“The Irish never quit.” – Irish Spring deodorant soap tagline

 

As good Irish-Americans, my family refuses to quit on Notre Dame – despite a blowout loss at Michigan on October 26th.  Besides, we had a whole weekend planned for the Virginia Tech game the first weekend of November.

Uncle Chris, business professor at ND, sets us up every year.  A place to stay overnight, the best spot in the tailgate lot (he’s up before dawn to park the car) and tickets to the game.  His kids (my cousins) invite different pals from Boston every year, so all can experience a Notre Dame game at least once in their lifetime.

It was a blustery game day, with temps in the 40s.  But we dressed for the occasion.

 

Winds kept the flag flying, including this Wu Tang banner I enjoyed the sight of:

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Our large group had tickets spread throughout the historic stadium.  I took in the game from multiple vantage points.  1st quarter, sitting solo:

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Then I stopped at this Irish Grill stand for a pretty decent cheeseburger – badly needed some food in my system after several hours of mostly liquid tailgating.

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2nd quarter I moved down beneath the wind:

 

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At halftime I went down to eat a giant pretzel with cheese dipping sauce on a bench.  Then, I’ll be honest – I left the game to watch at Mulligan’s Bar & Grill.  The Irish had given up a demoralizing 97-yard fumble return TD to the Hokies right before halftime.  But that isn’t why I left.  I was cold and tired and I’ve been to college football games the last three Saturday in lousy weather conditions.  I wanted to go sit inside.  The game ended up finishing in epic fashion, with Ian Book running it in for a last minute game-winning touchdown.  Am I a bad fan for leaving?   I’m far less likely to leave a Bears, Cubs or Bulls game early if the game matters.  Those are my 3 teams.  Iowa is next, then Notre Dame probably.  If the Irish were undefeated or if this were a rivalry game or featured an upset possibility against a ranked opponent, then I’d have stayed and toughed it out.  The tailgate and the family reunion are as thrilling as the game for me, most years.  Plus, Mulligan’s is a classic South Bend dive.  I’ll be back next year.  Might even stay through the 3rd.

 

Go Irish and cheers to my Irish family!