In reply to: The broken link: What has ND's football tradition meant to you? posted by Board Ops
I'm not really sure when I began to think about Notre Dame. One of my Dad's first sales managers was an Irishman whose son attended ND (some of you may have seen the story of the ND alum who died at the Michigan game in '02 whose own son was sitting on the other side of the stadium unaware that his father had been stricken with a heart attack..it was that same son of my Dad's first sales manager).
Or it might have been through my Grandmother, a Chicago Democrat who always spoke of ND so fondly (I'm named after my Grandfather who happened to be named after a Chicago Alderman). Her first trip to ND was for my graduation and you see how proud she was. Unfortunately she died one year later. My Dad had her buried in the same outfit she wore that graduation day.
But I guess having moved around quite a bit as a kid, I looked at ND as a place where I could develop my own roots and a network of lifetime friends. I went there knowing only one other guy whom I had gone to 7th and 8th grade together. I've tried hard to stay in touch with as many as possible....but those roots is why I've never missed a reunion! Today (thirty years from my freshman year)....a few more rambling thoughts below:
- My first ND game against Northwestern...seeing the blimp hovering over campus a few days before the game...feeling an electricity I had never felt before. And then just three years ago working with a guy who played MLB for Northwestern that day and talking about how Ross Browner had broken the punter's leg.
- Meeting so many quality people day in and day out, particularly one senior who strongly suggested I give a part of me in some sort of volunteer activity. Signing up for the Neighborhood Study Help Program and meeting some incredible kids over those four years...kids I still remember today.
- Feeling the respect that my non-ND friends have for Notre Dame. It's not the football team, but the commitment to excellence we all expect that they notice...(and I'm not talking about me) but in the University -- what she represents and how things are done. And while I am concerned about the last ten years as anyone, I'm also concerned when I hear those closer to student life and the University that some of the things that made ND what is today are evolving in a way that disappoints many.
- Re-connecting with friends on game day weekends and reunions. And despite the years that have passed telling the same old stories time and time again and laughing harder than ever.
- Sharing game days with my Dad...Michigan '80 and Harry O's kick, FSU '93 and others too numerous to recount.
- Finally, bringing the entire family to our first game together this past year. Making it real for my kids who always enjoy their Dad screaming and running around the house when the Irish score....and feeling a bit sad when we lose.
Football is the pillar. It binds us together and allows greater things to be created. I've enjoyed reading the stories and have been touched. Thanks for sharing. WE ARE ND!!!