I have never been a particular fan of college football (or pro football, for that matter--baseball is my bag). During the five years I lived in Baton Rouge (1989-1994) I attended two LSU games. Both times the Tigers got their clock cleaned, and they had five fully dismal seasons during my Louisiana sojourn. By that measure, the future does not look too bright for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, because, deo volente, I'm planning on being in the area for quite some time, along with my awesome powers to jinx athletic teams, both those to whom I have a passionate attachment (just ask the Cubs), and those in whom I merely have a passing interest (the Cleveland Indians of recently blessed memory).
At any rate, one of the rites of passage for a new naturalized Hoosier is to experience Notre Dame football, so the Dragonfly and I were pleased to accept an invitation from a friend and his wife to attend last Saturday's contest between the Irish and the University of Southern California Trojans. The friend is a USC alum, so even though he lives in South Bend and controls four season tickets for Notre Dame home games, he was there in his "cardinal and gold" regalia. I attempted to be studiously neutral in my attire, and once in the stands (bleachers, actually, with seat number markings devised in an era when Americans were generally of substantially less girth than is the average today), I decided to root for whichever team had possession of the ball.
During the second quarter, however, I was forced to abandon that strategy, as Notre Dame never kept possession for very long, and their punter was given quite a few more chances to shine than a punter normally hopes for from one game, and his foot is probably still under ice. Late in the fourth quarter, trailing 38-0, the Irish offense (playing, no doubt, against the third-string Trojan defense) finally managed to string some first downs together and produce something resembling a scoring threat. Dragonfly earnestly cheered for Notre Dame, on behalf of "all the players' Moms." But with five seconds left on the clock, the quarterback threw the ball right at at member of the SC defense, and he was obliged to intercept it.
The detail in the experience that will long make me crack a smile, however, is the T-shirt I saw on a Notre Dame coed at one of the tailgate parties we crossed on our way into the stadium: "Catholics have no use for Trojans."