In reply to: The broken link: What has ND's football tradition meant to you? posted by Board Ops
I began at Notre Dame in 1988, holding another honor I wish I never had--a member of the last class of undergraduates to see the football team win the national championship. Those four years were wonderful years. And they were wonderful for my family too.
Every year my uncles, usually 5 or 6 of them, as well as one or two of my male cousins, would make the trip out for a game--usually a big one. Imagine, seven full-grown men packed into a rented van for an 8-hour trip to South Bend. One time, I had the fortune of catching a ride with them, there being a game that coincided with the end of fall break. To them, I was just a tag-a-long. But to me, it was a thrill and honor to be traveling with them. Many of you may understand the delight in being brought along with older relatives, whom you learned to look up to from when you were young, once you become of age. All because of the success of the Notre Dame football team. I'll always have that memory of that trip.
One of there other trips was for the last game before fall break--Miami in 1990. Notre Dame won with a late interception deep in its territory. My cousin ran out onto the field afterward, pulled out his pocket knife, dug up a small part of the turf, and put it in a baggy. That night, we left South Bend for the Ohio Valley, and spent the night at our grandmother's cabin on a small mountainside farm. We pulled out the grass, dug a small hole in the ground, and planted it. It has now, of course, spread to the entire property. And anytime I am there to visit the family, someone is sure to blurt out, "ay watch where you're steppin'. That's Notre Dame Grass ya know."
More recently, another one of our relatives in the same clan who was the pastor of the local parish passed away quite suddenly. As the funeral procession made its way out of the parking lot, it made a slight detour to the nearby Catholic high school. There the students were, lined up along the drive, saying their good byes. And they had their band out there too, playing, sure enough, the Notre Dame Fight Song.