In reply to: The broken link: What has ND's football tradition meant to you? posted by Board Ops
However, I can tell you honestly that the football program -- and more specifically, the game weekends and attendant events surrounding them -- have become more important over the post-grad years than I would have ever believed possible. As unofficial class "reunions", football weekends have allowed me to build upon a vast network of classmates and helps me keep in touch with friends who I otherwise would probably never see as often. I can't overstate how important these social experiences have become -- and not just in terms of catching up with old chums. I've been able to meet and visit with all manner of alums (and their friends) from a wide range of class years, and even met my soon-to-be wife as a result of newfound alumni relationships.
While a student, I went to the games, roadtripped, went to the Bowls, and had a blast. But as an alum, I see the games as something distinctly different: a homecoming in some sense, but also a chance to meet some new faces and build new relationships, all without having to wait for the 5- and 10- year reunions.
And so, for me, anyway, I see football as intrinsically valuable...perhaps even a "pillar". I don't know if you can get that kind of perspective while still in school. I know I didn't.