As a child of divorce and a Syracuse University alumnus, I couldn’t help but share this story about a truly die-hard SU basketball fan.
An Illinois man, identified only as Michael by Yahoo! Sports’ The Dagger, has made an unusual (and awesome, if you’re a sports fan) request in his child custody agreement. After divorcing, his ex-wife requested custody of their son and daughter for several Jewish holidays, Thanksgiving and Labor Day.
Most other holidays, including the kids’ birthdays, are divided up evenly or shared but dad wants 7-year-old Julia and 5-year-old Liam every Easter, St. Patrick’s Day and the day of two sporting events: Super Bowl Sunday and the “NCAA Men’s Basketball Final until end of game if Syracuse is in.”
That’s right, the father is demanding custody of his children for the NCAA Championship game if Syracuse is playing for the men’s college basketball title. A screenshot of the agreement can be seen at Cuse Country.
“Even though Syracuse has only won the title once and it may not happen for another 20 years, it’s something that’s really important to me,” Michael told The Dagger. “It’s not a holiday exactly, but it is holy to me. Other people define themselves by their religion or race. Frankly, Syracuse sports, especially basketball, football and lacrosse, are a big part of my heritage.”
And even though he now lives 700 miles from Central New York, Michael says he continues to teach his children to root for Syracuse. He even dressed them in SU sports gear and watches Syracuse football and basketball games with them.
According to The Dagger, Michael never attended Syracuse University but grew up in Syracuse rooting for the Orange when they were still called the Orangemen. In grade school, he and his family gathered to watch former SU basketball stars like Derrick Coleman, Sherman Douglas, Billy Owens and Rony Seikaly.
Of course, the only time Syracuse won the Big Dance was against Kansas in 2003 under head coach Jim Boeheim, with current NBA all-star (and Team USA Olympic player!) Carmelo Anthony. However, Huffington Post notes that SU’s strong performance this past season and already high predictions for the 2012-13 season, Michael just might get to see his kids on the day of the next NCAA title game.
As a fellow fan who bleeds Orange, I always hope Syracuse’s sports teams win big so I’m rooting for Michael’s request. I was a freshman at the school when Hakim Warrick blocked the shot in the final seconds of the 2003 championship, so I got spoiled early. As someone whose own parents are divorced, I don’t see anything wrong with the agreement — unless it’s a nasty jab at his ex-wife for being a fan of one of SU’s rivals, like Georgetown, UConn or whoever will be next in the ACC… which would just makes it more awesome. Go SU!