by Mike Coffey
As the late great Mike Royko once said, some things you wonder, some things you think, and some things you just know. This week, though, there’s only one thing I know: being an ND grad is better than having been graduated from any other school, because no matter where you go, you’ve got your people. And when Carlo Calabrese graduates, they’ll be his people too.
My wife and I are on a long-deferred vacation to recharge the batteries. With the progeny safely in the care of my in-laws at our house (sorry to disappoint all you house-robbing bad guys out there), I piggy-backed on Mrs. Kabong’s trip to Orlando for a conference, and then the two of us made the 200-mile drive south to Ft. Lauderdale for the long weekend.
In between boat tours of millionaire homes, a look at the world’s largest in-water boat show being put together, and some paddle boarding lessons, there was a game what needed to be watched. I could have sat in the hotel room and alternated my yelling at the screen with looks out the window at the ocean. But yelling at the screen by yourself isn’t nearly as fun as doing it with groups of people. Besides, my wife keeps looking at me funny whenever I yell, and I figure if other people are doing it too, I have safety in numbers.
So yesterday we found ourselves at Maguire’s Hill 16 with a couple dozen fellow Irish grads and fans. It was 7-0 Irish when we left the hotel, but 14-7 Cougars by the time we got there, so I’ll make sure never to be in a cab during an ND game again — obviously that’s a problem. The Guinness and conversation flowed freely for the second half and beyond, and both of us got to meet new friends (Brendan & Elizabeth) and see old ones (Scoop80).
There are a lot of schools I could have attended if I’d wished. But I doubt I could have watched them play football yesterday with a group of fellow alums in a strange city just by sending an email or two. And that, quoth Robert Frost, has made all the difference. People talk about the “Notre Dame family”, but it’s a lot more than talk — it manifests itself in many ways, including this one, and is well worth putting the snark on the back burner for a week.
My thanks to the Notre Dame Club of Fort Lauderdale, especially David Haimes for the gracious invitation. If the Fighting Irish end up in the national title game, we’ll all be back down here to celebrate, so stay thirsty, my friends.