I can still remember the glorious late autumn Saturday during my senior year at the University of Maryland when a bunch of us student journalists for the Diamondback jumped in a car for a trip to Charlottesville, Va.
My roommate and dear friend, Greg Ten Eyck, had the Terrapins football beat for the campus daily. My beat was the men’s soccer team. They were off that weekend, so I was assigned to write the sidebar for the ACC football clash at Scott Stadium between Maryland and the University of Virginia.
We were joined by an on-duty photographer — Peter Cullen, I believe it was — as well as editor Bill Robinson and reporter Doreen Duffy. They were joining us for the couple-hour drive south because … well, because we were all college students, the road beckoned, and it was an ACC game.
We got to Charlottesville early enough to wander around the toney campus, taking in Thomas Jefferson’s lawn and the striking architecture.
All of a sudden, drawn by a crowd, we found ourselves in a large room that was part of the complex for the basketball arena, University Hall.
Thousands of UVa fans of all ages milled about.
We saw a beverage table. Grabbed sodas. Caught the attention of somebody of high ranking, who asked us if we were members of the booster group.
It was the Cavaliers’ version of IPTAY, the guard patiently said. IP-what? Why, that’ the club made popular at Clemson University for its I Pay Ten a Year pledge when it was founded long ago. (Nowadays, I imagine that the T could stand for thousands.)
As students from College Park, we didn’t have a spare two amongst the five of us. We were politely asked to leave the building. We had a game to attend, anyway. One that Maryland won, 17-7, by the way.
That’s just one of my memories about the campuses of the Atlantic Coast Conference. (Don’t even ask me about the time in Raleigh when I was befriended by North Carolina State students who got a kick out of dialing notorious state senator Jesse Helms’ recorded hotline and sticking the phone to my ear to see my reaction to the diatribe.)
Mike Waters attended the University of North Carolina. He, too, covered sports for the campus daily and took road trips.
So we had a foundation for our book “The Syracuse Fan’s Survival Guide to the ACC.” Each ACC school (minus Maryland, which leaves after this season and plus Louisville, which replaces the Terps) gets its own chapter to describe history, connections with the Orange, and places to go on a road trip.
From noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Waters and I will be available to sign purchased copies of the book in the tent set up by the Syracuse University book store to present local authors as part of the annual Arts and Crafts Festival. The tent will be on the 300 block of Montgomery Street in downtown Syracuse, near Columbus Circle. We’d love to say hello.