The $$ Irish

One of the most celebrated rivalries in college football took place last Saturday evening in good old South Bend, IN: Notre Dame vs. USC.

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I luckily have had the chance to attend this decorated event every other year and see all what the Fighting Irish have to offer.  Don’t get me wrong, I have been to South Bend before and have loved every minute of it: the fantasy like campus set in the lush forest, the crisp fall October weather, the old brick buildings, the one of kind religious monuments sprinkled all over campus…the list can go on because Notre Dame Campus is that awesome.

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However, this trip around, I noticed some gaping downfalls of attending a football game at Notre Dame.  As a USC fan, granted I was wearing an embarrassing Trojan football helmet I stole at a frat party, I would either receive a few accolades or a few insults from football fans alike, I may not be the most reliable source….

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But what the hell,  this is my sports blog.  Here are 6 points that need to be said about those Irish at Notre Dame.

1. The Book Store

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I have been to Notre Dame at least 5 times before but for god sakes does their Book Store need to be so damn big?  In the past I was a child, had no reference to any other university student store out there.  Now as a graduate of college and graduate school,  I have seen my fair share of student stores.

Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame’s just takes it to entirely new level.  3 levels to be exact.  The size of the student store alone looks like an apartment complex.  The square footage alone can fit a baseball field.  I mean, how much college paraphernalia does one school need?  Apparently, a shit load: $8.3 billion endowment.

One would think their money would be put to more practical use.  But wait, this is Notre Dame we are talking about.  They have more money than they know what to do with.  And that comes to my next point.

2.  The Campus

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Holy Bejingo.  This campus is HUGE, almost the size of UCLA, ya know, just without the hills and steps….and sunshine.  I asked a fellow alum how many total students are on campus, undergrads and graduates…..or just looked it up on Wikipedia.  11,733 students on a campus that is 1,250 acres.  Now let us compare this to a University that is known to have one of the largest student bodies: The University of Wisconsin, 38,255 students on a campus that is 936 acres.   How about University of California, Berkeley: 35,899 students on a campus that is 1,232 acres.

Aerial of the central campus Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame

Now does that statistically make sense?  Hell no.

I get it, South Bend, IN isn’t the most lucrative place and the area has plenty of land to go around.  Even Farmer John doesn’t want to buy land there.  And you know the campus is just going to get bigger and bigger, with their student body numbers remaining exactly the same.  Yea, the students really need all that space, how do you think they get their creative juices flowing?  And what about that Art School huh?

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3. The Band

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One of the best parts about visiting another school for a football game is seeing their band perform.  Although nobody can be as nearly as good as the Spirit of Troy, Notre Dame does have one of the best fight songs.  So as a visiting college football fan, you can’t help but feel a little giddy when the band is about the play on the steps of a building in the middle of the Quad.

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But this time around was completely different.  Seeing how the band Chicago went to Notre Dame and I am sure donated millions of dollars to the school, the band decided to dedicate their entire play time to Chicago songs.  And not just sheet music, we are talking American Idol singing performances with little to no band participation.

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What the hell is this?!  I don’t care if Chicago donated millions and millions of dollars, Notre Dame already has billions of dollars, that doesn’t make it acceptable for fans traveling to South Bend to come watch a college football game be forced to watch amateur Chicago hour.  And South Bend ain’t an easy place to get to.

Is it so much to ask for a college marching band to play its own fight song?  I guess not when Chicago and a big check are in town 😛

4. The Stadium

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Gotta love those old classic stadiums built in the 1930’s.  Don’t get me wrong, I love an old stadium that has character, has history and tradition.  Those are really hard to come by now a days. But Notre Dame really?  After the 1997 renovation, expanding the seating from 50,097 to 80,795, you would think this new and improved stadium would be the cats pajamas.

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Have you seen the seats?  Notre Dame seating is composed of long wooden benches, wooden benches that weren’t included in the renovation, OR, were included in the renovation but modeled after the original 1930’s seats.  These seats are about 15 inches wide with small white numbers designated each seat.  Do you know how fat Americans are now a days?  A butt load bigger than we were in the 1930’s that is for sure.  BUTT being the operative word.  And we are only going to get bigger and fatter.  Just look at the country’s child obesity rate…….thanks Ronald McDonald.

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Nobody is ever sitting in their actual seats because horizontally challenged people can’t seem to stay in their own goddamn seat.  Especially in cold weather, when people are bundled up like the inflated Michelin man, you tend to take up a bit more square footage.

You would think with all the cha-ching, they would renovate the seats to house the ever-growing fatness of America.

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5. Night Game

Why in god’s name would you have a night game in late October in South Bend, IN?!  Speaking from a Sunny Californian perspective, that is hella cold bra.  Honestly with the seating and the weather (RAIN), why would Notre Dame ever think that it would be ok to have a night game.

Oh yes, of course.  Thank you NBC.  Notre Dame’s lucrative TV deal with NBC forces them to comply with television ratings and broadcasting of other football games.  SIGH.  Let the fans who are at the game suffer while the fans at home enjoy an ice-cold beer and warm hot dog by the roaring fire-place.

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6. The Fans

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This particular game was a little special for me because I was never told by a Notre Dame fan at a football game to “Be Quite.” Are you kidding?  This isn’t the opera lady, we are at a FREAKING FOOTBALL GAME.  I swear if I was the level of drunk I wish I was at considering the cold weather, this old lady and her husband would never show their faces in Los Angeles.

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While watching one of the WORST football games I have ever seen (mind you I just say football, because I have seen High School football games better than this one), I couldn’t help but notice the surrounding fans.  What the hell else was I going to do, watch a football game?

One always has to remind oneself of this little tidbit when at a Notre Dame Football Game: half of the fans didn’t even go to Notre Dame.  One half are old fogey alumni who are all on medicare telling fans to be quiet as the other half are townies from South Bend who have nothing else better to do than attend a Notre Dame football game.  Hell, some of these fans LIVE and BREATHE Notre Dame, DOMERS we like call them.

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These fans are tasteless drunkards who are some of the most foul-smelling people you can be around.  You can immediately tell the difference between alumni and townies, townies are the ones who can’t shut the f*ck up and are relentless in their dim-witted name calling and obnoxious swearing.   Yelling for “Mark Sanchez to come in for Cody Kessler!”……come on man you can’t you come up with something a bit more creative than that?  You walk around campus don’t you?

YES, I am going to pull the “I am better than you” card because “I have an education and have seen life outside Hickville.”

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These townies don’t really have much of a life outside of Notre Dame, so you gotta give them the benefit of the doubt on game days.  But no, they are terrible fans and considering Notre Dame’s prestigious reputation and vast bank account, one would assume that these fans wouldn’t even be allowed on the church steps.

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A majority of this list all comes down to the one thing that makes the college sports world go ’round: $$

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Money exudes out like sweat at Notre Dame, from the campus, the buildings, the band and the culture.  With such a great prestigious reputation, you would hope the University wasn’t as so immersed into such a Scrooge McDuck persona.

(BTW: Wasn’t RUDY Ruettiger charged in a stock scheme in 2011?)

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BUT, that is entirely hypocritical.  All Universities wish they could be like Notre Dame, they all wish they had the same donors with deep pockets, dedicated alumni, smarty pants students and collegiate tradition that surpasses most.

Despite money being the utmost importance to Universities, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is ok to push their financial gain into the lime light.  Students and Alumni have managed to find other finer things in life, like serving beer at the stadium, treating visiting fans with respect, expanding the student body, making sure fans are comfortable enough to sit down in their own seats and playing the goddamn FIGHT SONG.

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As a Trojan fan I will always chant, “BEAT THE IRISH,” but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to enjoy my stay at South Bend next time.  Get it together Notre Dame.