If you don't like this book, you hate America... well at least the part of America that is Syracuse University.
I did not attend Syracuse University. The closest I got was attending college in Rochester, some 90 minutes away. As such, while I was aware of the fact that there was a university there and that that university fielded teams in a number of sports, their success, failure, or tradition was never much concern to me. In fact, since I had grown up in an area that was dominated by professional sports teams, and my school of choice did not have any Division 1 programs, the entire college sports landscape was something that might have existed on another planet. Then I got married. My wife, who grew up in a suburb of Syracuse and whose father, uncle, and aunt were all alumni had been attending games with her family for two decades by the time she and I met. Cheering for SU came as naturally to her as breathing. Since I suddenly found myself with a college team to cheer for, I needed to come up to speed quickly on the history and tradition of the school so that I could talk smack intelligently at the local pub. If only I had this book handy during that time. In the interests of full disclosure, I am a daily visitor and commenter to Mr. Keeley's blog, so his sense of humor and reporting style are familiar to me. That having been said, even someone with no knowledge of his writing before finding this book would find it as entertaining as it is informative. It is both a personal narrative into Keeley's own time as a student at Syracuse-documenting events and encounters not necessarily unique to that institution-and also a guide to the history of the school's three major sports teams (football, basketball and lacrosse). The book is accessible to the neophyte Orangeman not only because of the amount of detail and context provided, but also because it is clearly written by a fellow fan (even one who admittedly was raised rooting for the school's hated rivals). The book is not a comprehensive history of any person or event associated with the university, nor is it meant to be. The academic historian would undoubtedly take note with its lack of references and bibliography to support what is clearly extensive research. However they would be missing the point of the book entirely. While the title and format suggest a tongue-in-cheek manual for brainwashing your offspring to cheer for Syracuse athletics, it might well also be titled "An Idiot's Guide to Syracuse Fandom." Armed with the information herein, any barroom trivia contest or tailgating discussion should easily be mastered. This book ought to be assigned to incoming freshmen at SU as mandatory reading before they are able to purchase their student tickets to sporting events. They will find it invaluable in understanding the traditions they are supporting, and give hope that the football team will turn it around some season, and if not, there's always basketball and lacrosse around the corner.
(reviewed 40 days after purchase)