Jan 6, 2013, 7:40 PM EDT
Tomorrow is the day.
At the beginning of the season, I said I felt like the night before the Navy game felt like Christmas Eve. I tossed and turned all night, worrying and wondering what this season would bring. There is absolutely nothing in my life to compare Sunday night to–nothing could have prepared me for this.
It’s been a long month–a test of endurance of my own, if you will. When I went home for Christmas, it was to face many high school friends bitter about Missouri’s first season in the SEC and determined to tell me how their conference was going to crush my team.
“I’m sorry but you guys are going to get killed.”
“It’s going to be hilarious.”
“Notre Dame doesn’t stand a chance.”
And I just smiled and shrugged like I have all season. I didn’t want to break that pattern, because having silent faith in my team hasn’t let me down yet.
“We’ll see,” is all I said. And we will.
It is somewhat shocking to be in a place so warm and see so many Notre Dame fans. I’ve been in Miami for less than 24 hours and this place already seems like South Bend on a home game weekend. I can’t walk half a block through Miami without spotting someone in ND apparel. When we see each other, we shout “Go Irish!” Today on the beach, I lined up with other fans to get my picture taken in an ND jersey. A man in a Notre Dame hat agreed to take a picture of us in the ocean this afternoon.
All these fans, like me, have come here to say that they believe. We will see. We will see.
Yesterday, as my friends and I were driving across the Tampa Bay, I took in the perfect Florida weather. The water stretched out seemingly forever in either direction. And I couldn’t help but replay every moment that had gotten us here. Biting off all my fingernails during the Michigan State game. Dancing after the Michigan game. Yelling ourselves hoarse during the final stand against Stanford. Nearly crying as the Pitt field goal attempt sailed wide. Rushing to Stonehenge after we beat Oklahoma, still too scared to dream for a national championship but doing it anyway.
My friends were laughing and singing along to our road trip playlist, and I realized I would never be grateful enough to Notre Dame for bringing us here. Here to Florida, to Miami, to this beautiful tropical place in January, but more importantly, here to this experience, these memories, this laughter and this happiness with so many people that I love. I couldn’t imagine ever being more full of joy than I am right now.
Although come tomorrow night, I might be able to find a little more room.
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