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Irish in Oklahoma: The Decision

Oct 30, 2012, 2:41 PM EST

The traveling fanatics! Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium was beautiful. (But doesn't even compare to Rockne's House.) The traveling fanatics! Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium was beautiful. (But doesn't even compare to Rockne's House.)

Spur-of-the-moment decisions are not my thing. I like to plan things out, make lists, feel organized, and not worry.

My decision to travel 879 miles to Norman, Okla. for a football game was not planned at all. It started with my friend Sarah. Her brother told her that he was going to OU for the game and he had an extra ticket, so she decided to meet him there. She told my other friend, Rachel, and I that she was going and told us that we should go with her so she wouldn’t have to make the 15-ish hour drive all by herself.

Having just returned home from Wichita, Kan. for fall break, I was hesitant. I wasn’t thrilled by the thought of an at-least 13-hour commute three weekends in a row, but I thought about it. I was sitting in class one day, and thought, “Wow. I really want to go to Norman.” That was the moment my mind was made up and there was no changing it.

I “had” to call my parents to make sure it was okay with them. Whether they said yes or no didn’t really matter. I am an adult, after all, who is quite capable of making decisions for herself. The problem was funding the trip. I’d have to help pitch in for gas, tolls and hotel, buy meals, and obviously get a ticket. Fortunately, I made good decisions in high school, gained my parents full trust, and they told me that they’d help out. (Thanks, Mom and Dad. Love you!)

The first thing I did when the trip became official was what any social-media addict does with news. I tweeted. “Guess who’s heading to Norman this weekend! #bestfreshmanyearever”

Then I realized that I should probably start looking for a ticket. I had heard most were going for around $1,000, which is an amount of money I would never have been able to spend on a football ticket. Hope was dim. And then I got a text from a friend telling me about some tickets that he “might not use,” and in the event that he didn’t, Rachel and I could have them. On Tuesday evening, I got a text: “Tickets are all yours.” We flipped. “I’m actually going to the game,” I thought.

All arrangements were made in a matter of days, and on Friday just hours before our departure, I was interviewed by WSBT for a story about students making the trip to Oklahoma. “What do you hope for the game?” was one of the questions I was asked. I basically told the reporter that, obviously, I wanted Notre Dame to win, but if we were to lose to any team this season, Oklahoma was the most worthy opponent. I just wanted to see Notre Dame put up a good fight. At least. (Hindsight makes this all so much sweeter.)

After a biology lecture, math lesson, and macroeconomics test, we were off. Oklahoma, here we come!

The drive from South Bend to Norman is very boring. I’ve made the trip from Wichita to Chicago several times in my life, and it’s always the same thing: flat and long. The trip to Norman is just as flat and even longer. (I did get to see the St. Louis Arch for the first and second times ever though. That was the high point of the drive.)

We left at almost the exact same time as the football team. We saw on Twitter that they landed when we were around Normal, Illinois. At that point, I wished the car could sprout wings and fly to Oklahoma, but Sarah, Rachel, and I were going to make the most of the road trip.

But while I’m on the subject, I’m just going to point out that road trips in movies are made out to be so much more fun than road trips actually are. Maybe that’s because we didn’t have a convertible and the sky wasn’t playing Rascal Flatts’ version of Life is a Highway. My expectations were set too high.

South Bend. Chicago. Springfield. St. Louis. Other Springfield. Tulsa.

Finally, at 4:30 am, we arrived in Oklahoma City. The 14 hours in a car didn’t even phase me. (This was a true YOLO life-experience.) After four hours of sleep, we were up and getting ready to head to campus.

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