Oct 4, 2013, 7:51 PM EDT
Light rain started falling as the buses pulled away from the Gug. Notre Dame Football was heading towards South Bend Airport for our first “leaving on a jet plane” road trip of the year, and the players were suited up in their adidas Shamrock Series gear. On social media, tweets and Facebook posts from Notre Dame staff already in Texas were filling up our newsfeeds, but we still had a 2 ½ hour flight ahead of us.
The flight was relatively smooth, with the laughter of the players watching “The Internship,” and one rather big bump, providing some break from the quiet that comes with team travel. But once we stepped off the plan at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport, the excitement started. We drove about 25 minutes to AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, and made our way through underground tunnels that felt dark and a bit claustrophobic. Fans and Arizona State staff were in the various hallways and pressed against the walls, as our buses came through.
First stop was the locker room to settle in, but then we headed out to the main attraction, the field with the larger-than-life jumbotron. As the players headed out from the tunnel, awe spread across their faces as they took in the massive arena. Immediately, the jumbotron came to life, putting the faces of the players on the screen. Cell phone cameras came out of pockets to capture the action. When the majority of the team was on the field, we were treated to a sneak peak of the intro video, created by the Big Screen Network, as well as the in-game entertainment pieces they had created for tomorrow. To say that the intro video will give you chills is an understatement. The team broke out into applause once it had finished. It’s an intro that is more than fitting for this type of game, in this type of stadium.
As walkthrough finished, we started to head back to the buses, when Coach Kelly called everyone back. “Let’s get a team picture,” he said, and he started hustling the players into lines. As he stepped back, the guys called for him to get into the picture, and he ran in. Cameras, cell phones, and video cameras all took in the moment. “Let’s get a big ‘Go Irish!’ Coach Kelly said, and with that, the jumbotron caught the moment on screen.
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