There were always three teams in my house. The Raiders, Yankees and Notre Dame. Being from the northeast made the Yankees a natural and the thing that I really remember about the fondness for the Raiders was my father talking about the Raiders-Chiefs late 60's rivalry. The wars they had were apparently epic. I was born in 1970 so I really only have the words of him and others.
Notre Dame though stood out even among those others.
My father used to tell me how he used to listen to the games on the radio with his father. The Army games from the Polo Grounds, the SC rivalry and every great game from his childhood. He had never seen a game in person so it burned(jokingly) him even more that I was on campus before him.
I travelled from NY to Wisconsin with my grandmother and her sister and husband to visit relatives in July, 1978. We stopped in South Bend the 2nd morning and of course there was the Dome. Shinning and glistening to greet us. It was of course just like you saw on TV only more impressive. We drove around the empty campus and even at 8 years old my jaw just dropped at all the sights.
We parked right next to the stadium and started to walk around when we noticed a gate to the stadium open, somewhere around Section 5 or 6. We went in and I went down and had my picture taken on the field. I was quickly whisked off the field by the yelling of maintenance type workers ala Rudy.
Calling my father that night to tell him where I had been that day was better than any chritmas present you could put under the tree. He was jealous but excited for me just the same.
Time went by and we eventually made the same trip as a family.
This time however, the gate was locked and I will always have the image in my head of my father laying on the ground taking pictures of the field at the top of the tunnel thru the fence. Take about what Notre Dame means to subway alums. Here's a 40 year old guy taking pictures of football field thru a gate. You would have thought he was at the SuperBowl.
Anyway there are of course other great memories.
The 79 Cotton Bowl. My parents went to church while I sat on the couch sick eating tomato soup as Joe led us back. I'm yelling and screaming as they are about yo go for two and in walk my parents thinking I am insane only to see that the Irish are about to complete the comeback.
His first time in 1985 for the SC game.
Our first game as a family the following year for Air Force. We even got the styrafoam wishbone from the pep rally. We had our picture taken with the cheerleaders the next day in the stadium after the game.
The 88 Miami game of course. We celebrated in the living room together like it was us that just batted down the 2 pt conversion.
The 90 Miami game. We saw first hand what the rocket could do.
The Pittsburgh game where Rocket took it to the house and then the guy was barricaded in the stadium bathroom with a gun after the game. At least that's what we were told.
As I have written in my "Poster description", my father passed away en route to NY after the Indiana game in 1991(The Irv Smith catch and run game). He had a stroke and fell on to the driver of the van and there was a car accident. He probably would have survived the stroke but the doctors said the head trauma was too much. He passed away on October 18, 1991, spending 41 days in a coma. He's with me everyday still and has the first choice of seats on the couch on Saturdays in the fall.
There is more I could say but I think this sums it up.