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What have you done for me lately?

Bob Kessler | Thursday, September 3, 2009

“Do it for Greg Robinson,” my friend yelled at a couple Syracuse players as we leisurely strolled down the tunnel onto the field at Notre Dame Stadium last November. It was our last football game in the student section and we had obtained pre-game field passes from a well-connected friend. Greg Robinson, the Syracuse coach, had recently been fired as their team was mired in a horrific season that saw them fall to the dregs of college football. The players turned around and looked at us, but we continued on our way to the frozen tundra that was Notre Dame Stadium.

Like when Rudy first makes his way out the tunnel before the final game of his collegiate career, we stood on the field that day in awe of the beauty that is Notre Dame Stadium. It was the poetic conclusion to four years of living and dying with this team and we soaked in every moment of it no matter how cold it was. With marshmallows down our pants and field passes around our necks we walked onto the field that day prepared to enjoy it one final time, for all time.

And then it happened, the Orange somehow managed to actually do it for Greg Robinson.

The last image I have of Notre Dame Football is the Syracuse team joyously rushing the field and me putting my crazy disappointment face on with a weird hope that I would snag some air time on NBC when they needed shots of disparaged students. The next week I stayed home from a party at a family friend’s house [actually it was a party at my friend’s family’s house] in order to despondently stare at the television alone in my basement as USC allowed Jimmy Clausen to throw for a whopping 41 yards (about the distance that JaMarcus Russell can throw the ball while sitting down).

Needless to say having devoted four years to following this team, literally following them around the country to cities such as Tempe, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chapel Hill, Boston and Baltimore; I was distraught. Where had this gotten me? What had they done for me lately?

As you read this I am flying over the Pacific Ocean for a year of service in China, or I am on a layover in Seoul, or I am already in China, or (with any luck) my plane strayed thousands of miles off course and crash landed on a desert island with people as attractive as Evangeline Lily, Emilie de Ravin, Maggie Grace, Matthew Fox and Josh Holloway [wait, scratch that, if Fox, Holloway, and the Hobbit are there I’ll have no chance at tenting it up with the ladies]. Despite the fact that I can’t say for certain when I will be where because I haven’t precisely figured out the time change issues just yet, I have figured out that in the predawn hours of Sunday morning I will be sitting in front of my eight inch netbook monitor watching Jimmy Clausen and Co. take the field against Nevada.

After all the pain and suffering, all the beer bottles thrown, all the silent car rides home and all the disappointment, why in the world would I do that? Why would I go through all the trouble again when I will probably be disappointed? What has this team done for me lately?

I will do it because tomorrow, the season starts anew. It doesn’t matter if I was at 21 games during the worst consecutive seasons in the history of this school. It doesn’t matter if I have been disappointed by this team more times than by I have been disappointed by Michael Bay films. It doesn’t matter if I will be on the other side of the world by the time the band marches out.

The traditions of these games forged my love for this campus when I first started attending games 13 years ago. These traditions took the choice out of my college decision and brought me to Notre Dame four years ago when I knew nearly nothing about all of the things that I would grow to love about it and its students. These traditions of Notre Dame Football connect my past to my present and future, and while they purportedly never graduate, I did, and will need them to connect me back to the place I know and love while I venture through the unknown darkness of my post-graduate existence.

So while this team hasn’t done much for me lately; they have in the past and they will in the future, and I will always be watching.

Go Irish, Beat Wolf Pack!

Bob Kessler is a 2009 graduate that arrogantly

considers himself to be the foremost expert on Notre Dame culture. He currently writes Things Notre Dame Students Like, and you can read more of his work at the17thgrade.com. He can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.