One, it is at the 13:31 mark of the 1st quarter of the men’s basketball game between #13 ranked Notre Dame and #8 ranked Syracuse with ‘Cuse leading by 9 points. I don’t get ESPN and don’t pay for the premium cable channel so I’ve got the audio on through the Internet.
Two, George Streeter just made a tackle on A.D. Brown after a 7 yard run off of left tackle early of the opening quarter of the 1989 Fiesta Bowl. I have DVD of the game, played more than 20 years ago, playing on the TV.
(OK, OK……normally I don’t get that ‘geeky’ when it comes to ND, but this is a Saturday afternoon in the middle of winter with Cath, my wife, off to work, one daughter is away at college and the other daughter is home watching a movie in her room – oh, and it makes for good ‘copy’ ).
Three, on the couch beside me is a confirmation certificate for a 7 night reservation in Mishawaka, Indiana showing the dates of 18-OCT-09 check-in and 25-OCT-09 checkout. Unbelievably, the reservation for the 2 bedroom unit has my name on it. Hotel accommodations during football weeks in the South Bend area are extremely hard to get (unless you want to pay a king’s ransom). How did I obtain this one? Just being in the right place at the right time. Apparently the unit had just become available not more than 7 minutes before I called because someone had just cancelled their need for the accommodations.
Fourth, on the other side of the couch is a printout which was referred to me be URWhatUR, the handle of someone who frequents the popular Notre Dame fan forum called NDNation.com. It is 6 pages. It has terms like Trumpets in the Dome and Midnight Drummer’s Circle and Band Step Off which are strange to me. It has other terms such as Kickoff Luncheon, Team Walk to the Stadium and Kickoff which I do know.
I can’t believe that after 50+ years on this planet we call Earth that I will be able to experience all of these in person.
I have been a die hard Notre Dame fan my entire life. Notre Dame? What other university is there to be a fan of? Not that there is anything wrong with any institution of higher learning. It’s just that Notre Dame has been my favourite since, well, forever.
I couldn’t afford to attend ND back in the day. My grades in high school were good but not sufficiently high to earn an academic scholarship.
As a subway alumn (for those of you who do not know, the term given to fans of Notre Dame athletic teams who did not attend the university), I have cheered (some sports more than others) for the victories and anguished with the defeats on the lacrosse and soccer pitches, the courts, the rink, the pool and the gridiron; forever.
I have 9 months during which to plan, learn, and anticipate what I am sure will be amongst the highlights of my adulthood … right up there with my wedding day and the birth of our children.
When I wrote a post on NDNation.com about this opportunity and what it meant to me, various members of that Internet forum including those who go by the handle of Leahy, Molly Maguires, RocketShark, SonOfND, Lindenc16, Sorin, and cj, amongst others offered their words of encouragement and confirming that this will indeed be an experience I will never forget. I don’t know these people and they don’t know me, yet it was very kind of them to even acknowledge my post and my excitement.
I have to say that IrishLep said it as well as anyone on what this experience meant to him when he wrote:
You will never forget this day. The day that you first get a glimpse of Our Lady on that sparkling dome when you’re driving down Notre Dame Ave. The day you first see the outer bowl of the House that Rock built. The day when Touchdown Jesus stares out at you as if you just scored. The day you walk into an empty Basillica (sic) and take a seat in an empty pew and feel like your 10 years old again, when Catholic churches were massive castles that made you feel as if heaven itself was all around you. The day when you cannot get rid of the goosebumps and really cannot explain how you got them. This is the day you will not forget. This is the day that you will think back to in the darkest hours. This is the day that will solidify your beliefs as to why you bleed blue and gold. This is Notre Dame.
I’ve been to ND many, many times. However, there is not a time that I do not get goosebumps when I step foot on campus or in Rock’s House. You will have the time of your life.
Wow. Uh-oh …. here come those goosebumps again.
Do I have tickets to the game? No. That’s not the point. If I can attend the game, excellent. I have been encouraged by members of that fan forum that yes, I should be able to. We will see.
However, just to soak in the parts of the campus over the course of the week, meet some of the students, administration and the fans who arrive towards the end of the week for the game, to experience the different game week events … to experience in person the passion for Notre Dame and what Lou Holtz constantly refers to as the spirit which exists no where else.
How does one capture this experience? All I can do is to write about it and share the planning, the new (to me) information I find out about the University, share pictures I take throughout the week, etc.
I’ll write ever so often throughout the winter, spring and summer. The posts will become more frequent of course the closer that 18-OCT arrives. Yes, I will do my best to write and post pictures each day while Harvey and I are in the South Bend area on our experiences as well as after.
Until next time,
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