Friday, October 19, 2007

Home Game

Tomorrow launches a five-game homestand for Notre Dame, and the only thing worse than seeing your team lose in the bitter cold is seeing it happen five times in a row.

Yea, verily, there is nothing like a home game and I miss them like my college-era ladder abs. But oy, those long stretches, especially near the end of the season, were like a Marathon O' Fun that ended about eight miles back, and somebody in an orange vest is still long over the horizon, waving bottled water. You work at those home games; Notre Dame students are up with the marching band, whether they want to be or not, as it tubas its way around the quad. We Belles always had to allow walking time, because if you attempted the shuttle on a home game day, you were asking for a transportation nightmare of Titanic proportions. You try cramming eighty thousand people, their beer, and an NBC satellite truck in your front lawn someday. See how that goes, and get back to me on your attendant stress level.

And then, you walk. My friends and I walked from the Glee Club concert near the stadium to the Dome for band stepoff and then back to the stadium and I do not care what you've seen in Rudy--you don't stand in front of the Dome and develop a wondering expression as the stadium materializes before you. That sucker is quads away.

Then we'd stand for four quarters. There was no sitting. Sitting was for the weak and Michiganed.

In later years, I'd usually to serve at Basilica Mass directly after game's end, which was... all the way back near the Dome. Notre Dame is the only place on Earth with a Mass schedule dependent upon the NBC timeout grid, which I strongly suggest the admissions office feature on a recruiting brochure.

And the dance schedule, that Everclear artery of campus social life, is severely crippled during long home stands; when I was a student and fretted over such things as pricing four hundred Styrofoam cups as a club officer, we'd always pull out the football schedule before daring to find a time and a place for our annual '80's dance party (you KNOW would come to an annual '80's dance party. You would roll up your jeans and find some plastic earrings and scream at the DJ to play "Come On Eileen," or you are no longer my friend.) No club, dorm, or class was ever imbecilic enough to schedule a dance on a football weekend-- it was just event death. The target audience was either hung over or trapped in the parking lot between the Class of '57 and the American Association of Catholic Mustard Sellers.

When the band stirs tomorrow morning, that Victory March will usher in over a month of this, the Natty Lite treadmill, weekend after weekend after weekend. It will be wonderful and bonding and exhausting, and it is no coincidence that none of the colleges where I've taught have a football team. I've been ruined for anything else.

My knees especially.

we meet at the cooler at dawn at:


Anonymous said...

Spoken like a true Belle! I remember those days (well, what I can remember) fondly. I haven't had Natty Light since (thankfully), but I'll never forget the 80s SYR at Haggar Parlor, and of course COME ON EILEEN! Notre Dame must have some sort of patent on that song!

Cara SMC 2000

Cbell said...

I so hope that ND pulls out a victory today. I'm a Kentucky fan and we are fairly beside ourselves after last weekend... and the fact that ESPN's College Game Day is on our campus. Who'da thunk it? It certainly may be a sign of the apocalypse

mike, yeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahohyeahohyeahWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO said...

Erm . . . the five-game homestand started last Saturday against BC.

Anonymous said...

You know all that walking didn't faze me a bit when we were at school. Now, I vie for the closest handicapped spot and prefer to use the wheelchair cause walking has become so diffucult. I miss being able to walk almost as much as I miss the games. I am so glad that we didn't have a 5 in a row stint with a season like this though.

I wonder, if I were to go back for a game, would I just rise and walk. That could be the healing power of ND football.

HunterHouseMom said...

Sorry for another loss today MB. Our Florida Gator friends here are rejoicing (sorry cbell for your loss today). I won't say you should have stayed in Florida but...they do have good football here.

college gal said...

Football does have that healing power, CK21!

You guys are all so lucky to be rooting for a team that has a tradition of excellence...My school only just recently made it on to the national stage last year. And let me tell you, the game this past Thursday night? My school went crazy!!

Tradition is great most of the time, but I suppose most people like to forget those Natty Lite days :-)

recentlymarried said...


your story about the walking and the random pre-game traditions made me laugh out loud...I read almost the whole entry to my husband, laughing along the way with our own comments about how we do things "around here." We love football more than almost any other fall thing (we scheduled our wedding on a Friday so that we could watch our team the next day). A year after our vows, I am reassured in our decision to get married that Friday and enjoy watching our team together the next day. There is magic in football (even if it's not at ND). We're not having such a great season either, but there's a dedication...there's just good feelings and fantastic memories. Thanks for adding another smile to my day.

Life's a Laugh said...

Sorry to hear about your loss. While I hate USC, and I do not use the word HATE lightly, as I am a native Michigander, I am thus sworn to hate all things ND. And that score, please. Sorry, but you have to wonder about the feasibility of keeping Charlie Weiss as head coach. Even Ty Willingham had more success and ND was more than willing to boot him out to the west coast.

MissDirected said...

Ah, the pre-game rituals! Nothing says football to me like memories of kegs and eggs, the never ending walk from Le Mans to the parking lot by Dillion for tailgating, and the never ending walk to the stadium. And you just can't beat stories that start out with, "One game, just after I got hit in the head with a sticky marshmallow..."

Anonymous said...

Try being a Minnesota Gopher fan this year. We will probably end up 1 & 10 which will be our worst record ever. Thank you, Glen Mason for not recruiting when you had the chance. You can't help but feel sorry for Tim Brewster.
By the way, congrats to Notre Dame for recruiting one of our top high schoolers! Very jeaolus!

Sara N

Anonymous said...

Girl, you are so righ and so funny.

Sam - SMC 1997

Patchfire said...

Oh, the sweet whiff of nostalgia...

My specific Saturday ND memories include first of all (once I was 21, of course) coming home from the 'Backer at 3:30 am--because we couldn't leave there until the "Samaoen" AKA bouncer kicked us out--and then getting up at 7 am to "Baton Rouge" being played at maximum volume by whatever motley assortment had slept on the floor at ND apartments. Proceed directly to the right field foul pole to tailgate beginning with a breakfast drink--Boone's Strawberry Hill. Perhaps I should have spent more time watching the team leave the Bascillica.
I'm the ball and chain of your former ND Inq. pal, by the by... :)

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