In reply to: The broken link: What has ND's football tradition meant to you? posted by Board Ops
It’s always been…Notre Dame
Growing up in St. Louis, I attended a small Catholic school in the northwest suburbs. I remember then, the kids had sweatshirts that said “Notre Dame”…the “Victory March” was played at school functions. On Saturday afternoons, if the Irish weren’t on TV, which wasn’t too often, we’d try to find a broadcast on the radio. If there wasn’t a game on either TV or radio, nothing and no one else was worth watching or listening to so we’d find something else to do. On Sunday mornings, a show came on about ten o’clock that I wouldn’t miss and that was Notre Dame Football with Lindsey Nelson.
Through high school, through college, and through my military years…it’s always been Notre Dame...you could see a total stranger anywhere in town or in a foreign country with a ND shirt on and you’d could always strike up a conversation by saying, “how ‘bout those Irish”. The conversation never centered on academics, facilities, or other sports…not that they aren’t important…but it was always football. The conversation was always about Notre Dame football.
My wife was fortunate enough to attend Holy Cross College in New Orleans and the President of the school until last year was Father Tom Chambers. A remarkable human being who was and still is fanatical fan of Notre Dame football. On the days I had to pick my wife up from class, I’d go by his office and if he wasn’t busy, he’d invite me in for a bit and we’d talk Irish football.
At commencement exercises, Father Tom invited Rudy to give the commencement address at the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. More to my wife’s stellar academic achievement in her nursing classes than my relationship with Father Tom, we were invited to an after graduation get together at Brennan’s in the French Quarter. I introduced myself to Rudy at the reception and listened to him talk about the spirit of Notre Dame football, Ara, and Coach Devine.
We were in there in New Orleans when Jerome Bettis destroyed Florida in the second half of the “Cheerios” Bowl.
The youngest of my three children wrote Lou Holtz one year in the middle of football season telling him that one day he was going to be the Irish quarterback and asked for advice on how to get the job done. Much to his surprise, and mine, a letter arrived in the mail from the University of Notre Dame Football Office. I don’t know whether it was a form letter or real, it didn’t matter. Here was a letter addressed to my kid from and signed by Coach Holtz, telling him study hard, listen to his mom and dad (imagine that), keep practicing, and one day he’d see him on campus at South Bend.
My very young kids remember being woke up by screaming parents late one night over the sight of the Rocket running back a punt against Colorado in the final seconds of game only to have the touchdown and the win called back for a penalty.
It’s always been…Notre Dame. The only games we ever tape are Notre Dame. The only games we have parties for are Notre Dame…
Two years ago, I was able to get to tickets for Notre Dame vs. Navy game in Baltimore. We left in plenty of time to get to the game, or so we thought…and as we traveled up I-95…traffic came to a halt about 3 miles away from the stadium. It was mayhem on the freeway. Irish banners dangling everywhere, chalk paint on windows, the Victory March and other Irish tunes were blaring, and of course there was the “polite” bad mouthing those fans swearing their allegiance to the Academy. My teenagers were in awe. They’d been to big-time concerts before, but never had they seen or felt the electricity of being at an Irish game.
It’s always been…Notre Dame. It’s always been…Notre Dame Football.