In reply to: The broken link: What has ND's football tradition meant to you? posted by Board Ops
When I was a kid, I listened to ND football games on the radio and ran out in the backyard to re-enact the plays. I stayed up late on Saturday nights (or got up early on Sunday) to watch Lindsey Nelson call the replays. I thought Ara Parseghian (and still do) was a warrior and leader on the scale of Lombardi.
[This may piss off Andy, but when I grew up, Austin Carr and John Shumate were every bit the heroes to me that Tom Clements and Eric Pennick were.]
When my turn came to decide about a college, I visited ND and watched the Irish crush Georgia Tech 69-14 with a bunch of guys who insisted that we throw back a shot every time the Irish scored. I picked a good weekend to start drinking.
There are many lesser schools I could have attended to pursue my athletic (and other) interests -- I took my visits, etc. But ND was the only school I seriously considered because I knew that I was not going to play in the NBA, the NFL or any other league.
When I finally got to ND, Joe Montana and Bruce Springsteen played campus on the same day. Montana made magical comebacks. The Moeller guys -- Bob Crable and Harry Oliver -- made Bo Schembechler miserable. Vagas up the middle. We were ranked #1.
My friends and I traveled to at least 15 road games during my four years -- MSU, Ann Arbor, Purdue, Tennessee, Alabama, New Jersey, New Orleans. MSU was the first one. A car load of 6 or 7 guys hit the highway on Friday afternoon. After those first couple cases were gone, all of us were lined up and peeing in a ditch on the side of the highway. Law enforcement was nowhere in sight. The Reagan mores hadn't reached town. Chicks rarely dug us, but we had no intention of spending an unnecessary weekend in So. Bend.
My class never experienced a NC. Frank F-ing Jordan, Paul MacDonald, and a bought-and-paid for referee made us sick. The fish and bottle-throwing rednecks in Atlanta enjoyed a tie that ruined a perfect season. Faust dragged us down (temporarily).
But ND football is what we did in the fall. And we expected the legacy that had been handed to Ara by Leahy and Rockne would continue with Devine and his successors. Every single year, we expected to compete for the NC. And our pathetic social lives revolved around each and every game and season.
I even lived with Chuck84 for a semester -- and words cannot do justice to that experience.
Oh yeah, I took my dad to his first game in ND Stadium. That was nice. My kids are next.