My husband and in-laws are really into sports. Like, really. A few years back, I decided to have opinions about sports teams and pretty much randomly began loving and/or hating teams based on things I completely made up, on the spot. Using bits of sports knowledge picked up like second-hand smoke, I pieced together a web of love and hate based on the coolness of mascots, the ridiculousness of my reasoning (the more random and unexplainable the better), which team ruined my March Madness bracket the previous year, which colors were cuter with my favorite boots, and so on. I’m sure you’re getting the picture. This weird allegiance to random teams and unwavering hatred for others keeps me entertained during football Saturdays, football Sundays, basketball every-single-days, and baseball holy-cow-baseball-never-ends. I’ve even started loving the sports talk, although if we’ve been watching sports for more than an hour or two, chances are I’m actually taking a nap.
My love for Notre Dame began this way. I’d always favored President Bartlet‘s alma mater when picking winners and losers, but really committed to this at the beginning of the 2012 football season. We were picking the Notre Dame-Navy game, and I was incredibly confident for the following incredibly convincing reasons:
- President Bartlet loves the Irish,
- The game was being played IN IRELAND,
- The Pope is Catholic so clearly God loves Notre Dame football.
I know what you’re thinking: how could anyone not be a believer after reading all three of those reasons. And then Notre Dame won that game, and every game for the entire year, losing only to Alabama in the National Championship Game (and who can really hold that against them). And while no one believed me for the first few games, after a while the entire family started [secretly hating?] picking ND with me.
Last weekend, H and I road-tripped to South Bend, Indiana to see my boys in action. And we saw them fail. Hard. It was horrible. But let’s just set that aside, because even though Oklahoma kicked our football-loving hearts into the dust, the campus and the community at Notre Dame were incredibly welcoming, the weather was perfect for tailgating, and we had a fantastic time.
Our view of the game — with Touchdown Jesus in the opposite end zone:
The Golden Domed Building that is super cute but I have no idea what it is:
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart — we went inside and it was even more beautiful inside than outside:
After the game, we checked out the Grotto, a.k.a. The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, which was beautiful and peaceful and a perfect end to a very long day:
(Unfortunately we still had a two-hour drive, so we technically ended our day eating Chicken and Dumplings in tired silence at the Cracker Barrel half-way home.)
It will probably be next year before we go again, but I can’t wait to return to South Bend. Unlike my first UT game where I was nearly pushed down the bleachers by a drunky, Notre Dame has successfully maintained its place in my tiny football heart.