In reply to: The broken link: What has ND's football tradition meant to you? posted by Board Ops
In October 1999, he took me to our first game. I had no idea what was in store. I expected a lot, but every moment of the weekend exceeded expectations. We had both been to high-profile sports events before, and really just imagined going to a home football game of our favorite team. I had even been on campus before, during the stadium renovation, and really though, besides a nice grotto and a beautiful Basilica, it was just another catholic campus.
The first time he saw the Dome, from the bus window, the trip changed for me. It was no longer going to see a football game, it was seeing my father in a completely different light. Dad is not the most expressive man, and worked long hours in a taxing family business while I was growing up. Although I had a great relationship with him, I felt I could know him better.
The process of meeting my Dad began that weekend. We bounded around campus like two 8 yr olds at Chuck E Cheese. We often came to the brink of being reduced to puddles. The entrance of the band at the pep rally. Walking past the grotto at night. Glee Club at breakfast in SDH. Pipes on the South Quad. Walking into the Stadium for the first time. Watching my Dad as he did. The anthem. The Irish coming out of the tunnel. Such a great experience.
The moment I will take with me however occured after the game. We were advised to make Mass at the Basilica after the game. We were in the northeast quadrant of the stadium, so we waited until the end of the game, and after the band played the alma mater I believe before making our way to the Basilica. As we made our way toward the library we realized we were in a foot race with the band. My Dad is not the quickest of men, nor the lightest so after an already intense weekend, I sort of decided to yield to the band. My Dad had a different idea and sprinted his 250 lb frame around the corner, in front of the Guard. I followed. We laughed the rest of the way into Mass.
I will treasure that jaunt from the stadium to the Basilica for the rest of my life. I've been to a game every year since. Last year I could not go with him, I went with a buddy. It wasn't the same. Not going to let that happen again. No one understands Notre Dame Football like I do, better than my Dad.
I'm not sure if the intent of this thread was how Notre Dame Football connected generations of alumni, but speaking as a subway alum, I know Notre Dame connected me with a guy I consider the most important subway alum.