuse's giant mall, to grab some lunch and run into a few stores.  It actually worked out well, as the Pizzeria Uno in the food court had a great deal on gluten-free pizzas through the quick service window.  Carter and I shared some Popeye's chicken.  We did a little shopping and I stopped into Best Buy to start my camera shopping.  The mall is huge and intimidating, so we didn't venture too far in.  We had to keep the time in mind as we had to get back to Rochester for my office's summer outing, a night at the Red Wings game.  And yes, that would make three games in three days.  And this one included free tickets, too.  So, three games, one ticket purchased.

The weather was iffy, but the rain stopped for most of the drive and cleared up through the beginning of the game.  We had a nice meal under a tent on the patio at the game, including gluten-free pizza for Jacob.  All was well until shortly after the game started, when the rain began.  We hung in there for a while, just hanging out under the tent and chatting with my co-workers and their families, but when the game went into a rain delay, we headed to the team store.  I looked at the radar and it looked bad, so we headed out into the rain and called it a night.  The game got called sometime later.  They only got a couple innings in, so the good news is that we get free tickets to another game.  The bad news is that just as we were getting Jacob into bed, the power went out.  And it stayed out, so we went to bed early...again. 

The rest of the week has mostly been time at home.  Lazy mornings, the kids tearing the house apart, and me digging into my to do list.  It's been quite the week of organizing hand-me-downs, logging donations, scrubbing the kitchen floor, and organizing as much as possible while my brain isn't cluttered and my energy isn't depleted.  I still have so many things I would have liked to get done, but alas, now it's off to Buffalo for a family wedding on my side.  The progress was good while it lasted!  Back to reality in a couple more days :(

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