My name is Tommy King and I am a Notre Dame-aholic (as well as the new lead blogger of SlaptheSign.com). I was born and currently reside in Massachusetts, but I mysteriously fell in love with Notre Dame football. I used to think Rudy turned me into a Notre Dame fanatic, but the story I’ll soon tell you happened before Rudy came out in theaters. I fell in love with the gold helmets, Touchdown Jesus, and the awe-inspring Notre Dame Stadium. Rudy just deepened my addiction.
I fully admit (and bemoan) missing out on the beautifil history and tradition of Notre Dame football, but I still have a deep and abiding love for the Blue and Gold. I wasn’t alive for the glory days of Ara Parseghian or Dan Devine. I wasn’t even alive for Notre Dame’s last national championship in 1988. I grew up with Lou Holtz and then, unfortunately, Bob Davie. Yet, somehow, I still live and die with every first down, every touchdown, every game. I still get the shakes on the rare event I have to miss a game. If that doesn’t say something about my devotion to Notre Dame, then this story surely will.
My older cousin Billy loves to tell people how much I love Notre Dame by telling them a story of a night he babysitted me. My parents were going out for dinner and a movie, so they called my teenage cousin to watch me while they were out. Billy figured he’d have his girlfriend over for a night of making out and watching tv.
What Billy didn’t know was that undefeated Notre Dame was taking on a plucky, upset-minded Boston College team that night. Surely, you know what happened. I was four, but I still remember that moment clearly. Boston College kicker David Gordon (ok, I had to look that part up) nailed a last-second, game-winning 41-yard field goal, beating Notre Dame for the first time ever and destroying any hopes of a national title.
Poor Billy, living in western Massacusetts, had the audacity to cheer when BC hit the field goal. Boston College was the local team and they were the underdog. Most people were rooting for them. But not me. I had been biting my lip, holding back tears, but when Billy and his girlfriend hooted for the Eagles, I lost it. I began wailing, at the same time running around the living room, screaming unspeakable obscenities. Remember, I was only four at the time, yet I sprayed out curse words that would make Kevin Garnett blush (forgive me, the Boston Celtics are my other passion). Red-faced and teary-eyed, I punched Billy, spazzing out like George Brett after the umpire found pine tar on his bat.
Billy was just sixteen and had never seen a kid throw a temper tantrum like that. He didn’t know what to do so he called my parents, explaining the situation and asking for advice. After hearing the story, my dad responded, “Tommy loves Notre Dame.”
I loved Notre Dame as a heartbroken, spastic four year old, and I love Notre Dame as fully to this day. A lifetime of heartache and a tarnished legacy haven’t changed that. Bob Davie, Ty Willingham, and Charlie Weiss couldn’t change that.
I love Notre Dame. I’m addicted to Notre Dame. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.