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Dec 30, 2012

Crimson and Clover over and over

This is it… 

The two most storied programs in the history of college football (sorry, Michigan), will clash on January 7 when #1 Notre Dame takes on heavily favored defending champion #2 Alabama.

I’ve witnessed more than my fair share of ups and downs during my 7 years as a Notre Dame student, as the lofty expectations of my freshman year (pollsters had given us a #3 preseason ranking in anticipation of Brady Quinn’s senior campaign) gave way to the lowest of the lows during my sophomore year (try as I might, I can’t quite erase the scarring memories of a 3-9 season), eventually leading to the firing of Charlie Weis during my senior year when I served as the official Fightin’ Irish Leprechaun. 

When I decided to attend law school and prolong my career as a Notre Dame student by three more years, I joked that the sole reason was to watch as Coach Kelly fulfilled the task I gave him of returning us to glory.  Many laughed at the idea of a team that had just lost 21 games in three seasons playing for a national championship within the next three years.  It is now year three.  Who’s laughing now? (Certainly not Mark May or Rick Reilly)

More impressive than our meteoric rise under Kelly has been the way we have done it.  As a representative of the athletics department during my time as the Leprechaun, and as an intern while in law school, I have seen just how seriously we take our values and our commitment to excellence, from the ADs at the top all the way down to the managers and cheerleaders.  Lots of schools have mission statements for their athletics departments.  Not every school stays true to its avowed values (see Florida State, Ohio State, Miami, Southern Cal, and even Penn State).

That’s where this game comes in.  We don’t do everything perfectly here at Notre Dame, but we strive to, and by holding ourselves to a higher standard we stand out.  That’s why we’re the most polarizing team in sports, period. 

Critics claimed Notre Dame would never again compete for a title.  They were wrong.  So-called "experts" discounted Kelly’s 2012 squad every step of the way, predicting defeat after defeat only to have the Fightin’ Irish prove them wrong again and again.  

Frankly, ESPN should be embarrassed by the quality of the talking heads they employ to spew nonsense week after week, and I wish there was someway to hold clowns like Jesse Palmer and David Pollack accountable for what they say one week prior to pretending they’ve held a completely opposite viewpoint all along the following week, but I’ll save that for another time.

Here we are, standing at the brink of a national title at a day and age when so many had given up hope in the ability to win without sacrificing standards.  By coming this far, we’ve already won in the sense that we’ve shown that it can be done.  By winning, and dethroning the mighty SEC, which ESPN would have you believe belongs in the NFL, we will force all those who see or hear about us to stop and ponder our success as a team, as an athletics department, and as the preeminent Catholic university in the world. 

Notre Dame is a global force for good, fighting for countless worthy causes.  Among those is inspiring a worldwide fan base to believe in the possibility of success with integrity. 

Here’s to hoping that, come January 7, the whole world will be talking about that game between Crimson and Clover over and over.

Dec 28, 2012

10 Days: South Bend to South Beach

With 10 days remaining until what will be the 
most watched and most bet on college football game in history 
between #1 Notre Dame and #2 AlabamaFightin' Irish fans nationwide are prepping for a pilgrimage of mass proportions to South Beach.

The Notre Dame Family will come together in the South Florida area to celebrate in style on several occasions both pre- and post-victory.  If you plan on making the trip, be sure to don your favorite Blue, Gold & Green attire, and rep the Fightin' Irish with the class and confidence of a National Champion. SEC fans are definitely rowdy, and can get pretty mean after a few cocktails (I heard 'bama frat bros in particular love drinking Pink Elephants), but let's not succumb to their level.  

As Dr. Lou would say, "We are Notre Dame.  We are special."

Below you will find a list of several official and unofficial Notre Dame related events that may be worth checking out.

Discover Championship Fan Experience
Date: Saturday, January 5
Time: 12 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Location: Ocean Drive - between 6th and 9th Street (660 Ocean Drive Miami Beach, FL)
"Experience the thrill and excitement of the Discover Championship Fan Experience on beautiful Ocean Drive. Live bands, interactive games, zip line, contests, Championship Trophy photo opportunities and much more. Free and open to the public."

Notre Dame Pep Rally 
Date: Saturday, January 5
Time: 7-8 p.m.
Location: Ocean Drive - between 6th and 9th Street (660 Ocean Drive Miami Beach, FL)
"Come out and support the Fighting Irish as a Notre Dame football tradition moves to South Beach. The Notre Dame Marching Band, cheerleaders and Leprechaun will be attendance. Guest speakers include Notre Dame coaching legend Lou Holtz, Irish greats Joe Theismann, Tony Rice, Pat Terrell, Mike Golic Sr., and comedian Martin Short."

Saturday Night Irish Party
Date: Saturday, January 5
Time: 7 p.m. - 12 a.m.
Location: Fado Irish Pub and Restaurant Miami (900 South Miami Blvd., Suite 200, Miami, FL)
"Come hang out with your ND Club of Miami at Fado Irish Pub in Mary Brickell Village. Your first drink is free, there will be drink specials after that, and $10 cover proceeds go to the ND Club of Miami."

Notre Dame Masses
Date: Sunday, January 6
Time: 10 a.m.- 11a.m.
Location: Ballroom, InterContinental - Downtown Miami
Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C., celebrant and homilist. Free and open to the public.
Location: Ballroom, Bonaventure Resort and Spa
Rev. Paul Kollman, C.S.C., celebrant and homilist. Open to the public.

National Championship Game Service Project
Date: Sunday, January 6
Time: 12 – 4:30 p.m. (Registration 12-12:45 p.m.)
Location: Roots in the City, urban garden 2 miles west of downtown Miami; please meet across the street from the historic Mount Zion Baptist Church at 301 Northwest 9th Street, Miami, FL
"Join other alumni, students, parents, friends, as well as volunteers from the University of Alabama to transform a city block in downtown Miami into an urban vegetable garden benefitting the low-income neighborhood and homeless population. Service project will conclude with a neighborhood social with refreshments and visits from the Notre Dame cheerleaders and University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. This event is free and includes a light lunch."

ND Club of Miami Pool Party
Date: Sunday, January 6
Time: 1 p.m. - all day
Location: Monty's @ Miami Beach Marina (South Beach)
"We will be hosting a pool party with Monty's on South Beach on January 6, 2013 at 1pm. We will raffle off the 2 tickets to the BCS Championship at the pool party. Raffle tickets will be $20 for 2013 dues paying members and $40 for all other individuals. You may buy as many raffle tickets as you wish. Raffle tickets will go on sale at 1pm and the raffle will be held at 4pm. We will also have other items available for silent auction."

Discover Championship Fan Experience
Date: Sunday, January 6
Time: 12 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Concert from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. with opening act at 5pm (Bands TBA)
Location: Ocean Drive - between 6th and 9th Street (660 Ocean Drive Miami Beach, FL)
"Experience the thrill and excitement of the Discover Championship Fan Experience on beautiful Ocean Drive. Live bands, interactive games, zip line, contests, Championship Trophy photo opportunities and much more. Free and open to the public."

Official Notre Dame Alumni Association Party
Date: Sunday, January 6
Time: 8:30 – 10:30 p.m.
Location: The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater, 1700 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
"Join us at the official Notre Dame Alumni Association party at the historic Fillmore Theater in South Beach. The evening will include an open bar of beer and wine and Miami-inspired entertainment! You won’t want to miss an exclusive look at the official 2012 Notre Dame Football Highlight video. Limited space available. Cost: $100.00 per person includes beer, wine, soft drinks and entertainment. Food will be available for purchase. Only 21 years of age and over admitted."

Notre Dame Gameday
Date: Monday, January 7
Time: 12 – 4 p.m.
Location: Bayfront Park, 301 N. Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL
"Be a part of the largest Notre Dame fan party of the year! This event will be the destination for Notre Dame alumni, family and friends to kick off the National Championship Game. This festival will feature world-renowned Irish band Gaelic Storm, the Notre Dame Marching Band, cheerleaders, the Leprechaun and special Notre Dame celebrity guest speakers. There will be activities and fun for every age group. We anticipate more than 10,000 Notre Dame fans to be a part of this very special event – an event you will not want to miss! Cost is $75.00 per person includes tailgate buffet, beer, wine, and soft drinks. (Children under 12 admitted free.)"

Bud Light Championship Game Day Fan Zone
Date: Monday, January 7
Time: 1:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Location: Gate G Parking Lot, Sun Life Stadium
"Experience the thrill and tradition of Sun Life Stadium and college football at the Bud Light Championship Game Day Fan Zone presented by Allstate. Enjoy live entertainment, interactive and inflatable games and a pep rally for each team participating in the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game. Platinum recording country music star Luke Bryan will headline the Championship Game Day Fan Zone. Bryan’s performance outside Sun Life Stadium will cap off a day of fun activities for fans. Tickets required."

ND BCS 'Ship Tailgate
Date: Monday, January 7
Time: 1 – 7 p.m. 
Location: Sun Life Stadium Orange Lot West 13
"Epic Game = Epic Tailgate"
(Unofficial Tailgate hosted by students/young alums)

Here's to enjoying the trip, celebrating all that is Notre Dame, and watching the Fightin' Irish take back the throne.  

Dec 17, 2012

Travel Channel Seeks ND SuperFans

Calling all ND SuperFans:

The Travel Channel has sent out the notice pictured below in its search for lucky Fightin' Irish fans to be featured on an upcoming show covering the fan experience at the BCS National Championship.  The application to apply is due December 18, so don't delay in contacting the below email address for your chance to win the Ultimate Fan Experience:

GO IRISH!  Beat 'bama!

Dec 3, 2012

Simple Case for the Hei5man

This morning, I read the most powerfully straight forward case for Manti Te'o to win the Heisman Trophy that I have been able to find amongst the thousands that currently litter the internet.  Here it is below, courtesy of my good friend and current Notre Dame Law School student Alex Blair:

Let's be honest with ourselves, Manti Te'o will not be allowed to win the Heisman. The media that compose the bulk of the Heisman voters is too in love with nicknames, with pizzaz, with magic. 

The Heisman Trophy is supposed to go to "the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity." 

Winners supposedly "epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work." Instead, the trophy should just say "outstanding running back or quarterback." The Heisman has been awarded annually since 1935. Michigan's Charles Woodson was the only defensive player to have won it, but he did so because he also scored touchdowns as a kick returner and a receiver. Ohio State's Orlando Pace was the greatest offensive lineman of all time, but that wasn't enough to overcome some guy named Danny Wuerffel

I could tell you about Te'o's gaudy stats and game-changing plays in each of the biggest games that Notre Dame has played this season, but let's not waste text. Ultimately, they don't matter. The media likes cling to things like total yards as if they reflect individual achievement in football, the most team-centric of sports. 

Johnny Football isn't even the most outstanding football player on his own offense, he's just the easiest to measure. Anyone who has followed Notre Dame knows that without Te'o, the Irish have three losses, probably more. He's the rock not just of the defense, but the entire team. The most outstanding college football player wears No. 5 and plays linebacker for Notre Dame. No player epitomizes ability, diligence, perseverance and hard work like Te'o. 

A vote for Manziel is a vote for everything
the Heisman has become. 

A vote for Te'o is a vote for everything
the Heisman should be. 

Dec 1, 2012

Game Day Pics: ND basketball takes down UK

Notre Dame Basketball wrote another chapter in its storied history of dominating top-ranked teams on its home court this past Thursday, when the Irish ballers upset #8 Kentucky 64-50.  

Photo courtesy of Eileen Veihmeyer
Students and fans packed the "Blacked Out" Joyce Center to the brim, creating a hostile environment led by the Leprechaun Legion and several members of the #1 Notre Dame Football team who stood courtside in support of their fellow student-athletes.

OL Mike Golic Jr. fist pumping like a champion today
a live look at the #1 atop Grace Hall for ND Football
Stephon Tuitt, Prince Shembo, and Mike Golic Jr.
leading the student section
Fighting Irish fan Dickie V
contributing to the HeisManti campaign
ND Football captains Kapron Lewis-Moore and Manti Te'o
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, students stormed the court for the 2nd time in 2 years to congratulate their victorious classmates.

Photo courtesy of Eileen Veihmeyer
Stephon Tuitt and Kapron Lewis-Moore rush the court
students celebrating the win and #1 ranking
Spirits remain high in the land of the Fightin' Irish, as Brey's squad continues to take strides and everyone anxiously awaits the football team's trip from South Bend to South Beach for the BCS National Championship game featuring #1 Notre Dame v. #2 Alabama.  

2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule

2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule
DateOpponent / EventLocationTime / Result
09/01/12vs. Navy Dublin, IrelandW, 50-10
09/08/12vs. PurdontNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-17
09/15/12at SpartyEast Lansing, Mich.W, 20-3
09/22/12vs. SkunkbearsNotre Dame, Ind.W, 13-6
Shamrock Series
10/06/12vs. Da UChicago, Ill.W, 41-3
10/13/12vs. TreesNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-13 (OT)
10/20/12vs. BYU Notre Dame, Ind.W, 17-14
10/27/12at Oklahoma Norman, Okla.W, 30-13
11/03/12vs. Pittsburgh Notre Dame, Ind.W, 29-26 (3OT)
11/10/12at Backup College Chestnut Hill, Mass.W, 21-6
11/17/12vs. Fake Worest Notre Dame, Ind.W, 38-0
11/24/12at U$C Los Angeles, Calif.W, 22-13
1/7/13vs. AlabamaBCS CHAMPIONSHIP
(Miami, Florida)
L, :(