Sep 6, 2012, 5:46 PM EST
It’s Thursday afternoon before the first home football game of the season, and campus is abuzz, as we’re less than 48 hours from kickoff in Notre Dame Stadium.
As always, there’s a lot going on over the next couple of days – too much, in fact for you to take in during one trip to South Bend. If it’s your first Notre Dame football weekend, here are my thoughts on what you should make it a point to attend:
7:00 pm, Coach Kelly Radio Show – The first live Coach Kelly Radio Show of the year will be held tonight at Legends of Notre Dame. You can also watch it live on UND.com or tune in locally to WSBT 960 AM.
10:00 am, ND Stadium Tunnel Tour – The same tunnel that Holtz, Parseghian, Ismail, Montana and the countless other Irish greats walked down. It’s open until 5:00 pm, except during Purdue’s walkthrough, so be sure to check it out. As awesome as it is to see the stadium full of 80,795 fans, it’s equally special to see the calm serenity of the House That Rockne Built – the calm before Saturday’s storm.
1:00 pm, Campus Tour – The Eck Vistors Center has an organized campus tour, but if you’ve got some time, it’s also fun to just explore Notre Dame’s 1,250 acres for yourself.
4:00 pm, Trumpets Under The Dome – Finish your tour at the Grotto, and head over to the Main Building for the awe-inspiring trumpet performance.
6:00 pm, Pep Rally – The first pep rally of the season will be held in a unique location this year – outside of the Rockne Memorial Building on South Quad. There will be appearances from the leprechaun, Band of the Fighting Irish and cheerleading squad, and Coach Kelly and the team will also stop by. Who knows, there might also be a special guest or two.
7:30 pm, Men’s Soccer vs. Oregon State – Head coach Bobby Clark’s squad is off to a 3-0-0 start, and is hosting the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament this weekend. Alumni Stadium should be electric.
12:00 am, Midnight Drummer’s Circle – Better get there early for this one. Some fans start gathering outside the Main Building more than an hour before the drumline arrives. It’s well worth it, and perhaps no pre-game event will get you more ready for Saturday.
10:00 am, LaBar Practice Field Open House – Take a look at the practice complex where the Irish put in their work throughout the season. Stop by any time before 2:00 pm.
10:00 am, The Notre Dame Experience presented by Ford – New for the 2012 season, the Joyce Center Fieldhouse hosts this fanfest event, which will be open until approximately 30 minutes before kickoff.
11:30 am, Bagpipe Band Concert – One of the unique aspects of a Notre Dame game day, stop by outside the Main Building. On your way, grab a burger or brat from one of the many concession stands supporting Notre Dame’s residence halls and student groups, or grab a legendary steak sandwich outside the Knights of Columbus building on South Quad.
1:00 pm, Glee Club Pre-Game Concert – Outside the Hesburgh Library Reflecting Pool, the sweet tunes of Notre Dame’s gentlemen.
1:30 pm, Player Walk – After their final team meeting, the Irish will walk as a team from the Guglielmino Athletics Complex, down Library Quad and into Notre Dame Stadium through the Knute Rockne Gate. Thousands will line the quad, and this one should not be missed.
2:00 pm, Marching Band Concert – The Notre Dame Marching Band performs on the steps of Bond Hall, before breaking up into instrument sections and preparing for the march to the stadium.
2:30 pm, Irish Guard Inspection – Before they clear the path for the band’s march to the stadium, members of the Irish Guard are inspected for duty. Standing roughly seven feet tall in full uniform, the guardsmen must remain stoic and silent throughout the inspection.
3:30 pm, Kickoff – If you missed Trumpets Under The Dome on Friday, check it out at 2:30 pm in the Main Building, but otherwise, I’d suggest heading to the stadium and getting ready for sixty minutes of Notre Dame football.
30 minutes after the game – The Basilica will fill up quickly, so go to one of the many residence hall Masses – Alumni, Dillon, Keough, Morrissey, Ryan, Siegfried and Sorin – for the prayerful experience of Sunday night for Notre Dame students.
Following Mass – Both North and South Dining Hall host Candlelight Dinners after home games. They pull out all the stops. It’s delicious.
2:15 pm, Men’s Soccer vs. Akron - The Irish wrap-up the weekend in the conclusion of the Berticelli Tournament. If you missed Friday’s game and are still on campus, check out Coach Clark’s team in action at Alumni Stadium.
As you can tell, there’s a lot going on, and this doesn’t even touch on the fun you can have outside the officially scheduled events (ex. tailgating). For more information, check out the Gameday website and pick up one of the Notre Dame Alumni Association’s Gridiron Guides, which will be available all over campus.
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