People often talk about situations that brought them into the Notre Dame fold—the power of a game, not just any game, a Notre Dame game. Gold helmets shimmering out of the tunnel, a beautiful campus, and a storied past littered with college football greats. Only one game or one play is all it takes. I was lured in by the loss to Boston College years back. That’s right, despite our poor performance I was hooked. The intense inward-feelings that happen on game-day were passed onto me. Thanks! I now am completely consumed with the Notre Dame passion that I’ve often heard about, but really never believed its effect on people, now I know. So what brought all of us here? Why do we actively participate here at Domer Domain? What’s our story, and why did we choose to be a part of this Irish wave? Here are some short stories outlining the reasons for our golden affiliation. I’ve asked our MODS some questions to gain further perspective on why they root for the blue and gold.
SpeedsterX – “What experience got you hooked?”
You would think it would be a father’s right to introduce his son to the greatest sport of all sports, college football. My father loved hunting and nothing trumped that for him. It was a small, loud, hardheaded Spanish woman that would introduce me as a rambunctious, 12-year-old boy to Notre Dame football. My mother loved Notre Dame football. I knew it but did not “get” it. Then in 1977, she grabbed my hand and said we are going to Purdue. I had no clue what she was talking about. My first football game ever. In West Lafayette I experienced a great atmosphere of tailgating, thousands of people having a great time.
I remember the Big Drum and wondered what the big deal was. As the game started and went on, I was more into what was going on behind the bleachers than on the field. Suddenly, electricity flowed through the crowd. We were down 10 points and weren’t looking promising (as my mother explained as I really didn’t care). But now, they put this other quarterback in that everyone was excited about, even enough for a young boy who wasn’t paying attention to notice. It was Joe Montana. As I started to watch the game and pay closer attention to the quarterback, this Joe Montana guy made throw after throw and Notre Dame football was exposing itself to me. It was rooting itself in my heart as something to embrace and love.
I will never forget that afternoon and game. After coming back home to South Bend, I finally understood what the big deal was about that college we had just around the corner from where I lived. Since then, my mother has taken me to the campus for other reasons. To pray at the Grotto, to the Basilica for Easter and Christmas masses, etc. I was fortunate enough to have a student mentor and eventually attend Holy Cross Jr. College.
I suffered through the Faust years, then celebrated through the Holtz years and had my love for the team and fandom tested to its limits through the Davieham/O’Leary fiascos. Even through 3-9 and losing to Navy for the first time in my lifetime, I am and always will be a fan of Notre Dame football and all that the University stands for. And to think, if I would have listened to my father instead of my mother, I would be spending Saturdays in October, cold and wet, huddled under a blanket of camouflage waiting to shoot something. Thanks Mom!
Sir John – “Who’s your favorite player and why”
For me, coming from Akron, Ohio and then moving to Louisville, and then living in the poor blue-collar west end, it was Paul Hornung–who attended my old high school, Flaget.
He was the town hero, and everybody talked about him. When he went to Notre Dame, I followed his progress and became fascinated. I watched him on an old TV that had the patented bunny-ears. There weren’t many articles being written about Notre Dame in my area, and Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet yet, but I still managed to follow the Irish. I also got my Dad on board and we would pour over the news together and look for any new developments.
Tdnd81 – “Tell us about a memorable Notre Dame experience you’ve had”
My godfather who was a priest went to Notre Dame, and he became very close to my father and got him to cheer for the Irish in the mid sixty’s. It wasn’t too hard since we were Irish Catholic.
I was born ten years later just in time to see my soon-to-be idle, Tim Brown, step onto campus. Seeing he and Rice run around the field was awesome. Every Saturday in the fall, my dad and my 4 brothers, would gather around the TV to watch the Irish. We would rent a van or small RV every couple years and take road trips to see ND vs. Stanford.
One year when I was about twelve or so, after we just lost to Stanford, my friends and I were playing football on an open field by the stadium, when a group of five Stanford frat boys came up to us for a pickup game. I wouldn’t tell this story if we lost–but the five of us (two of us under fourteen) ended up beating the older guys as I remember seeing their bewildered faces wondering, if that had just happened. It really made the 18-hour drive home a little better.My kids will have no choice!
McDougal93- “How did you become a fan”
I became a Notre Dame fan on my own. My family has no ties to the university and in fact, I didn’t know much about the game of football until I was ten. Having been born in Central America, football to us was soccer until we came to America on August 22, 1981. .
I clearly remember the Faust years and my first memory of Notre Dame football came after they lost that game to Miami. I remember Allen Pinkett and how upset he was. This is how this rivalry started..
My favorite memories: 1988 vs. Miami, 1989 Orange Bowl, The Rocket, Tony Rice, Chris Zorich. The three amigos-Pritchett, Alm, Stonebreaker. .
-While stationed at Ft. Carson Colorado, seeing ND play AirForce in 1992 with the stellar backfield of Mirer, Bettis and Brooks. .
-2002 my last game ever at the LA Coliseum when Matt Lovechio and Dan O’Leary, led the Irish to a win against USC. (I made a vow to never see a game at the Coliseum again). .
Biggest disappointments:1993 loss to BC. We were the national champs that year. 2005 loss to SC, and the 2002 loss to Oregon State in the Fiesta Bowl