Added November 8, 2012
1965: My dad is a Domer (‘50) and I grew up in South Bend. He loved to take us to the pep rallies in the Fieldhouse, and I recall when I was about four years old, being hoisted up on students’ shoulders to watch the action. It was exciting and terrifying because the students were so loud I thought the place would come down. As a student in ’82, they torn down the Fieldhouse, but my memories remain…
Carolyn, Wheaton, Ill.
2010: In 2010, I was finally able to take my best friend and husband to his first Notre Dame football game in South Bend. Through dating me and marrying me in 2004, he had become a fan, but this visit would certainly seal the deal. We were joined by my oldest sister and her husband, also my dearest friends. We did all the things you are supposed to do on a football weekend. We toured the campus. We bought out the bookstore, and more. We walked down the tunnel and touched the much beloved grass of the field and reminisced about the “House the Rockne Built.” On game day we arrived early to enjoy the smells and tastes of the tailgating parties and festivities before the game. But the highlight of that day, was not only an Irish win and sealing the deal with my husband in becoming a true blue and gold Notre Dame fan, but having the grandparents of Tyler Eifert sitting behind us. Little did we know that day that Kyle Rudolph was injured, and Tyler would get his first start. To sit with his grandparents and to talk with them and to watch their faces as they watched their grandson catch a 39-yard TD pass in the second quarter. And then end up with four receptions for 72 yards for the day. Who knew we were all witnessing the beginning of the career of such a great player?! But most of all meeting two wonderful, dedicated ‘Strong and True’ ND Football proud grandparents.
Susanna, Duncanville, Texas
2012: My oldest son Danny (class of 2010), and I had never sat together at a home game until the Stanford game this year. The five years he attended ND (he’s an architect…), it was always him at the student section and me somewhere else. We went to some road games and sat together, but never had we been side by side in a home game. Somehow the magic that filled the stadium that day trumped the inclement weather as we watched the Irish defeat a great Cardinal team. After the D held them on that last play and the replay official declared our victory, my son’s bear hug swept me off the floor – we sang the Alma Mater, for the first time together at Notre Dame Stadium as a teary Dad and son; a great strong and true moment!
Ernie, Puerto Rico
2001: I was 15 when the Pitt Panthers came to town in early October 2001. I was at the game with my older brother and it was my first college football game I had ever attended. This was only the second game at Notre Dame Stadium after the attacks of September 11th. The Color Guard attached the flag to the line on the pole just before the playing of the national anthem, as they do every game. As they were about to start raising the flag the line got stuck and held up the playing of the anthem. After a delay the flag was finally raised and the crowd erupted in applause. I have not heard Notre Dame Stadium that loud since then, until I attended the Stanford game earlier this year. I was never a big fan of Notre Dame, but after that moment when i was 15 and seeing the togetherness of the fans at Notre Dame, I became a fan for life.
Fredi, Bremen, Ind.
1977: I am from a big family in Michigan. In 1977, my older brother, Ray, was a junior at Notre Dame. On occasion, my parents would get tickets and go down to the home games visiting with my brother, also. Well, my father had to work on a Saturday and my older sister was busy, so my Mom took me. It was the 1977 Notre Dame vs USC. The ND team came out through a Trojan Horse wearing the green jerseys for the first time. The crowd went wild! It was a great game and we won 49-19. I got to see Joe Montana play, plus the legend of the green jerseys started. Fast forward 5 years, my sister and I went to St Mary’s and we were both in the Notre Dame Marching Band – go band! I have a thousand memories from that time, and present, too. But being there at the USC game with the Trojan Horse was priceless.
Diane, Pewaukee, Wisc.
1970: My family’s love of Notre Dame goes back to the 1925 Rose Bowl. My grandfather worked at the Santa Rita hotel in Tucson, Ariz. The Notre Dame football team stopped in Tucson and stayed at the Santa Rita hotel en route to Pasadena, Calif. to play Stanford. According to my mother, my grandfather came home from work each day during Notre Dame’s stay talking about how impressed he was with the football team and how good natured, rosy cheeked and polite they all were. Our family has followed Irish football since then. Fast forward to the 1970 Cotton Bowl. That is my earliest memory of Notre Dame football. I was 10 years old at the time and I remember feeling crushed when the Irish lost the game. I have followed them ever since. When my son was five years old, I had him by my side watching the Irish play on TV in Fort Worth, Texas. Today at 20 years old, my son is just as big a fan as his dad. It is something him and I have in common. We both enjoy watching and talking past, present, and future Irish football. There is not a particular Irish moment that stands out in my mind because there are so many great moments. My wish is to one day be able to attend in person an Irish home game with my son.
Randy, Tucson, Ariz.
1980: Sept. 20, 1980 vs Michigan. Notre Dame won a legendary battle and I watched from my seat in the senior student section. After the game I met my dad (who played one year for Frank Leahy and never saw ND lose a football game in his four years) and his good friend Roland, a Michigan fan who drove down from Kalamazoo. Roland told the following story: “I wasn’t worried,” he said, “when Notre Dame brought in the freshman gunslinger QB.” [Blair Kiel] “I wasn’t worried when he moved them down the field to the Michigan 34 yard line, or even when they lined up to try a 51-yard field goal because this kid had never in his life kicked a field goal that long, and it was into a stiff breeze. But as they spotted the ball I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. Touchdown Jesus was leaning forward, blowing in the direction of the goal posts.” He paused for dramatic effect then shook his finger at the ground. “THAT’s when I got worried!” We all had a good laugh then and when we read the headline of the Ann Arbor paper the next day: “Michigan 27, Notre Dame 26…GOD 3!”
Tom, South Bend, Ind.
Added September 20, 2012
1984: 8 years old. Friday nights, my Dad, Uncle and Grandfather would drive down, setup camp in a van at the parking lot and watch Friday practice (where Steve Beuerlein threw me a couple passes… he overthrew me on the first try, as practice wrapped he called my name and said “Let’s do it one more time, Mike!”… with Tim Brown covering me, I caught the ball!) attend the pep rally, watch the helmets get painted and, on this night, we toured the locker room. When Faust was coach the stadium was open on Friday nights to tour. I remember sneaking away from Dad, Unc, and Grandpa and creeping into the darkened stadium late at night. I heard a deep howl surround me from every direction as the wind whipped through the stadium tunnels that October eve. Chills ran up my spine and I bolted back to the locker room to find my Dad. I told him what I had heard. His haunting explanation that it was the ghost of the Gipper lingering in Notre Dame stadium sealed my Strong and True moment. There are many, but this is my favorite.
Michael, Saginaw, Mich.
1992: Notre Dame vs. Penn State “The Snow Bowl” My dad and I sitting in our seats in the south end zone watching the game. ND is down 7 with under a minute to go. The field is covered in snow. ND marches down and Rick Mirer throws a touchdown to Jerome Bettis. We are down 1 and Coach Holtz decides to go for 2. Mirer goes back to pass and throws it to Reggie Brooks in the endzone for the 2 point conversion. When he caught the pass a fan in front of me threw up his arms and dumped his hot (then cold) chocolate on me. I didn’t care as ND just went up by 1 point. And eventually won the game.
Mike, Valparaiso, Ind.
1989: I was born and raised in West Virginia but I have been an Irish fan for as long as I can remember. My most memorable Strong and True Moment was the 1989 Fiesta Bowl when Notre Dame and West Virginia were both undefeated teams that season and ND pulled off the win over WVU by a score of 34-21. Major Harris, quarterback for WVU during that game, was one of the best college QB’s to come out of that program. On the BETTER hand though, Raghib Ismail was one of the fastest RB’s to ever grace the football field for the Fighting Irish. Not to mention, having being coached by one of the best coaches that the Irish has ever had, Lou Holtz. That was one of the best college games I have ever watched and probably by far the greatest win by Notre Dame in my life of watching the Irish on TV!!
Josh, Ona, West. Va.
1964: As a senior NROTC midshipman I was able to attend every game of the ‘64 season. This was Ara’s first year and the team should have finished 10-0 [but that’s a story for another day]. I was able, with the help of many good friends, to attend games at Wisconsin, Air Force, Pitt, Navy (Philadelphia) and USC. At three of the games I was on the field, Air Force and Pitt as an"unofficial" student manager and USC as the official photographer for the Scholastic.
Bernie, New Jersey
1970: In a 1970 game, undefeated #1 ranked ND took on LSU. Late in the game with a 3-0 lead LSU lined up to kick the game tying field goal possibly knocking us out of the Cotton Bowl Game. I was the outside rush guy on the right side but you almost never block a field goal from out there unless there’s a snap problem throwing the timing off and on film I had noticed that they lined their wing blocker directly behind the Tight End vs the normal position of angled off the End. I knew he would just block me out as I rushed so I told Bob Neidert next to me to widen a bit and while I pull the blocker out he could hit that gap which he did and Bob laid out and blocked the field goal preserving our win over LSU that day. My position Coach George Kelly was all over me saying I was supposed to rush but one look from head Coach Ara Parseghian, he knew what I had done, was all I needed to know! That picture is posted in the Convocation Center. It was an unbelievable effort on Bob Neidert’s part and we went on to face Texas in the 1970 Cotton Bowl Classic.
Rich, Akron, Ohio
2011: I have never been a football fan. In March 2011, I married my best friend and as a result, became a Notre Dame football fan because of my husband’s love of the game/team. My husband had never been to a game at Notre Dame, only to a game at Purdue vs. Notre Dame. I purchased him tickets to the 2011 Navy game. Shortly after purchasing the tickets, my father was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. I couldn’t imagine leaving my father at that point but my father encouraged me to go with husband and have a great time. I was so sure about the great time but I did go. It was just what I needed. The campus is so peaceful and surreal and truly took my mind off of things to come. Of course ND pulled out the win so that was just icing on the cake. When you are an ND fan, it is more than just a game. Its a lifestyle, its a family! We had a great time, met great people and enjoyed every single minute on the campus. All bad just slips away when you are on the campus with its beauty and serenity. If i could afford the tickets and the trip to every single game, I would but for now, it is just one game a year. I could never say enough about what Notre Dame football and my wonderful husband has done for me in the past year. I will forever be an ND fan! Go Irish!
Kimberly, New Albany, Ind.
Added September 10, 2012
2007: My fiance and I were in town for a game in September of 2007. Our favorite part of the day is always the trumpets in the dome. We made our way to the administration bulding and crammed in with the rest of the crowd. There was a young boy there, with his uncle, maybe 5 years old (I was 22 at the time) and he was having trouble seeing. So I asked him if he wanted a bost on my shoulders. He agreed and I hoisted him up just in time for the alma matter. Once the fight song started he sang all the words and clapped right along. I was just blown away at how into it he was. Once the trumpets stopped I looked at my fiance and she had tears welled up in her eyes-as did i-and I set the kid back down and away we went. I never got his name or saw him again but it was just a special moment between ND fans. A moment I will never forget.
Ryan, Traverse City, Mich
1996: I was 9 years old, and my older sister (a sophomore at the time) snuck me into the student section. It was my first time in the student section, and I got to do all the cheers with the students. Since I was so small at the time, my sister and all her friends threw me up for push ups each time we scored. We ended up beating Pitt that day 60-6. Let me tell you, that was a LOT of push ups!
Andrew, Washington, D.C.
1964: “On November 7 1964 I was born in Pittsburgh at 11:00 am. After the delivery the Doctor told my father who had Pitt-ND tickets that as my mother and I would sleep most of the day He might as well use those tickets. Notre Dame won 17-15 and now almost 48 years later my daughter is a sophomore business major. My father died of cancer 10 years ago and I was burned and injured in an explosion 2 years ago. As my daughter was applying for colleges we only tried for ND because they are the #1 undergrad business school. Never thinking that South Bend was where she would end up it felt like Divine Intervention when she was accepted. And after a visit that fall we knew that leaving my daughter here 6 1/2 hours from home was the only thing that made sense.”
Rich, Pittsburgh, Penn
1989: "Raghib “Rocket” Ismail’s kickoff returns for touchdowns against Michigan during the regular season. Michigan had not previously allowed an opponent to return two kickoffs for touchdowns. It was priceless."
Beth, Indianapolis, Ind.
2006 I had went to my parents home to watch the game with my parents & my new wife. I was 22 at this time. I have been a strong and true fan since birth in 1984. I had been tired of seeing ND ran through the ESPN gag reels, USC highlight reels, and joke sites gone wild! I had fallen in love with the fact that Charlie Weis was about to change us back to Glory! Brady Quinn was not only a Tom Cruise for women, but a Joe Montana Superman hero for men. I watched Notre Dame play horribly for 3 quarters against a Michigan St team that was very talented and well coached. My dad mocked me the entire game. My mom saying “I told you, you should have been a bama fan.” My wife saying “hunny it iwll be ok, stop sweating and getting so torn up over a game.” My response, “if the players would listen to coach Weis they can turn this around!” “Leave, if u dont like my passion!” i said. 37-21 and MSU was going for 2 after scoring a rushing TD. I think it was Caulcrick that scored. It went to a TV timeout, I hung my head over the back of the couch, and I prayed to the Holy God above that i firmly believe in. “God, if there was ever a time i could use you to benefit my fleshly being, its now. God if there was ever a time I would want to say to my parents THATS WHY I PLAY LIKE A CHAMPION, its now. God, can you please give these men the strength, courage, and desire to not give up, but to play harder, to not give in, but to give all, to not lose, but to WIN” I have the confidence in YOU to do that right now! In Jesus name, amen. I have never done this before, or since, especially not this earnestly. Sweat pouring off my brows, nostrils flaring, and my Lou Holtz arm that just threw my hat across the room was now clinched in the fist of my other hand. With all the confidence in the world I ended that prayer, I turned to my dad and I said “Now watch the rest of this game! You are about to see why I am a Notre Dame fan!” He laughed, and I turned to the TV with all expeectation and hardheadedness towards my family. I placed my ND cap back on my head but backwards this time. The game cam back on ND stoped the 2pt conversion. I leaped with PRIDE and Passion! Brady Quinn lead a 5 play 80 yard drive and scored a long pass play to Jeff Samardizja. The Defense then stepped up and got us where we needed to be. Brady then hit Rhema McKnight for another TD. Even though we missed our first 2 pt attempt and missed this fg we were still down only 4 with 4 minutes to go. My dad then began to taunt me farther. I still had faith. I still had attitude. I still had desire, and so did our boys. Our defense stood strong, our travelling fans in East Lansing got LOUD, and we had Terrell Lambert pic a pass from senior leader Drew Stanton and return it for the go ahead TD that sent our team and fanbase into an uproar! This time we made the extra pt to go up by 3 and never relinquished that lead for the remainging 3 minutes of the game! We WON 40-37!! I jumped for joy! Said Thank you LORD, Thank You Notre Dame, and Thank you Charlie Weis! That is one of my Strong and True moments! GOD, COUNTRY, NOTRE DAME! PLAY LIKE A CHAMPION TODAY!
Jason, Cullman, Ala