Fritos and Reese’s peanut butter cups. That was the meal Greg Fenton ate for dinner Tuesday night after setting up camp in twenty-degree weather outside the Carrier Dome.
“Can’t feel my feet right now, never been happier,” Fenton, a freshman broadcast and digital journalism major, said.
Fenton and seven members of his group are camping out for a basketball game for the first time ever. They all met through the Syracuse After Hours sketch show and talked for weeks about getting good seats for the Feb. 23 game between No. 8 Syracuse and No. 11 Georgetown. They heard about camping out through the Otto’s Army Twitter account, and decided this was their chance to experience something totally new.
They set up two tents in “Boeheimburg,” also known as Gate E, late Tuesday night and brought pillows, sleeping bags and lots of clothes. But nothing prepared them for the cold conditions that followed.
“The concrete is really cold,” Fenton said. “It’s like sleeping in a cold puddle. No matter how many layers you have, you’re going to get cold at some point.”
Audrey Hart, a sophomore magazine and history dual major, was among the first to arrive with Otto’s Army at 10 p.m. Monday night. She camped out for five games last year and knows exactly how to adjust to the unusual living conditions.
“We all kind of donate all our pillows and blankets to keep warm,” she said. “You have to change your daily routine and just have the mindset that if you have extra time you might as well go sit in the Dome.”
Sean Murphy and his friends set up camp Tuesday night at 9:00 p.m. Murphy, a senior communication and rehortical studies and psychology dual major, said he's gone to many games since transferring from SUNY Oswego two years ago, but has never camped out for one.
“It was kind of spur of the moment," he said. "It was basically the tent and ourselves. We’ve kind of been getting supplies more and more in here as the days have gone on.”
Among the piles of blankets and sleeping bags that litter the tent, Murphy says the only food they brought was a bag of Doritos, and bag of cookies, and two cases of water.
"It's like a week-long taigate," he said.
Although the living conditions aren’t ideal, the 43 groups spread out between Gates E and D know why they're sacrificing a warm bed for a concrete floor. Greg Fenton put the entire situation into perpective.
“Just think about it: breaking the attendance record, it’s a No. 11 ranked team in the country against the No. 8 team, last Big East match-up ever, Boeheim’s 900th-win season, Carmelo at halftime retiring his jersey,” Fenton said. “It doesn’t get much better than this.”
In 9 years of watching Orange basketball, Chris Lane has never missed a home game. But he knows this may be the last time he sees Syracuse play Georgetown in the Carrier Dome.
“It’s a really big deal for me,” he said. “I’ve loved this rivalry since I was alive, really.”
A native of Cazenovia, N.Y., Lane grew up a diehard Syracuse Orange fan, and now is a freshman studying communication and rhetorical studies. He, along with some of his classmates, began camping out for the Georgetown game Tuesday night.
Lane’s seen all the great match-ups between the Hoyas and the Orange, and he doesn't want the games between the two Big East foes to end.
“I’m going to really miss this rivalry,” Lane said. “I think it’s a really big deal that we’re here for the last game, or at least the last Big East game between them.”
Greg Fenton, a member of Lane’s group, said it was a bittersweet moment to be a part of this game.
“I’m a sucker for tradition,” he said. “I’m kind of sad that I’m seeing the tail end of this thing. But I think the ACC is going to be cool. I’m excited for the new.”
Seniors Charlie Cornbrook and Galen Anderson have been here before. During their freshman year in 2010, the two friends camped out for the Feb. 27 match-up between Syracuse and Villanova. In that game, the record for most spectators at a college basketball game was set at 34,616 fans.
Three years later, the two are back for another record-breaking night.
“It’s going to be a unique opportunity,” Anderson, a senior architecture major, said. “I’m just glad to be able to participate in the beginning of this and the end of this.”
On Tuesday, the university announced they would stop selling tickets for the Georgetown game after selling 35,012 tickets. That number shatters the one set back in 2010 between SU and Villanova.
Anderson, Cornbrook, and ten of their friends decided to camp out because it was the last time they would be able to as students at Syracuse.
“It’s kind of cool because there’s a lot of people here,” Cornbrooks said.
Instead of scavenging for food in vending machines, Cornbrooks said they just order wings and pizza from nearby restaurants.
“It’s not really much different than sitting at home,” Anderson said. “Except we’re freezing cold.”