We had a long trip, but it was worth it
Wed, 11/29/2017 - 10:41am admin
CRESCO - Before going deep into the winter sports seasons, I’d like to tell you about a long, but fun, trip my wife, Sara, and I recently took to a place that is near and dear to my heart - the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana.
While I understand that Notre Dame is a school some people love and other people love to hate for a variety of reasons, please hear me out, all right? After that, you can ignore me all you want.
To give you some Troy family background, I am 50 percent Irish, 50 percent German and 100 percent Catholic. My dad graduated from Notre Dame in 1960. I graduated from a Catholic high school (Dubuque Wahlert in 1990) and college (Loras in 1994).
While I don’t recall being bombarded with Notre Dame football trivia or being forced to watch games on TV as a kid, I think my interest in the football team grew gradually over the years.
As I learned more about the university and the history of the football program, I became more of a fan. By the time I started high school in the fall of 1986, I was all in with my fandom. Because I’ve loved playing and watching sports from the time I could walk, it was almost inevitable that I would be drawn to Notre Dame football.
Getting back to my trip with Sara a few weeks ago, on Nov. 4, Sara and I attended the football game between the Fighting Irish and Wake Forest at Notre Dame. This marked Sara’s fourth trip to the campus, and it was my 19th time. I want to thank my parents for taking me to Notre Dame 15 of the 19 times.
The night before, Nov. 3, we drove to my parents’ house in Kieler, Wis., and stayed overnight. At 3 a.m. the next day, Sara and I drove the remaining 275 miles to Notre Dame, where we arrived on campus at 9:30 a.m. The campus is in the Eastern Time Zone.
The temperature was around 40 degrees, and it was cold and damp at Notre Dame, but we still had a good time walking around the campus. While Sara has told me and others she was really cold that day, I’ve been to other sporting events, such as track meets, where the weather has been colder and windier.
One thing we can agree on is how beautiful the campus is. Both Sara and I enjoy taking photos, and between the two of us, we probably took over 300 photos around campus that day.
We each took photos of each other in front of the Hesburgh Library (known as Touchdown Jesus). Sara got a shot of me standing in front of ‘We’re Number One’ Moses. We both took photos of each other next to the bust of Knute Rockne at the Rockne Memorial. Sara likes the fact that both she and Knute are Norwegians.
We enjoyed our walk around the campus until about 1:30 p.m. when it started to rain. It wasn’t a hard, driving rain, but it was enough to get us both soaked. After walking around the stadium, we found a tent that sold rain ponchos so we each got one.
Around 2:15, we went into the stadium, but we were told we couldn’t take our seats yet because there was lightning in the area. Luckily, about 20 minutes later, we were allowed to take our seats.
Despite the bad weather, it was still awesome to see the inside of the stadium, which now includes a gigantic videoboard behind the south end zone. The pre-game activities included the band playing and the presentation of the flag.
Soon afterwards, the players ran through the tunnel onto the field, which was also sweet. While I’ve seen the stadium on TV many times, being there in person for a game is much more exciting, regardless of the weather.
As for the game itself, it was exciting. The Irish took a 21-point lead at halftime and then held off a late second half rally to beat Wake Forest, 48-37. Notre Dame had a great day on offense (710 total yards), but the Irish defense gave up 587 yards. At least Notre Dame won the game, which put their record at 12-7 in games I’ve attended.
One of the most interesting parts for me happened in the first half. Apparently, the ND band was playing too loud when Wake Forest had the ball, so the Deamon Deacon players complained to the officials.
Soon after that, one of the officials made this announcement, “The band needs to stop playing when Wake Forest comes to the line of scrimmage or else Notre Dame will be assessed a penalty.” Well, you can guess how the pro-ND crowd reacted. The band stopped playing, but now the crowd cheered even louder! The fans made their point.
Another highlight for me was watching the students and players sing the Alma Mater after the game. Watching this on TV is cool, but being there in person to see it is simply awesome.
Although the drive to Notre Dame and back home was a long one (almost 800 miles), Sara and I were glad we went. It was definitely worth it!