Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Reliving Notre Dame

I try to make it a point to always wear green on the Friday before a Notre Dame game, because I am just that much of an ND homer. I may or may not have bought this skirt from the J Crew outlet with just such an event in mind...
Of course, this week, I had to move my pre-gameday ritual up a few days, because Steve and I took Thursday and Friday off to actually go to Notre Dame for the game, but still...I think I got my point across.

We went back to South Bend for a game in 2011, but we'd left Brigid with my mom for the day (my parents live about two hours away from SB), and we'd just driven up and back that same day. We didn't leave the tailgate lot, except to go to the stadium and walk to the bookstore on the edge of campus when the game was over, so it had been awhile since I'd been on the actual campus. It's changed so much, but then...it hasn't.

When I was in high school, I applied to Notre Dame to give my parents bragging rights. I thought I could get in to the university, and I wanted them to be able to tell their friends that I had, in fact, done so, because, I don't know. I was a snotty high schooler who wanted to show off, maybe? But I had absolutely no intention of going there for four years, because I wanted to move to the city. Sure, that city happened to be Indianapolis, which is maybe no great shakes to most people, but it was a big deal to me, since my closest neighbor when I was in high school was the cow that lived in the pasture across the road from us. I was going to Butler, and that was that.

But there was no point in letting my official college visits go to waste, even if I'd already made my decision, so when my best guy friend and the guy I happened to have a crush on at the time asked if I wanted to take a day to go visit Notre Dame with them, of course I went. Spend the day in school or take a four hour roadtrip with a cute guy? Please.

I was 18. I think we all know where my priorities lie.

It was cold and rainy when we got there, so we decided to skip the official tour. After all, none of us were planning to go there, anyway. My friend was moving to Boston. My crush wanted to go to Duke. Why did we need to learn about the campus?

Then we stepped inside the Basilica to look around.

Look, I am Catholic. I was baptized Catholic. I attended Catholic school through seventh grade. I taught kindergarten Sunday school when I was in high school. I've spent my life at church. But I struggle with it sometimes, and I am not as active as I should be. And I definitely wasn't as full of faith as a teenager as some people I knew at the time. And yet, the minute I walked into that church, I knew.

This was where I would spend the next four years of my life, and I have never once regretted that decision.

Six years later, I would get married in that church. Nine years after that, I would take the daughters I share with the man I met just across the quad from that church to Mass there. And I would feel the very same feelings of coming home each and every time I walked into that building.

Notre Dame is my happy place, and I think it always will be. I've been telling Steve for years that I think I'd be happy working on a college campus for the rest of my life, but I think I've been wrong. I don't think I'd want to work on a college campus, I think I'd want to work on this college campus...

...if working meant sitting outside, under a tree, with a book, in the spring and fall, of course. I may end up being the first person in history to retire to South Bend, Indiana, I think.

1 comment:

  1. This is exactly how I feel about Purdue!!! I'm a third generation Boilermaker. I grew up thinking that it was the ONLY school out there. In grade school, my friends all sported their UGA/GT gear. Me? I wore my Purdue wear! I knew I would go to Purdue and I wasn't even shocked/surprised when my acceptance letter arrived. It wasn't the end of my first semester that I really, really knew that Purdue was the place for me! I love the campus, the traditions, the way of life. I love the pride that comes with being a Purdue Boilermaker. My husband wants to be a professor when he finishes his PhD and I keep telling him that the only school I want him to work at is Purdue!!!

    PS- My husband is Catholic and would have LOVED to go to ND.


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