Waking up in South Bend (or in my case, Mishawaka), Indiana on a Notre Dame football game day is different than waking up anywhere else. You know that your day holds something special.
So we just kind of waited around for a few hours, watched TV, until it was time to head back over to campus. There is very little parking available to the public on campus on game days, so we had to park just a little ways up the road and walk to campus. All the way from God Quad to South Quad, we walked. (For a campus with so few students, it’s very spread out.)
When we got to South Quad, we went to the football practice field. I stood there for a moment and remembered Declan Sullivan, so I said a quick, silent prayer in memory of him. After that, we went across to Joyce since we wanted to see the parts of the Monogram Club we missed the day before. They have something from every sport up there, and it was quite the sight to see. From awards, to equipment, to photos displayed, the entire history of Notre Dame Athletics is up in that lobby.
Then we went down to get something to eat and walk around some more. Walk around was all we really did until 2 o’clock, when we went to the outside of the Gug for the players walk.
It was hellishly windy when we got outside. Clouds were starting to appear, and the temperature had definitely dropped. So we stood there in the cold, biting wind and waiting for the players to step out of their headquarters.
A few minutes later, we heard cheering. I looked up, and holy crap! There they are! I’d only ever seen them on TV (spare Bennet Jackson and Manti Te’o, now).
First the police escorts, then... *trumpet fanfare* Coach Brian Kelly, David Ruffer, Dayne Crist, Tommy Rees, Mike Floyd, The Golics, Cam McDaniel, Cierre Wood, Harry Smith...you name him, I saw him.
And then we went to the stadium. Our seats were a ways up right on the north 35 yard line. When we got in there, the kickers and punters were stretching and practicing, and the QBs were throwing. I used my telephoto lens to try to see which players were (and weren’t ) out there yet, but, while it zoomed in pretty well, my dad’s new camera was so much better. It zoomed 60x in....uh. Yeah. If you don’t know anything about cameras, here’s a look at what I mean....
This first one was taken with my dad's camera on full zoom. Diaco is standing on the sideline across the field from me.
This second one taken with my telephoto also on full zoom. Diaco is standing next to the sideline closer to me.
So....yeah. Mmm hmm. It was pretty good.
As time passed, more people filtered into the stadium. The band played, and then they had their Senior Presentations. It makes me sad to see some of those guys go. Slaughter, Floyd, Ruffer, Harrison Smith, Mike Golic, Jr., Ethan Johnson....Correction: it makes me sad to see all of those guys go. I hope they do well for themselves, but with an ND degree, chances are that they will.
(I’m writing this in the car on the way home. Just drove over the Mississippi River!)
And the game began. My first ND game in person. I’m not going to lie, when the band played the National Anthem, I started to cry.
The people sitting around us were annoying and stupid. They’re the kind of people who think they know more than the Coach and yell at EVERYTHING! I wanted to turn to all of them and yell, “Shut up and watch the damn game!”
The family in front of us were ND fans, but they were dumb. The dad tried to correct me on players’ names, but his mom sitting next to him didn’t even know Cierre Wood’s name. Cierre Wood. Wood. Not that hard. She kept saying, “Woods.” Plural? No ma’am! If you can’t say it right, don’t say it! (Pet peeve.)
The family behind us were Boston College fans. That was miserable. They also thought they knew more than the refs. The dad sounded like Norm MacDonald, but he wasn’t being sarcastic or funny. He was being an idiot. “Boston! You’re a 3-7 team! You can do better than this!” Wait. What? Do you know how DUMB that sounds? JUST STOP TALKING, YOU IMBECILE!
And everyone will always sit near a yelling asshole. “WHAT A STUPID PENALTY!” “COACH! YOU IDIOT!” Excuse me, sir, have you ever coached college football? If not, don’t call the coach stupid, Stupid! Yeah, that’s right. I just renamed you Stupid. Deal with it. And stop cussing because there’s a little kid right in front of you! Also, quick question: Was the ref stupid for calling the penalty or was the play that caused the penalty stupid? Hmmm?
I think I’m done ranting and typing here what I wanted to say in person.
Now about the game.
Yikes. I mean a win is a win, and all, but that was a bad win. One touchdown? That’s no good. Thank God for Ruffer.
Second half was more like a Punt Fest. Ben Turk must have been getting tired.
I’m finding out it’s harder to remember a game when you didn’t watch it on TV, which is why I had my Mom record it back in Wichita for me to watch when I get home. Hoorah!
OH! When Boston College was huddled up and a player dropped and was “hurt” just to give more time for a play call....Oh. My. God. That was just low and stinking and dirty. Asshole.
Halftime was great. Chicago played “25 or 6 to 4” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” And then Jon Bon Jovi showed up! Whoa-oh! We’re halfway there! WHOA-OH! Livin’ on a prayer! Take my hand, and we’ll make it, I swear! Whoa-oh! Livin’ on a prayer!
And every game has to end. Fortunately this one ended with Notre Dame up on BC 16-14. I’m done talking about the game though, because it was less than perfect.
It’s Stanford Week now. Beat the Cardinal!
After the game, we had to head to Tinley Park, IL immediately, so that was the end of my time at the University of Notre Dame du Lac....for now.
I will be back.