While browsing you tube for Flyers and Penguins clips over the years I came across an instructional video for Eagle fans. Any person who has experienced the nightmare of a Philly fan probably had a better chance guessing these guidelines then winning the lottery.
Let me guess…
Drunkenness? Check. Booing? Check. Fighting someone? Check. Yet, it was a certain saying in the video that left a distinct impression.
“Being an Eagle Fan is a 24/7 job and it’s a lifestyle.” “As a Philadelphia Eagle fan you are in that huddle with the team.” “When they celebrate that’s you in there.”
672 miles away Notre Dame’s student section is living proof. These future leaders of America come to the game jacked since 6 am the previous Sunday. The passion is there from every snap, on every touchdown, and at the conclusion of every game. They do not need to soil your garments in alcohol or spot you a pair of boxing mitts to prove it.
The student section conducts their own personal party during the game. They are the heart and foundation of Notre Dame stadium. Their vocal chords swell faster during a game then Ashlee Simpson after three songs. They boogie to Rakes of mallow and swirl their index fingers during each and every kickoff.
Whether it is knocking around beach balls, throwing fellow domers up for pushups, or chanting their displeasure for Pete Carroll running up the score, the emotion is unparallel.
If a holiday could exemplify their section it might one celebrated every May on the Bayou.
Now, most student sections would provide quicker rebuttals for these statements than a seasoned salesman. Hold the phone everyone.
I have seen numerous student sections on TV in my 23 years as a college football fan. From Happy Valley to Ann Arbor to the SEC the volume and passion are without a doubt present. However, during the down time they are just average hardcore fans taking a necessary breather.
At Notre Dame students like the rest of the country hate TV timeouts but find entertaining ways to pass the time.
This week I had the pleasure of seeing my sister in the house that Rockne built for the last time. She snuck me in the student section and immediately I felt at home.
While I always wanted to be a Notre Dame student and I will forever bleed Fordham colors. My sister fulfilled a childhood dream for me in 30 minutes.
On a heavily congested and decrepit wooden bench, filled with Notre Dame seniors, they made room for me. They introduced themselves without batting an eyelash.
Of course it was the day of all days to live out a childhood dream. The Irish football team might have stuffed memos in each student’s mailbox saying their minds were already in Pittsburgh and today was a horrible out of body experience. They probably were better suited stuffing envelopes than Navy’s fullback.
During an unheard of 23-21 loss there was anger and sadness amongst the students that followed. No matter how many chances the Irish offense squandered in the second half, the faith in a potential win stuck like glue. However, this time they selected a horrible time to come up short.
The clock struck zero and the Midshipmen alma mater could be heard amongst a silent 80,000. After fans filed out of the stadium quicker than grade school kids out of a classroom, there was the packed section of Irish students enraged, shocked, and devastated remaining in their seats.
No matter how much they wanted Charlie Weis to asphyxiate on a donut or Jack Swarbruck to get Urban Meyer on speed dial, they came together with the Irish players and swayed to the alma mater.
This game obviously does not mark the last time I will attend an Irish game with my sister. It was however the last one I could share with her as an ND student.
In an explainable loss I was honored to join shoulders of the best student fans in the country and sing the alma mater. Also, join them in cussing out fellow students that repeatedly chanted “Fire Charlie Weis!” Now, not to sound like Meryl Streep but I nearly cried.
Not for a 23-21 loss that hadn’t been witnessed since my parents were in grade school. But, that for once in my life I was living a boyhood dream as a Notre Dame student. While it was only for a second half football ill remember it forever.
And if that is my last game every in South Bend I couldn’t think of a better way to remember it.