Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Lifelong Fan's First Visit to Notre Dame

"One of the greatest weekend's of my life..." -- these were the words of one John Pisano of Long Island, NY on his first trip to the University of Notre Dame.  Pisano, a retired NYPD officer and former member of the NYPD football team, received the "gold carpet" treatment this weekend at Notre Dame.  Fortunately, the camera crew at NOTRE DAME GO IRISH BLOG was there to capture all of the moments.  Here's a link to a couple of videos -- first, a video of March Out of the Band of the Fighting Irish on Friday -- you also might see a former ND All-American and Super Bowl MVP in the crowd.  And, a nine-minute  video of all of John's fun over the 36 hours he was at Notre Dame.  A MUST WATCH -- enjoy!



The Magic That Is Notre Dame

This weekend I had the great pleasure of "showing off" Notre Dame to my friend John Pisano, a retired New York Police Officer -- on his first ever trip to "America's Holy Land."  We rolled onto campus at 9:45 AM EST on Friday and we left last night at 9:15 PM EST -- having seen about all you could in our 36 hour visit.  (Look for a video later today on the ND GO IRISH BLOG YOUTUBE CHANNEL) Yet, it's a breakfast at South Dining Hall yesterday morning that reaffirmed the "MAGIC" that is Notre Dame.  We've made it a tradition to stop in for breakfast at South Dining Hall before every Notre Dame home football game -- if you haven't visited this building, you must!  There's not a college dining hall like it in America.  Well, John and I are sitting alone at one of the long wood tables in South when two gentlemen join us, a few seats down.  They were in their Notre Dame gear -- like all of us -- but it was their multiple ND "tattoos" on their face that set them apart from the rest.  Specifically, the ND Monogram logo (the interlocking ND) that was applied BACKWARDS to both of their faces.  Having my camera in tow, I introduce myself to the two and ask to take a photo of their faces for my blog -- telling them that my visitors will enjoy seeing the mis-application of one of the more famous "marks" in the world, the Notre Dame logo!  So, I take a picture and we start talking...  I learn that they're Notre Dame fans who have been making this "pilgrimage" (their description) to an Irish football game -- every season -- for the past eighteen years from their homes in Connecticut.  Jack Barrett (Cheshire, CT) and Neil Stonge (Oakville, CT) -- like many of us,  didn't have the honor of attending Notre Dame as students.  They're self proclaimed proud members of the "Subway Alumni" -- the millions of us around the world who live and die with the Irish each week. They tell me that the tattoos are something they always do on game day and that they "always screw up putting on the ND logo tattoo."  "Just can't figure out how to put that on right" -- as they both laugh.  I introduce Jack and Neil to my friend John -- letting them know this was his first ever trip to Notre Dame.  Jack immediately asks us "where are your seats?"  And we tell him we have two tickets in Section 129, just below the Press Box -- well Jack replies; "those are kind of high up aren't they?"  We confirm they're in the upper bowl, but there's "not a bad seat in the Stadium."  Then, Jack asks "would you like to sit closer to the field?"  Come to find out, Jack and Neil's tickets are in the GOLD SEATS at Notre Dame Stadium.  These are the ten rows of individual seats that are gold colored that run between the 20's on both sidelines of the House that Rock Built.  The best seats in the Stadium.  Two of their friends from their Lions Club (they try to bring two new buddies each year from the club) had to back out at the last minute and they offered these tickets to John and me.  Well, it didn't take a "New York Minute" for us to say YES and Jack handed over the tickets...  (We gave our tickets in the Upper Bowl to a ND Usher and asked him to give them to two ND fans looking for tickets)  What a treat and what a vantage point for my friend John to  experience his first football game at Notre Dame Stadium!  To memorialize the occasion I took a picture of John, Jack and Neil (LtoR in the photo) at halftime from their seats -- FYI:  I should have taken the photo before the game when all of us were smiling and a little warmer!  Jack and Neil -- thank you for making my friend John's first visit to Notre Dame -- something he'll never forget!!!  And, thank you for playing a part in what I call the 'magic that is Notre Dame' -- our fans are like no other.  We'll be "family" forever (because of Notre Dame) and I look forward to seeing you two next season.  We're going to win that game!!!