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Farmer: Thanks to the bad times, it’s been a good time (Feb. 27)

Douglas Farmer | Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This marks my final appearance in the Sports Authority space. As of Thursday night, I will no longer toil away in this office. From there, I will moonlight on the men’s basketball beat, riding as far into the sunset as Eric Atkins and Jerian Grant carry me.

So pardon me, as I stray from the Sports Authority mission of looking away from the Notre Dame bubble, and let me turn the microscope back inward.

You see, four years of covering Irish athletics can wear down even the staunchest Notre Dame fan, whom I once was. It could be argued I should not admit such bias on the record. Well, when the next Irish loss could be the last game you cover, you tend to stop caring as much about the rules.

You especially stop caring as much about the rules when these last four years have taught you not to live or die by a team anymore.

I now admit I cried when Notre Dame lost to USC in 2005, thanks to the ol’ “Bush Push.” No lie, that loss so upset me, I have neither written nor typed those two words together until now.

I now admit I sat stunned in Greenville, N.C., in March 2002 after Notre Dame gave up a seven-point lead with six minutes left against top-seeded and tournament-favorite Duke.

I’ll even admit I let the 2009 College Cup Semifinals defeat of our women’s soccer team ruin a fully-comp’ed trip.

Maybe this is simply maturity gripping me, or perhaps the recent titles by the Yankees, Mavericks and Packers — all teams I whole-heartedly cheer for, say what you will — have softened my sports soul. But I suspect there is something more to it than that.

Take this past year’s evening tilt against USC. Naturally, I wanted the Irish to win — I do go to Notre Dame after all. I was in the stands, enjoying the sounds of Dropkick Murphy’s with 8,000 of my closest friends. After the game, I was less than pleased. I sat in the stands until three ushers approached me, pointing out I was the sole student remaining.

By the time I watched the Irish squeak out a win over Boston College, the wins and losses did not matter to me. Falling to Stanford, and subsequently to Florida State, rolled right off my shoulders.

Sure, it is nicer to win than to lose. Such is the nature of life; of course it would be the same in sport. But cliché as this may sound, despite those losses, I felt I was winning anyways.

After that 2005 loss, I went over to a friend’s house afterward, played wingman for my best friend and helped him land his first girlfriend. The 2002 debacle only made the 2003 Sweet Sixteen trip that much sweeter, and the snow-riddled trip to Texas in 2009 yielded one of my closest friends to this day.

Notre Dame has repeatedly punched me in the stomach in my lifetime. As a student, it feels as if it could not have happened more. Remember the 2009 Basketball Gameday loss to Hasheem Thabeet and Connecticut? That was awful.

Yet I could not tell you the score or Luke Harangody’s statline. I can tell you I got up at 6 a.m. to meet my girlfriend in the middle of South Quad so we could snag some of the last seats.

I’ve often been heard saying Notre Dame simply is not good at the whole football (or basketball, or …) thing. And I do hope that changes sooner rather than later.

But really, I don’t care. As long as I end up watching in the stands or on a couch or, preferably, in a press box working while watching (or is it watching while working?), I’m fine with the outcome.

That’s what I’ve learned covering Notre Dame athletics for four years. I am no longer an avid Notre Dame fan. I simply love thee Notre Dame.


Contact Douglas Farmer at [email protected]

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