By Liam Farrell ’04
Senior Alumni Editor
After a more than two-decade wait to play in the national championship game, there was bound to be some pent-up demand in the Notre Dame family to come and cheer on the team in Miami.
If last night’s pep rally was any indication, it may have exceeded even lofty expectations.
Thousands upon thousands of Irish fans descended on South Beach, perched on shoulders and tiptoed on dunes, to catch a glimpse of the star-studded lineup used to pump up the Notre Dame faithful for tomorrow’s game against the Alabama Crimson Tide.
“Everyone wanted to doubt us, week in and week out,” said ESPN host and former Notre Dame football player Mike Golic ’85, who has two sons on the current squad. “(The players) are so focused. Now it is time to put it together, one more time.”
The fans were entertained by both the Notre Dame Marching Band and the Notre Dame Cheerleaders, who led the crowd in traditional chants and songs that echoed into the comfortable Miami air.
Speakers included comedian Martin Short, who has had sons attend the University, and Pat Terrell ’90 and Tony Rice ’90, both members of the 1988 football team that last brought the ultimate prize to South Bend.
“I am so hyped right now, I think I can play,” Rice said.
Joe Theismann ’71 said the current conversations around the game and plaudits for Alabama remind him of the 1971 Cotton Bowl, when Notre Dame beat top-ranked Texas.
“We’re here to serve notice. We are going to show you what an Independent looks like on Monday night,” Theismann said. “Alabama, I hope you are listening, because we are coming for you.”
The loudest ovation of the night, however, was reserved for Coach Lou Holtz, who was greeted by the band playing the “1812 Overture” and thousands of pairs of L-shaped hands moving in unison.
“It’s really great to have Notre Dame back on top where it belongs,” Holtz said. “Do not underestimate our Lady on the Dome.”
More events surrounding the Discover BCS National Championship continue today, including a service project with Notre Dame and Alabama volunteers. The fans will join together to help transform a block in downtown Miami into a vegetable garden.
For more information and fun, check back with myNotreDame throughout the weekend and stay current with the Alumni Association with @GoIrish on Twitter and on Facebook.
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