I often joke in our house that I am a Notre Dame Football, Indiana University Basketball & Chicago Cubs fan by marriage. Until I met my husband I didn’t regularly follow any of these teams and to be honest the only sports outside of gymnastics that I did follow was college basketball. Over the six years we’ve been together I’ve really enjoyed following each of the these teams, especially Indiana basketball.
Every year he manages to squeak in a Notre Dame football game and for one reason or another I’ve never have the opportunity to go. A couple of months ago, he and my brother-in-law decided to plan a fun day for the Notre Dame vs. Navy football game so they tried to get tickets. Both scored a pack of tickets but I think it is safe to say we got the better end of the ticket deal.
Little man and I were in for a treat!
As most people do as they head to a football game, we loaded up the gear for tailgating. My husband’s friend had some friends already camped out with a great spot so we joined in on their tailgate. Little man ran around with his cousin and friend for about 4 hours. I’m pretty sure one of the other guys at the tailgate also kept sneaking him munchkin donuts. He was pretty wound up but loved every minute.
From hamburgers to chicken chili I think it is safe to say we were stocked up on good food for the day.
With about 45 minutes to go until kickoff, we made a quick stop for pictures in front of touchdown Jesus. Little Man was a little confused and finally said “mom, it’s Jesus…. He’s nice!”
I had no idea what to expect going into the game. I’ve been in the middle of last minute shuffles into arenas before but I had no idea how incredibly crowded things were about to get. Without the “holding on tight” buddy system I would have easily lost my husband. Luckily Little Man is still small enough (sort of) to carry.
There is a long standing tradition behind the Notre Dame vs. Navy Football series. It the longest intersectional rivalry in college football dating back to the first game in 1927. Someone mentioned before the game that both teams would be wearing matching gear (outside of jerseys) to honor the tradition. I am a sucker for traditions and I’m so excited that this game based on “respect, honor & tradition” was my first game.
We walked into the Notre Dame vs. Navy football game JUST as the bands were taking the field for the Star Spangled Banner. As we made our way to our seats, we knew they were good but we had no idea just how good they were. Our seats were on the field in the end zone… you can’t get any better than that!
During the National Anthem the Navy jets did a fly over of the field. It was so incredibly cool. During the game the pilots were honored thanking them for their flight. At half time the Notre Dame band played the songs of each of the branches of military. There were so many ways that these schools showed their support of one another, it was simply amazing.
Being on the field gave me an entire different perspective to football. For the most part, I don’t watch football on TV. If there is a big game (filled with awesome commercials) or an important game I’ll watch most of the game. Seeing the field in person (and up close) was awesome. We watched touchdowns scored 20 feet away & kicks go through the goal post just above our heads.
Notre Dame beat Navy 41-24. The first half of the game was pretty close. Lots of touchdowns & back and forth. As the second half started Notre Dame was ready to go and they pulled away from Navy.
Little Man slept through the second quarter of the game and I couldn’t have been more grateful. As a toddler who still takes naps, it wasn’t exactly the perfect type of day to fit in nap time. He told me he was tired so I rocked him in my arms a little bit and he was out. It was obvious he was tired when he slept through a Notre Dame touchdown right in front of us. After his nap he was ready to go and kept up with the cheering of “Go Irish” and enjoyed a giant soft pretzel.
As I mentioned, I’m a sucker for tradition. When the game ended, both teams met in the center of the field to shake hands. They they came over (right next to us) to listen to the Navy band play their fight song. Together as it ended they headed towards the Notre Dame student section as their band played the Notre Dame fight song.
Still fired up from the day, Little Man stayed away for the entire hour long drive home. We talked about the Notre Dame vs. Navy football game, continued to yell “go Irish”, sang “wheels on the bus” and looked at pictures of our fun day. It was an incredible day and I’m already ready to go back next year for a different game.
Have you ever been to a college football game? Who is your favorite team? Did anyone else see the Cubs win last night?