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First Impressions

Allison Walsh | Monday, September 15, 2003

I learned a lot about first impressions this weekend in Michigan.

I learned that Ann Arbor is, in fact, not a woman of ill repute as I had been repeatedly told and was beginning to believe. Rather, it is a pretty amazing college town that, upon first glimpse, outdoes the city of South Bend in every way possible, as asserted by our ranking as “Great Campus, Bad Town” by Sports Illustrated On Campus.

I also believed that Michigan fans couldn’t be all that different than Notre Dame fans. We both came in hopes of good times and a good game, although I was forced to drive home without the latter.

Upon entering one State Street locale and hearing a rowdy rendition of the Notre Dame fight song, my first thought was to keep an eye out for locals. Soon I realized, however, that throwing insults back and forth with the enemy can be a source of entertainment for all.

“Overrated,” they chanted in response to our rounds of “25-23,” the score of last year’s encounter. For the next half hour, as both tables tried to one-up the other, chants of “George O’Leary” and “Bob Davie” were directed at us, we received our insults with amusement.

When everyone ran out of comebacks, two of the Michigan students brought a peace offering of two cold pitchers.

They shook hands and introduced themselves, and soon enough, the Irish were teaching our opponents how to play cups. It brought a tear to my eye.

I think it’s safe to say that our fondness for drinking games is where our similarities with their fans end.

Game day was another story. What other student body assaults visiting fans with eggs and half-empty (or half-full?) beer cans? At least their clever and oft-repeated chants of “Rudy sucks” and “F— the Irish” gave Notre Dame students reassurance as to our institution’s admittance of individuals of higher intelligence.

After the game (let’s not even go there…) I realized that maybe my first impressions were right.

So maybe South Bend has a little less to offer than Ann Arbor, but on the drive back home, I took solace in the fact that despite the outcome of Saturday’s game, (although I’m still more than a bit upset about that) it’s better to live in a second-rate city than to live amongst a second-rate student body.