Monday, October 10, 2011

Weekend With My Brother at Notre Dame

Ever had a weekend that you wanted to put in a bottle and take out at some future time?  Chalk my last weekend up as one of those.   

After attending The Trailer Park Boys show in Milwaukee on Friday night (you can read my review of the show here), I awoke early Saturday morning to pick up my brother from O'hare and spend the rest of the day at Notre Dame attending their game against Air Force.  We connected with relative ease and made the quick jaunt to South Bend without issue, talking and catching up the whole way.  We found a great parking spot off campus in the nearby neighborhood and headed over to the school to kill time until the game.   

The day was nearly 80 degrees, sunny, and completely cloudless.  For a college football fan, it is the day that exists in your wildest dreams.  It could not get any better.  We walked around to the usual sites, visiting Touchdown Jesus 

and taking in some of the pre-game at the Golden Dome. 

We then did stuff like walk around the lake, 

visited the refurbished Joyce Center, 

and got onto the practice field.   

Other things we did included the obligatory K of C $7 for a steak sandwich and a drink, visited the Grotto and said a quick prayer, poked our head in on the ND / UCONN soccer game, caught College Gameday at the Student Center, and waded through the gift shop at the Joyce Center.  In fact, I'm not sure we left a stone unturned - it was the ultimate college football experience.   

That got us to game time where we were treated to a fly-over by a B2 Stealth Bomber (for video of the Stealth Bomber fly-over see my next post).  We were then treated to a very strong game by the Irish, which finished with a couple of late TDs against the Irish second team, the singing of Notre Dame Our Mother, and then the respectful and reverential playing of the third verse of the Air Force song by the Air Force band, which was circled by the Air Force team who was in turn circled by the Irish players.  As teams finally left the loudest cheer at the tunnel was saved for the Air Force, who exited to a standing ovation and cheers of "USA!"  It was awesome to see.   

After the game we headed into South Bend to catch some dinner before the ride back to the hotel near O'hare.  On our way there, on a wrong turn, we encountered about a dozen of the "Occupy Wall Street" crowd that were standing on a corner in downtown South Bend.  My window and moon roof were open, and I was loudly vocalizing my distaste for those people and their cause.  Something must have popped with my brother, as while I was turning around our rig he was opened the door and let loose with an invective that completely surmised what we both felt.  Upon shutting the door, he turned to me and stated "That felt GOOD!"  Indeed it did.   

We ended up having dinner at the LaSalle Grill where we enjoyed a steak and an incredible bottle of Ladera cab.  For an Irish post-game celebration, there's no way it gets any better.   

We ate our fill, headed west, got checked in, and I was out five minutes into Sports Center.  I can't convey how nice it was.  But the best part wasn't the weather, the game, the incredible dinner, or any of that.  The best part, by a magnitude of a thousand, was being able to spend the day with my brother.  We talked all day - about everything and nothing, about trivial matters and the most important things in the world.  The game, dinner, campus and all of the other stuff was just icing on the luscious cake that was being able to hang out with my brother.  We don't get to do it much anymore, but for me, there's not much better.   

Thanks for an incredible day, K.  The only way it could have been better is if I would have caught that extra point.  Literally.   

I love you, bud.    

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