What Items Should Be Part of the Ideal ND Football Weekend Experience
1. Thursday night Dinner at Maury’s Pub (the former Pat’s Colonial Pub), in Mishawaka. Tell Maury that I sent you. The food is great. The ambience is wonderful. Maury is a great guy and big ND supporter. Friday’s and Saturday’s are even better, but you better get your reservation months in advance. If you like hearing the Fight Song played 10-15 times while you’re eating; this is the place. 574/259-8282.
2. Augie’s Locker Room, 2036 South Bend Avenue, right across from Martins (which is a great place to stock up for your tailgating needs, by the way). Augie has some great ND memorabilia to sell and some great memorabilia just to display and he’s always fun to chat with about the Irish. 574/277-NDND. He enjoys talking with ND fans.
3. Friday midnight Drummers’ Circle on the steps of the Dome. Even though I am required to be at the Stadium at 6:30 or so, I try never to miss this 40-minute “concert”. It really kicks off the spirit for the weekend.
4. Buying brats from students, somewhere in Main Quad. The Knights of Columbus stand is a good one.
5. Band Concert at Bond Hall, on Saturday morning.
6. Player walk from the Basilica to the Stadium, a couple hours before kickoff.
7. Bookstore book signings on Saturday morning.
8. Bookstore sections for ND books and books by Alumni authors.
9. Glee Club singers in Bookstore, right after the game.
10. Frequent Soccer/Hockey contests on home Fridays and Saturdays.
11. Visit to the Eck Visitor Center. Pick up their handout on the weekend’s activities.
There are also a lot of campus locations to visit:
1. First floor of the Main Building to read all the plaques on the Wall of Honor.
2. Second floor of the Main Building to see the wonderful Gregori paintings of Columbus.
3. Second floor of the Main Building to see the rotunda painting and the glass display case in the back.
4. The plaque, on the spot where Fr. Sorin founded Notre Dame, just east of Old College, has a copy of the letter he sent back to France a couple weeks after he arrived at this location. Read about his vision for Notre Dame.
5. The Grotto, including the Dr. Tom Dooley statue and copy of his final letter to Fr. Hesburgh. Google him if you do not know his story. Buy one of the books he authored.
6. Fair Catch Corby. Google him to learn about Fr. Corby’s work with the Irish Brigade during the Civil War.
7. Take the path from the Grotto to the Stations of the Cross. Follow them to the end. Be VERY surprised at what you find in the woods at the end of the Stations. When you leave, continue into the woods, going out the path to your left. You will come out on St. Mary’s Road, right across the street from “The Community Cemetery”, where all the CSC Priests and Brothers are buried. Head towards the large crucifix at the south end. See who is there. Note the names of some of these wonderful people who helped build Notre Dame. Note the numbers who served in various wars, back to the Civil War era.
8. Hayes-Healy-Hurley building, across from the Law School. I like the large globe in the lobby.
9. LaFortune Student Center. For the food and the photos on the walls.
10. Heritage Hall of the Joyce Center has a lot of great display cases of ND sports success.
11. The Lobby of the Gug has the Heisman Trophies; the Four Horseman Statue; and some interesting stuff to see.
12. The first floor of the Knute Rockne Memorial has Knute’s bust and its shiny, brass nose, from all the people who have rubbed it.
13. “God, Country, and Notre Dame” carving on the east side of the Basilica. A great reminder. Buy Fr. Ted’s book by that name. If you like it, buy his Travels with Ted and Ned.
14. Basilica tour. If there are no ceremonies going on, a tour of the Basilica is very instructive.
15. Legends is a good spot to eat.
I have started to give some thought to my next Notre Dame sports book. Here’s a few teasers………..
Notre Dame has had three prominent Pro Wrestlers. All have been “Champions” at one time or another.
Zibby is not our only professional heavyweight boxer. A former Notre Dame All Time NFL Great once fought a future World Champion.
Which former Bengal Bout Heavyweight boxing champions played NFL football?
Notre Dame has had 82 players in Major League Baseball, dating back to 1871. We have an 83rd player knocking on the door to make it up to the New York Unmentionables.
Several ND QB’s have played on Championship Bookstore Basketball Teams.
An NFL Stadium and a Major League Baseball Team take their names from ND men.
One of the all time great PGA golfers, started at ND, but left, telling A.D. Frank Leahy it was too cold.
A great, untold story is the number of ND men who have made contributions to the NBA and its forerunner leagues. There has been only one good book about this topic (Hooping it Up, by Tim Nealy). I have been working on a second one.
When the all time great college football teams are mentioned, one of Notre Dame’s best is always overlooked. Which one and why?
Which ND athletes earned the most varsity letters?
Which ND athletes played the most different varsity sports?
I will be writing more in this direction after I have been able to get my soon-to-be-hired replacement through his transition period.