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No. 1

Rebecca O'Neil | Monday, November 19, 2012

It’s roughly four hours after this column was due. Ten hours after I woke up. Sixteen hours after I went to bed. Twenty-four hours after Notre Dame discovered that it was ranked number one in college football for the first time since the year I was born, 1993.

The night started after a solid win against Wake Forest. I raced back to Stanford Hall, took an hour-long nap to mitigate what I thought was temporary hunger, but finally downed a chicken and bacon sub. We started watching the Baylor vs. Kansas State game and the Stanford vs. Oregon game. I was told who to cheer for and why and did so accordingly. After admiring the HD quality of the TV set for ten minutes, I began meandering around the interweb and zoning out. Typical.

A short while later – not really, it just felt like it – people began accumulating in the room. As the games’ clocks wound down, people began sitting upright from their nearly horizontal positions. Finally they finished and I looked around to anyone who would make eye contact asking, “Does this mean what I think it means?” with a hopeful expression. Someone answered out loud “Stanford and Baylor just won, we’re -” and he was cut off. Stanford Hall’s fourth floor had erupted with the loudest, deepest cheers I have ever heard.

We raced out of the room to witness at least 35 guys moshing their way about each other. Social restraints were lifted and clothes were optional. They exhausted the “We’re number one!” chant for about five minutes until someone suggested we move down a floor. The crowd grew in volume and numbers as we went down. Finally, at the bottom floor there was nowhere left to go. People began running outside, I thought mob mentality had taken over and people disappeared into the blackness of the night.

Only after I had run into the darkness myself did I notice the throngs of people surrounding Stonehenge. Shirtless men surrounded me, Zahm’s first-floor playlist featured Mariah Carey Christmas carols and a half-naked boy ran by with a floatie around his torso. I started to tear up; I’m tearing up now as I recollect the goosebump-inducing sensation of pure joy. I raced to the fountain, my feet still killing me from the four hours of standing and screamed with the rest of them. Fireworks were lit, emitting more cheers from the students drunk with mostly exuberance. Then and there the night became something I will never forget.

And no, this is not a crazy reality TV show. It’s real life. WE’RE NO. 1!

Contact Rebecca O’Neil at roneil01@saintmarys.edu

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.