In reply to: The broken link: What has ND's football tradition meant to you? posted by Board Ops
My first trip to Notre Dame. I was 16 years old. My father, ’58, and I took the admissions tour, even though I was not yet close to applying.
Afterward we took the father’s tour, where he showed me his window in Farley Hall, where on football Saturdays he and his roommates would lower a basket on a rope with a sign: “Starving students, please help.” The rewards: apples, sandwiches, cash and coin, the odd bottle of whiskey.
We found his name on the list of donors in the atrium of the Hesburgh Library.
The Badin Bog, later the birthplace of Bookstore Basketball.
Of course the bookstore, crowded to the rafters even on a Friday afternoon.
The Fieldhouse was still standing then, but just barely. When my father died in 1995, I got the bricks he stole that day. Still have them.
The pep rally in Stepan Center. I’d never felt such thunder when the band marched in. My dad kept goading me to lift some girl, any girl, up on my shoulders. I was too shy and overwhelmed to do it. One of life’s regrets.
Later that night, we watched ND lose to Ohio State in soccer on rainy Cartier Field. I played the game then, so it was great to watch people who knew how. You haven’t seen road rash until you’ve seen a midfielder slide 10 yards on wet Astroturf wearing shorts.
The next day, after breakfast in the Oak Room, we watched a charity basketball game. Alumni from 5+ years ago, versus alumni from –5 years ago. Shumate, Carr, Dantley, Hanzlik, Tripucka, Jackson, Laimbeer, Paxson. Final score was about 365-344. Defense? What’s that?
Afterward, they auctioned the jerseys… Carr’s was first and sold for maybe $85. Tripucka was next and went for 10 times that. Shocked and amazed.
That night was the first night game at Notre Dame Stadium. Of course, it couldn’t be anybody but Michigan and Bo Schembechler.
I remember students marching around the field carrying bedsheet banners. I thought it was amazing. Never have seen that since.
“ANTHONEEEEEEEEE! COME OUT AND PLAY-AAAAY!!”
He came out all right. Took a punt 75 yards for a TD early in the third quarter. And wasn’t heard from again that night. It wasn't enough. Final Score – 23-17, Irish win.
My decision was made. I knew my family’s situation… my father had just been laid off. Notre Dame would be the only out of state school I would attend. I applied there early, and at 5 schools in Illinois. In November 1983 I got a fat letter from South Bend. Aside from the acceptance, the most important part was the financial aid applications.
In March 1984, my father had his first two of three heart attacks, followed by triple-bypass surgery. When my financial aid package arrived - a 90% ride for freshman year with loans, grants and work study - I wanted to call him in the hospital, but my sister said no. The surprise was, he came home the same day. He read that letter, sat down at the kitchen table and cried.
Sealed the deal.
All from one historical football weekend.