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  • Wonder, Think & Know: Golden Pla … er, Dome Edition

    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.

    6 Responses to “Wonder, Think & Know: Golden Pla … er, Dome Edition”

    1. John Hargrove says:

      Mike: Like you and your wife, my wife and I were engaged in a little R&R in Hawaii. While cruising the North Shore of Oahu, we stopped at the famous Giovanni’s white shrimp truck for lunch. My wife was wearing her green IRISH t-shirt and the young man behind the counter immediately volunteered that he had played football against Manti Teo in HS. He told us that he lived nearby. My wife immediately started her quest to find Manti’s home, which she did in short order. There it was… a quiet neighborhood flying a Blue and Gold NOTRE DAME flag proudly. We refrained from knocking on the door,knowing that Manti’s family was at Notre Dame for the week. The find made our day.
      /s John Hargrove ’64

    2. So true. I’ve had conversations started with alums on airplanes who recognize “the ring” and introduce themselves.

      My wife and I just returned from a trip on Friday, and had to pick-up “her cat,” Mia, from the Petco Cat Condo. On the way out of the store – Mia in tow – a guy looked at me and asked: “Who’s going to win the game tomorrow?” (“Where did that come from,” I thought. I forgot that I was wearing a Notre Dame pullover.) “We are!” I instinctively replied.

      No matter where you go, we are marked men and women. And wherever we go, we’re reminded where we come from.

    3. Bocceman2 says:

      Mike, there are tens of thousands of fans without the ND pedigree that love the University as passionately as any graduate. I went to Catholic grade school for eight years and every time we had an assembly, the parish priest would always make us stand and sing the ND fight song before the opening prayer. My Dad could have easily been Mr Ruttiger, there was no other football team but Notre Dame.
      We subway alumns know the history, the traditons, and values that are ND. Most of all, we are proud of the school that honors Our Lady.
      I will always respect the hard work and dedication of an ND graduate, but the many who never had the chance to go there love Her one the less and we all should enjoy that special bond.

    4. Kevin Byrnes says:


      This weekend was one of the more enjoyable ones at ND that I’ve had in a long time: game on Saturday; then I sang (as an invited choir alum) at the 10 o’clock mass in the Basilica, an event that had me reconnecting with an alum from my era and meeting a lot of new people, young and old; then I spent a few hours just walking around campus, in an upbeat mood with camera in hand, and met many interesting groups. including the parents of BYU’s #6 who (his father claimed) stopped Wood’s attempt at a touchdown on our last drive. Campus was beautiful in gold and reds, sunny, with just-right balmy October weather. When I got back to Long Beach I regaled my Dad with my exploits, and he smiled and said, “hasn’t you decision all those years ago to go to Notre Dame just been one of the most satisfying things in your life?” He was right!

    5. Tony Scordo says:

      Lou’s quote in his farewell speech to the students after his last game 15 years ago was “wherever you go, and whatever you do you’ll always be a golden domer” and truer words were never spoken.

    6. Being in the Navy and an ND alum I am always amazed at how many domers I keep running into who are doing so many incredible things. I have yet to be a place in the US where ND alums/fans haven’t made a footprint and there is honestly no school that has an alum base as passionate as us.

      Go Irish, beat Sooners