The Total ND Irish Football Experience, Drunken Leprechaun Pirate and all!

The leprechaun pirate with the ND eye patch and scraggly goatee woke up from his drunken stupor just after the first quarter at the Irish vs. USC game.  You got to give it to the grungy dude-can’t be easy being passed out and staying upright on a bleacher seat but somehow he made it happen.  At first concerned for his wellbeing, I quickly flipped into ninja defensive mode to protect myself after he started dancing and flinging his arms with great abandon and hit me in the face as he yelled and loudly coached the players from our end zone seats.  “Bring your father?” the smart ass but very nice guy next to us asked.  HELL NO!  Thus began the total ND Irish Football Experience thanks to my great sis, Beck, who scored us tickets to the Game of the Century.

Irish Smart Car
Irish Smart Car

I got the dread pirate Looney Tunes as my seat neighbor but Beck got the adorably nice guys sitting next to her–on a trip to all the NFL stadiums with their fathers.  They had decided to also take In a college game on their male-bonding trip before going to the Colts/Pats game tomorrow in Indy.  After Beck explained why bodies were being lifted all over the stadium when ND scored–prone body push ups, one for each point on the scoreboard–the traveling sons decided Beck looked tiny enough to lift so they could enjoy a true college football moment.  NO THANK YOU KIND SIRS!  We directed them to a small child they could pump over their heads and off we ran to get a hot chocolate to drink and warm up in the bathroom that had the heaters going at full blast.  At 30 degrees on the field, no amount of layering, Spanx under the jeans, puffy coat and earmuffs could keep us warm, though our ugly Uggs kept our tootsies quite toasty.  Mock the Uggs but they get the job done.

Blue skies and cold temps!
Blue skies and cold temps!

I did learn more about football from the fans surrounding us.  After ND called for a timeout when USC was getting ready to kick a field goal, then immediately called another one and then ANOTHER ONE, I was coached that ND was “icing” the kicker and trying to psych him out.  After the third timeout, the poor USC player finally got to kick his field goal and, sure enough, he was flustered and missed!  The icing worked-who knew about such football psychology???  Brains over brawn to win-I like it.

Making the ultimate sacrifice so that ND could win the “game of the century” as it was being called, we left the game before the fourth quarter started with ND behind by 7 points.  WHAT??? Yep, Becky was cold and said that last time she left a game early, ND came roaring back to win.  And they did just that tonight!  In the 15 minutes after we left, ND scored 17 points and won 41-31.  Thank the Lord we left because I’m sure the drunken pirate would have been overcome with joy and jumped into my arms to lay a big cold wet one on me to celebrate and I was having none of that action thank you very much.  The Irish can thank us with season tickets or extra blessings-either work for me.

Dressed for the cold weather and ready for spring already
Dressed for the cold weather and ready for spring already

Prior to the exciting game, we had to have the whole Irish experience so we walked the campus, enjoyed the ND marching Irish playing tunes on the steps of a classic college building, walked the grotto, went into the rotunda to see the Horn Section play beautifully and check out the tailgating action.  Those Irish alumni really know how to party in a parking lot.  There were a surprising number of USC fans walking around so I had to interview one guy with his son who were looking to score a blanket to keep warm.  After we told them where the book store was, I asked how they were feeling about Coach Steve S. being fired.  “FANTASTIC!” the guy enthusiastically replied.  He then informed me that they were going to sue the recruiting firm that pushed through his hiring and didn’t do their due diligence to find out he had “issues”.  Oh well, don’t we all and hopefully he’ll work out his demons.  In the meantime, Go Irish!

ND Marching Band entertaining the crowd
ND Marching Band entertaining the crowd
The Irish Grotto-where everyone lights a candle to ensure an Irish victory.
The Irish Grotto-where everyone lights a candle to ensure an Irish victory.

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