I’m heading back home on Friday, but just for 18 hours as I make a stop at the lone program in Rochester, NY at the Division I status. The Rochester Institute of Technology made the move in 2005, just after I graduated from Oswego and saw the Tigers make a visit to the old Romney Field House. Despite my jealousy in wanting the Lakers to also go from DIII to DI, I’m happy to see RIT at this level and they’ve done quite well, having made quite a bit of noise in their few NCAA Tournament appearances. In 2014, the team left the cozy confines of Ritter Arena to the beautiful, 4,000-seat Gene Polisseni Center. RIT plays in front of their students known as the “Corner Crew” and they’ve earned a solid reputation. The Tigers take on Sacred Heart at 7:05 PM and I’m especially looking forward to this one as my Dad and two brothers will be joining me. I’ll then drive 15 minutes up to my parents house in the suburb of Greece to spend the night.
The second day is another re-visit, as my goal of going back to places where I didn’t have a digital camera nears completion. The two hour drive will go to Olean, NY (ie. the middle of nowhere) as that is home to Saint Bonaventure University. It was all the way back in 2002 when I first went to the Reilly Center, when I had to get my film developed after taking pictures. I remember this visit so well as it was just my 6th overall and the first that really explored a new place that I wasn’t familiar with. It was holiday break from school and I went with a friend, remembering that we caught the beginnings of a storm as snow just began to cover some of the roads. It’s amazing the things you remember as I could still see us pulling in to campus and attendants directing us where to park. The fine details of those first 10 or so stadium visits will always be etched in my memory as I waited years to finally begin this venture. At that time, I was obsessed with college basketball and followed the Bonnies’ J.R. Bremer closely. The game featured former Saint Bonaventure coach Jim Baron returning with his Rhode Island Rams and Bremer dropping 29 in the first half. Not much has changed with this gym and this year, the Bonnies are struggling and it will be an uphill battle as they take on Buffalo. It’s a 4 PM game and I’ll head back to Jersey right after it wraps up.