We moved around a lot when I was a kid. By the time I was ten, we had already lived in 5 states. But no matter where we lived, my Dad always seemed to fit in that annual pilgrimage to Notre Dame.
Like myself, my Dad is a Notre Dame alum, and his roommate from college became a professor at Notre Dame, so we always had an friendly place to stay when we made our pilgrimage back.
His roommate from Notre Dame had kids as well ... a daughter a year older than me, and a son a year younger than me ... so when we were little, the adults would go to the Notre Dame game, and leave us kids home with a babysitter. They would always take us to the Pep Rally, though, on Friday night in the old Fieldhouse. I clearly remember bringing rolls of toilet paper and sailing them through the air during the pep rallies.
When I turned ten, we moved to Los Angeles, which was a bit too far away from South Bend, Indiana for our yearly Notre Dame pilgrimage, so our tradition changed a bit. Our new tradition became going to the Notre Dame/USC game when Notre Dame came to Los Angeles every other year. Most usually the weather was delightful, and Notre Dame really had USC's number at that time, so the majority of those games were winners.
The defining moment to me, of my Dad's commitment and love of sports (most importantly, football) was one rainy Notre Dame/USC game in the 1980's. It wasn't too cold, as it was in California, but it had poured down rain the entire first half. This, of course, meant that Notre Dame was killing USC as it rarely ever rains in Los Angeles, and USC has very little practice in being able to control the ball in such wet conditions. Now my Dad never leaves a sporting event early. Never. But int this particular instance my Mom put my foot down.
We are all going to be sick after sitting out in the rain all afternoon. There is no way that USC can win this game. If you are not going to leave with us, your daughter and I are going to go SIT IN THE CAR!I think that was the only time my Dad has ever left a Notre Dame game early. Smart man to not push his wife over the edge, but that really left an impression on me. He always stuck it out, rain or shine, because you just never knew what was going to happen in the last minute of any game. Thanks Dad ... for teaching me so much about teamwork, good sportsmanship, and for sharing with me your great love of Notre Dame!