Wake up on Friday morning, shower, get pretty, head back to campus, see it for the first time in daylight. Still beautiful.
I checked in for my 10 AM information/tour session, but it was still 9:15, so, with time to burn, I went inside the Basilica for a few minutes and walked around North Quad. I instantly recognized Zahm Hall for its stapled bed sheets hanging outside with, “GO IRISH!” written on them. (I do love the Zahmbies.)
And then it happened. I saw my first football player in person!
And of course I blanked. Oh my life!
I recognized this human, and thought, “Oh! I know who that is! It’s...it’s....oh Lord! What’s his name?! BAHHHH!” He passed me and then started talking to someone else I recognized, whose name I knew instantly, because who wouldn’t recognize Manti Te’o? BENNET JACKSON! That’s who that was! But they were talking, and I didn’t want to interrupt, so I didn’t. Regretting that now. Stupid me.
By then, it was time for me to head back to the Dome for the information session. They talked about this and that...things I’d learned a month ago when an admissions rep came to my high school, but the tour guides did not come to my school, so that was something new and exciting.
The ND students all introduced themselves, told about their activities and studies at ND, and then let us decide who we wanted to walk around with.
If it were a competition I would have won. Here’s why: I wanted to go around with someone who was in Mendoza since I want to study at Mendoza, and one of the guys was a finance major in Mendoza. Well goody! Here’s the second reason I won: he was so freaking cute, and quite the friendly human being. Win. Win. Win. (And if he goes to ND, he’s obviously smart. Win.)
So we went around campus. I got to see LaFortune Student Center (or LaFun as the students call it), Hesburgh, the tunnel of the stadium, and basically everything else on campus. It was pretty fantastic.
After the tour was over, my dad and I just walked around for a bit. We saw the Monogram Club in Joyce Center and Purcell Pavillion and went to Hammes bookstore (where I got a new shirt and hat). At that point, since we were pretty tired, we decided to go back to the hotel and reboot. After a nap and a snack, we went back to campus for the pep rally, which I absolutely loved. (Coach Diaco was looking quite handsome in his argyle sweater.) Harrison Smith and Michael Floyd gave short-but-sweet speeches, as did Coach Kelly. And as we were leaving Purcell, we saw Mike Golic, which was huge for me since I listen to his and Mike Greenburg’s radio show every single morning on the way to school.
Then came the hockey game. In the brand new, state-of-the-art Compton Family Ice Area, which smelled of roasted peanuts and kettle corn, the #4 ranked Irish took on the #3 ranked Boston College Eagles, and I got to watch. But not only that, but I got to watch from the press box, seated next to the team chaplain and just below the television announcer. No big deal. The game was goooood. Tied 2-2 at the end of the third period, which led to a five-minute overtime. The last minute of OT looked like the game would end in a tie, but then the Irish scored in the last 1.1 seconds to win. It was huge! If I were permitted to watch only one hockey game for the rest of my life, that would be the game I’d choose.
After the game, I had the opportunity to go to the interview room adjacent to the team’s locker room. The team had the bass pumping like crazy, and we just waited. Bryan Rust, who helped make the last goal, came out of the locker room, still in his under-armor and uniform pants, and answered some questions. Then Coach Jackson, and then goalie Mike Johnson. They all seemed very nice, and very down to earth. After the media session ended, though, I hung back to interview Eric Ringel. He very graciously answered my questions. All I could think was, “Wow. This is different.” Honestly, what teenager has an interviewing job, gets a press pass to sit in the box of a hockey game, and is allowed to interview a member of the team after the game? (HUGE shout out to TNNDN for giving me that job!)
After the interview, it was off to the Dome for the Midnight Drummers’ Circle. I got there 30 minutes early and got to stand around in the cold and wait, but everything is better with good company, which I had. The performance was very cool! Once again, it’s something you don’t get to see every day. Thus, my Friday came to a close. Next up was game day.
Part three to come....