Okay, I know most people would write about “sights” first, but I’ve always liked shaking things up a bit!
From the peace and calm of the Basilica and the Grotto to the wail of sirens, the screams of fans, and the blare of the Band, Notre Dame is a sea of sounds over a home football weekend.
- The Grotto. How many universities in this country have their very own “prayer-place” where the silence weighs heavily despite the throngs nearby?
- The Basilica. Commonly referred to as the “wedding factory” because of the sheer volume of weddings it hosts (never on football Saturdays, though!), the Basilica of the Sacred Heart is where the entire football team and coaching staff go — clad in suits and ties — before home games.
- St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s Lakes. Complete with a real swimming swan, no less.
- The circle. Plenty of benches to rest you, fat squirrels to entertain you, shade to cool you (but, with temps hovering in the 50s and 60s, that certainly wasn’t necessary!)
- Campus tours. Led by students who walk backwards while carrying on a running commentary, these are a great way to see campus and hear some interesting tidbits of the past and the present.
- Bagpipe Band. Comprised of kilt-wearing students, this group parades around campus playing bagpipes and drums; they also hold a short concert on the morning of a home game.
- Band of the Fighting Irish. Approximately 400-strong, this group is the heart and spirit of the University! Some of their traditions for football weekends include Trumpets in the Dome, a Concert on the Steps of the architecture building, march-outs around campus, as well as pregame, half-time, and post-game performances.
- Clarke Memorial Fountain. AKA ‘Stonehenge,’ this limestone fountain features water splashing into a black granite pool; no matter the temps, you can find swimsuit-clad students (mostly males) with immense plastic blow-up rafts and other water toys awaiting the Band’s arrival and cheering wildly.
- Leprechaun. Yes, a student chosen as the green-suited, acrobatic leprechaun to help the cheerleaders keep the noise pulsating before, during, and after games.
- Fans. Dads playing an impromptu game of catch with their young sons, moms helping paint their daughters’ fingernails alternating colors of navy and gold, students running to and fro chattering excitedly, fans of the opposing team arriving and people actually being polite and nice to the visitors.
- The Stadium. You just can’t help hearing “the Echos” of past generations in tradition-rich cheers, chants, and ceremonies — the blessing the players receive in the tunnel before the game, the singing of “America the Beautiful,” the raising of the American Flag, the playing of numerous school songs, and the singing of the Alma Mater at the conclusion, when the entire football team proceeds to the student section, links arms, and sways from side to side!
I’ll continue reminiscing tomorrow!