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Utah a special game

Christine Putnam | Monday, November 22, 2010

As I stood with the rain dripping off the hood of my poncho and looked out across the packed stadium now lit up by lights at the people clapping to the famous Fight Song being played by the band, I felt something in the air I couldn’t describe. Something that took your breath away, brought a tear to your eye and a lump in your throat. Then I realized it was the magic of Notre Dame waking up the echoes, shaking the thunder from the sky and welling up pride in everyone in that stadium. We were winning a game that no one thought we had a chance of winning. We were beating a rated team when we had already lost five games. We were kicking “unbelief” — a word coined by “Rocket” Ismail — out of our house. Our guys were playing their hearts out and it showed.


I never wanted the game to end. There was so much excitement in the air as the stadium roared, cheering the team to victory. There was so much pride as we yelled, “We are ND!” The rain didn’t dampen the crowd’s spirits as no one left when it continued to rain and the cold air came blowing in bringing a damp chill. Even the Utah fans did not leave when the game was too far in our favor for them to win. Maybe they felt it too. Maybe they were seeing the magic of Notre Dame and what it is all about to “be ND” and maybe it captured them and held them in its grip.


Seeing the students rush the field after the game made me wish I could do it too. I wanted to join in all the celebrating. As I watched the team, the band, the students hugging, singing, laughing, all I could think about was how it was long overdue. We needed this happiness, this good feeling. Sure, it wasn’t a Top 10 team we had just beaten and we hadn’t just won a National Championship, but it was a victory of a different sort. It was a victory that said we finally believed in ourselves and we were finally turning the corner and yes, what though the odds, we could win.


I wanted to bottle up all the joy and excitement that was on the field and take it home with me. Whenever I would need a lift, I would just uncork that bottle and let it flow.


As I look forward to the last game, I realize the football season I have waited so long for is almost over and a sadness overcomes me. I will return again in the spring for the Blue/Gold game to get my football fix until the regular season returns once again. I pray God will be as good to me next year as He was this year and will bless me with many chances to see the Fighting Irish in person and the beautiful campus I so love. I take with me, leaving the stadium for the last time this year, the game that was so perfect, the win so needed, the sign of good things to come for our Fighting Irish and the pride of “being ND.”


Christine Putnam

Nov. 18