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Standing in the Rain

Oct 16, 2012, 5:44 PM EDT


Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame

There are a few things you should know about me. First, I hate rain, but only when I’m in it. Second, I love football. I mean that I have a deep burning passion in my gut for watching the game. Third, I’m never going to forget October 13, 2012.

When I saw the weather forecast, I was dreading the rain predicted for game day. I mean, who wouldn’t be? Does anyone enjoy standing outside while water bullets hit you in the face and blind you, then soak your clothes making you feel like a human washcloth? Maybe those people do exist, but I’m not one of them.

If you saw the game you know that it was a little rocky. It actually made me sick to my stomach a few times and I was light-headed from yelling so much. #SuperfanProblems

It had its good moments, too. Boy, do I love our defense. I’m going to start calling them, “The Wall.”

When Kyle Brindza kicked a field goal to tie the game at 13 and send it into overtime, I had so many emotions. I quickly went from excited to stressed to hysterical to nervous to feeling like I was having a heart attack. I think my lifespan lost a nice chunk because of that.

By that ‘fifth quarter, my voice was halfway to Timbuktu, I looked like a frizzy-haired prune, and I was trembling. So I just sort of stood there, biting my finger, praying, and hoping for the best. God then answered my prayer. And I actually cried.

And stormed the field. I never, ever do anything insane. I’m such a by-the-book goody-two-shoes, and I never would have imagined myself running down 31 rows in section 34 and jumping over people to get onto the field. But I did.

I stood there in the pouring rain, screaming the rest of my voice away. I couldn’t differentiate between teardrops and raindrops. I was crying because one year ago, two days before the Stanford game, my grandmother passed away. Mary Gonzalez (maiden name O’Connor) was a life-long Fighting Irish fan and she passed her love for the team down to me. Every game, I look up at the sky and know she’s watching her Irish (her Irish eyes are smiling) and she’s proud of them whether they win or they lose. She would have been so happy, and knowing that made me happy.

And the good didn’t end there.

After the game, I had the pleasure of meeting several football players, one of whom I’m still not 100% sure I actually did meet: Manti Te’o and his parents. It was so surreal that I thought I might have been imagining it. About a month ago, I wrote “Plei Like A Champion,” an article about him. Getting to meet the man who inspired thousands of people to come together for one cause was something in itself. It was truly astonishing. I couldn’t have asked for a better end to an amazing day. I could never have wished for a more amazing start to my freshman year of college.

Even a few days later, I look back on that night. I stood there, soaking wet, content with my life. At that moment, I didn’t care what happened. Notre Dame is still undefeated. I’m still head-over-heels in love with football. But now, I suppose I don’t hate standing in the rain as much as I used to.

  1. a68domer - Oct 18, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    Love it, Anna! For those of us watching on National TV, we lived vicariously thru you on that night. I would have given anything to have stood in the rain ’til the finish and then stormed the field. Great article and THANKS!

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