ND Football: a labor of love
Lucas Masin-Moyer | Thursday, September 15, 2016
After the Sept. 4 loss to Texas, Fr. Sorin’s unofficial parody Twitter account posted the following message: “It’s truly appropriate that today is Labor Day, because being an Irish fan is truly a labor of love.” I don’t think I could agree with anything more.
The common joke amongst my friends is that I have “been a Notre Dame fan my whole life.” This joke arose during last year’s Virginia game when the Irish, down with a few minutes left, had the ball and needing to score to drive, I, in my relentless optimism of my fandom, said something to the effect of, “I’ve been a Notre Dame fan my whole life; I know how this will turn out.” And no, I did not mean that I anticipated DeShone Kizer hitting Will Fuller on a perfect pass in the end zone with a few seconds left.
I, the typical legacy child, was raised on the Notre Dame football tradition — stories of rushing the field after the legendary “Catholics vs. Convicts” game, of Rockne and Leahy, Montana and Lujack, Rice and The Rocket. It got so bad that in fourth grade, I did an entire project on Knute Rockne’s life.
Some of my earliest memories of my family loading up our car at 5 a.m. and hitting the Pennsylvania Turnpike for the 12-hour ride out to the Bend. In my first game the Tyrone Willingham-led Irish, in typical Notre Dame fashion, were tied with a team they should have been beating, Navy, with a few minutes left. In characteristic dramatic fashion, six-year-old Lucas watched in awe as D.J. Fitzpatrick put the ball through the uprights as time expired, and since that point, I’ve been hooked.
Since my fandom has begun, I have truly learned what Nietzsche meant when he said, “to live is to suffer.” I watched when Matt Leinart was pushed into the end zone, illegally I may add, to best the Irish in 2005, a game we very much deserved to win. I labored through 3-9 in the Charlie Weis years, and was in the stands when snowballs rained down upon Charlie Weis against Syracuse. I will readily admit that I cried myself to sleep on the night of Jan. 7, 2013 as a perfect season, and a shot at the national title lay in shards after a demolition at the hands of Alabama.
But amongst the struggle there have been moments of pure joy: in 2012, hugging my dad in my grandparents house as Oregon’s attempt at a field goal in overtime sailed wide, meaning that the No. 1 sign would be lit up on top of Grace for the first time since 1993; watching Notre Dame beat Michigan 37-0 (yes 37) the night after I applied to the University (yes, I applied in September…); and in my first game as a student watching in all the glory of a fall evening in South Bend as the Irish trounced Texas 38-3 and running through Stonehenge afterwards (Sorry, Fr. Jenkins).
Amongst it all, I’ve learned that while it may be a labor of love to be a Notre Dame football fan, it does deep down come from a place of love. In what will be a total cliché, I know that every Saturday, no matter how the week was, I can sit in front of the TV or climb the beer-soaked stairs of Notre Dame Stadium to tiny bleachers and know that for three and a half hours, I can lose myself in the magic.
Contact Lucas Masin-Moyer at [email protected]
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.