Monday, December 24, 2012

How Members Became Notre Dame Fans

Recently, I asked members of Domer Sports Report's facebook group to write a paragraph on how they became Notre Dame fans.  Below, is a sample of  some of their stories.  Notre Dame is a National University and Domer Sports Report members are made up of fans from all over.

Brandon Nedoma, Minneapolis, MN, originally from Milwaukee, WI - I became a Notre Dame fan around 2008.  Nobody in my family likes Notre Dame at all, but one of my best buddy’s dad is an alumnus.  I would always go to his house and watch games, but I was a bigger Wisconsin fan.  This year, I began my Freshman year at University of Minnesota, and it is no longer okay to like Madison, so I pledge my allegiance to the Irish as my number one team.  In my life I have only seen 2 games (2010 against Stanford and 2011 against Air Force) and plan on going to more. My friend’s dad may be hooking me up with face value ticket to the NC, and that would be a dream come true.  GO IRISH!  We are one big family.

Bobby Crawford, Kingsport, TN - When I was 6 years old, before I really knew what football was, let alone tradition, my cousin, who was 12 at the time, gave me a Notre Dame hat.  I wore that hat forever.  As I grew older and started paying more attention to college football, I started to research ND football and needless to say was blown away!  I am now 27 and LOVE The FIGHTING IRISH!  Growing up in Tennessee you can imagine the hassling I got!  But through all the ups and downs, through the coaches and the so called "irrelevance", I have stood firm!  So, for me, my passion and becoming a fan of ND started with a hand me down hat.

Rick Madlem, Grand Rapids, MI, originally from South Bend, IN - Born and raised in South Bend, I lived 4 miles south of campus.  My dad was a huge Irish fan and ran a concession stand at the stadium for home football games.  At 5 years of age I started going out to help him, and eventually ran my own stand for over 20 years.  So, I was at every home game.  My family actually managed about 10 of the stands.  During high school I worked at the ACC for foodservice and met the likes of Moose Krause, Adrian Dantley, Austin Carr, and many others.  My Dad also worked for the Notre Dame post office delivering mail across campus and used to have nice chats with Tony Rice.  Notre Dame is very special to me and is in my blood.  I lost my Dad in '03 and every year since I've told him maybe this year........and this year I may just be right!!   I currently live in Grand Rapids, MI.

Sandra Grant, Atkinson, NH - Growing up with 4 brothers I always loved the game of football, but it wasn't until I met my ex-husband in 1985 that I became a Notre Dame football fan.  He had gone to South Bend every year during the football season to see a football game since he was 18 years old.  My first game seeing the Irish was in 1990 at the Giants Stadium against Navy.  My first game in South Bend was in 1993 for the Pittsburgh game and that is when you understand all the tradition, feel the history and meet all the other ND fans who love Notre Dame they way you do.  I saw other games in South Bend and up here at Boston College but it was that first time going to the Grotto, going to the house that Rockne built, going to the pep rally and staying at the Morris Inn that I will always treasure.  Notre Dame represents tradition and delivers academics first and foremost as any university should, which is what kept me loyal during all those times that Notre Dame was far from number 1.  My 4 children are all Notre Dame fans and have been to games in South Bend as well...tradition! Go Irish!

Craig Robinson, Temecula, CA - I don't know if I can pin point that moment when it happened for me.  I was young and no one in my family was a huge football fan, let alone a Notre Dame fan.  It was in the time before cable - Sunday mornings were very boring.  I was always up before everyone else.  Moving the rabbit ears so I pick up something besides church on the TV, I came across a replay of a football game.  I can hear the announcer in my head: "We more forward in the game.  It is Notre Dame football at the Purdue 25, 1st and 10."  Every Sunday I would get up and watch the replay.  They became larger than life to me as a child and I never rooted for another team.  As I turned the corner in my adolescence, Joe Montana came to Notre Dame.  I heard his name over and over.  Big win after big win, they became my heroes and I have worshiped at the Golden Dome since.

 Pam Geiselman, Valparaiso, IN - 
I moved to Middlebury, Indiana and soon after, Rick Mirer became the QB for ND.  Since he was from nearby Goshen and anyone and everyone was watching him, I got hooked.  Sorry he didn't do very well in the NFL, but my passion for ND football never waned.

SGT Jonathan Johnson, Clarksville, TN -   Since I was the only one in my family born in Florida, you would think I would be a Seminole, Gator or even a Hurricane fan.  Well, since I can remember I have watched the Fightin' Irish run out of the tunnel onto the field with the 24kt Gold helmets and blue jersey's.  I remember watching Notre Dame play - I want to say I was five years old.  Back then, I didn’t really care to sit there and watch football.  There were four families that got together on the Holidays and Super Bowl Sunday.  I would never watch the Super Bowl until I was around 15.  There was one thing you could count on - every Saturday, sitting in front of that T.V. and saying, “Go IRISH”.  Now I am 31 years old and have a family of my own.  My 6 year old son and I go back and forth with, “LET’S GO.....IRISH!”.  One day I was sitting there and my 19 month old daughter heard me say, “LET’S GO”.  All you hear is, “IWISH”.  I am proud to be a Notre Dame fan because of the respect and tradition and honor that ND stands for.  I have watched them play in Iraq, Germany and hopefully soon, Japan.  I love to see players like Manti Te'o because people like him give me joy and make me proud to serve my country and protect their freedom to do what he is doing.  Thanks and GO IRISH!

William J Becker Jr., Warsaw, IN, originally from South Bend, IN – Well, where do I start?   I have tons of family history and stories.  I was born into it.  Grandfather played on the 1933-35 teams.  I remember meeting Moose Krause and Joe McArdle. I Grew up knowing Dick Rosenthal and Paul Harvey.  I remember, in the 70's, players coming to the house for dinner.  I'm a Notre Dame fanatic, so I've been told.  Check out a few pictures of the man-cave museum.

Pam Bauer, Nashville, TN - I live in Nashville where I met and married my husband in 1979.  I hated sports and used to gripe at him when he would sit down to watch them. Within the next couple of years I decided I was going to either have to learn to like football or divorce my husband, so I began watching Notre Dame football with him, learning everything I could.  I became hooked and in 1995 he took me to my first game against Vanderbilt.  I fell in love with the school, the campus and the rest they say is history.  Now I refuse to live without ND football and schedule my life around it.  GO IRISH!!! (Note: Pam and her husband, Pat, are ushers at Notre Dame games.  They just completed their seventh season.)

Paul Mesirow, Evergreen Park, IL - I didn't follow ND football as a small child.  I do remember listening to the NFL championship game in 1963 on a small transistor that my grandmother gave me, and hearing the Bears win the championship.  My Dad was a subway alum of ND, that class of Chicagoan that loves the school despite never having gone there. When I was 11, my Dad took me to a game in South Bend, and we arrived at 10AM on a glorious September morning.  We watched the bracing of the Irish guard, went to the bookstore, and saw the game.  I went to two games a year during the 1965 season, and one of them stood out because a pass was intercepted and Nick Rassas ran it back 92 yards for a touchdown (now we call that a pick 6).  My Dad was supposed to go to the ND-Michigan St game in 1966 with a friend - that didn't happen, but I got to go in the friend's place!  We saw the 10-10 tie in person!  I still have the program somewhere in my memorabilia boxes in the attic.  I have more stories, but they could fill a book, so I will stop now.  That's how I became a fan of the FIGHTING IRISH!

Luann Szalewski, Niles, MI, originally from South Bend, IN – Well, being born into a Notre Dame crazy loving family, I guess I became a fan in the womb.  I went to high school across the way from ND.  I used to take a bus out to my school and get on a shuttle and go to the stadium.  Faust was coach then.  After kick off , I always had someone come up to me with honey go on in.  I sure did!  I, then, waited till all the players came out, and I got so many autographs!!!  Then in ‘87/’88 I worked at a barber shop and Lou and his son Skip got their hair cut there.  I cut Skip's hair!!  Every time Lou came in, he always made time to speak to me.  He once called my Mother who is the biggest ND fan.  She was so excited.  During those years while he coached, um, well, um, I was a stinker.  Somehow, I snuck into all home games; it was easy back  I was on the field for every game -  right by the team :)))  I stood next to Regis and met Ahmad Rashad .   After every game in ‘88 we stormed the field!!  It was awesome high fiving the players.  I was on TV many times and after the Miami game, I walked out of the stadium and a little girl said "I saw you on TV!!!"  Those were the glory days.  My Mom passed away 4 years ago and she said when she goes, "Don't bury me in a dress, I want to be buried in my ND gear."  She loved ND as I always have and always will.

Thanks to all of those who sent in a paragraph.  In time, there might be a part II.  Merry Christmas to everyone and GO IRISH!

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