Friday, February 11, 2011

The Notre Dame Family -- Another In Heaven!

Forty or so years ago, my Grandpa and Grandma Doyle took my cousin Pat and me to my first Fighting Irish football game -- and my first ever visit to the Notre Dame campus...

Fast forward to Wednesday this week.

I was back on campus for the Notre Dame vs. Louisville basketball game -- what a win for the Irish!  At game's end I received a phone call from my Mom -- letting me know that my 96 year-old Grandma Doyle had just left for heaven.  The call was not a surprise, Grandma had slipped into a coma on Saturday -- and we were told it would be any day.  She died literally seconds after the final buzzer went off in OT.  I guess she needed to cheer the Irish on to victory -- one last time...

The photo is of Grandma Barb in 2007 -- she's with her great-grandson Jimmy Small '08 (my son), then a senior at the University of Notre Dame.  She was 93 years old (she was a beauty!) in this photo and stricken to a wheel chair.  But, she would have nothing to do with the wheelchair for this photo shoot.  She requested that we get her standing upright, next to her 6'-4" Irish Guard -- with the "golden dome" in the background.  I just wish it had been taken by a professional photographer -- not a hack like me.  It's still one of my two favorite photos of her.

Grandma Barb taught all eight of her grandkids the Notre Dame Victory March -- it was one of the things she felt an obligation to do.  She wasn't a grad, nor were any of her kids or grandkids -- Jimmy, is the first in our family to attend the University of Notre Dame.  Yet, she loved Notre Dame as much as anyone with a degree -- and through that love, she passed on the "gift" of Notre Dame to all of us.

This Monday -- "Valentine's Day -- at 11:00 AM EST, at a small Catholic church in Remus, MI (St. Michael's Parish) -- we will celebrate a life well lived.  If you think of it -- around that time -- please say a prayer of "thanksgiving" for your Grandparents and when you do -- please think of my Grandma Barbara E. Doyle.

Here's a poem I wrote about the impact Grandma Barb had on our lives -- that I'm sure will be read at one of the family gatherings these next few days.  I wanted to share it with all of you -- since we all share her love for Notre Dame.


I’d rather go to Grandma’s House than any place I know,

Because Grandpa says “I’m his boy” and Grandma loves me so.

Growing up in her home -- we were all taught that poem.

These are the words we never wanted to write and this is the day we never wanted to see,

Since it’s about a woman whose star shined so bright -- who always loved “we.”

Our Grandma Barb was always there…

Whether it was a game, a graduation, a performance or a trip to the Mecosta County Fair.

She was our Mom, our Grandma, our sister, our aunt and our friend,

It was that way every moment you were with her – it was that way ‘til the end.

Since her days at Holy Redeemer, the violin was the instrument of choice,

She would often entertain us with great style and voice.

Our Grandma would kick your "fanny" in Bridge or, any other game with cards in hand,

Yet, it never truly bothered you – because you knew she was that grand.

Boy, could she knit an Irish sweater!,

And, make you smile and cry -- at the same time -- with one of her letters.

Grandma taught us to love Coca-Cola and A1 Steak Sauce,

And, never to allow a cat in or, ‘round your house.

She made it her duty to teach us the words to the greatest college fight song,

While making sure we got together every Holiday – that we always got along.

If you ever needed a babysitter, no distance was too far,

She would always drop everything -- and jump in her car.

Whether it was the Irish, her Catholic faith or the gold helmets they wore to great fame,

There was always that great passion for the University of Notre Dame.

You know she never missed a Detroit Tiger's game, whether on radio or TV,

She even tried to call Jim Leyland, their Manager -- when she didn’t agree.

Even her famous plastic Easter eggs, delivered a million dollar prize,

Though her daughter-in-law didn’t much like that surprise.

She always knew what to say, when and how loud,

We always knew it was from love – and because she was so proud.

Our Grandma Barb was always there…

Often with something pink on,

The graceful, soft shadow she cast – will never be gone.

Yes, we’d rather go to Grandma’s House than any place we know

Because Grandpa says “I’m his boy” and Grandma loves us so.

Yes, she did…

Please note -- I'm going to "go dark" with the ND GO IRISH BLOG for the next three days -- as I join my family to celebrate the life of one great lady.  I will be back Tuesday morning -- with more great stories to share about Notre Dame, I promise! 

Navy Can Still Cut Block -- NCAA Rules

One of the most voiced complaints made by Notre Dame coaches -- over the past few years, has been the Naval Academy's approach to blocking at the line of scrimmage.  Well, the NCAA Rules Committee met this week in Indianapolis to discuss potential rules changes -- and the subject of "blocking below the waste" is a topic.  It appears that the NCAA will adopt the NFL's rules regarding what's a legal block and what isn't -- see the attached article.  I'm sure some will think the NCAA hasn't gone far enough to protect the players with this pending rule change.  You be the judge:  A ND GO IRISH BLOG 'thank you' to regular contributor Dr. Jim Clancy for alerting us to this story.