If you’ve never been to South Bend, Indiana for a Notre Dame football home game, you’re missing out. Saturdays are for the Irish.
I’ve been a Notre Dame football fan for as long as I found college football interesting. There wasn’t much thought on which fandom I would choose, however, as my father’s side of the family is laden with Notre Dame and St. Mary’s College alumni.
And when my dad took me to my first Notre Dame home game, it didn’t take me long to think to myself “there are a lot of interesting things going on here. Do other schools have as many cool things as Notre Dame?”
Over the years, I’ve learned enough about college football traditions to deduce that the answer to that question is pretty clear: No.
First of all, Notre Dame’s campus itself is like no other. Of course, there’s the golden dome, Touchdown Jesus, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, and the Grotto, but there’s also an atmosphere that can’t be put into words. Football matters, certainly, but the unification of the Notre Dame community arguably matters more.
Oh, and speaking of the unification of community, the Joyce Center Parking Lot, the Linebacker Inn, Eddy Street, and the back patio of the Morris Inn, are among the top of the list of places where that unification occurs pregame, at least for this particular Notre Dame football fan.
And then there’s the whole matter of the Notre Dame band and the pregame festivities.
I’ve been to a few road games and seen a variety of other pregame routines and Notre Dame’s takes the cake every single time. Nowhere will you find the same atmosphere that’s created by “The Notre Dame Fanfare,” “Hike, Notre Dame,” “Celtic Chant,” or most importantly, the greatest of all university fight songs, “The Notre Dame Victory March.”
Nothing beats the tradition of slapping the Play Like a Champion Today sign and running on to a field while the most recognizable of all college fights songs plays.
Rubbing a rock is whatever. Running down a hill is dangerous. Riding a charter bus from one side of the stadium to the other during pregame is just plain stupid. Notre Dame has you beat there, Clemson.
And frankly, I don’t care which band is the self-proclaimed “best” band in college football–spelling a four-letter word in cursive is not impressive. Notre Dame’s band takes the cake, 100% of the time. Shots fired.
And, of course, the cherry on top of “Here Come the Irish” followed by “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys provides the perfectly-themed last-minute hype before kickoff.
Truly, if you’re an Irish fan and you haven’t gotten chills–or at the very least, a smile on your face–then I’m not sure where I went wrong in writing this article.
Notre Dame has the best home game college football experience in the nation. If you’ve never gone to a Notre Dame home game, you have to get there. The good news is that the Irish play in South Bend seven times next year. Get yourself to one. You’re welcome.