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The _cow_ made of our butter? That's how I like my irony served, my friend

I invented the question mark.

Tim left on Friday.

Bon Voyage, Tim!

My promotion party was this past Friday evening after work at the Officer's Club here at Ft. H. It was a joint party with Charlotte R. from work (she got promoted to GS-12), which made the price quite bearable.

A whole bunch of people showed up from work, including some of my contractors, as well as a small number of random outside friends. Much food and drink was had, including a really big friggen' cake. A party is not a party without a big friggen' cake that has your name on it.

Saturday, I went to Julia's to watch the ND game. Woof -- what an ugly game. Our defense was good, but our offense still needs work.

That's ok -- it's a rebuilding season, and such learning experiences are to be expected.

Afterwards, I went to John and Monica's. I showed John the goodness of PHP. We later went to the Sierra Vista Oktoberfest on Saturday evening. Much beer. Much good conversation. Then more beer.

I started wearing my new glasses on Sunday evening.

Hello trees! Hello leaves! Hello distant road signs! Hello squirrel crossing the road...[WAH-THUMP-THUMP].

Er... whoops.

The following story is from Love Thee, Notre Dame II, stories collected by Larry Wentz, '59, from the Philadelphia Notre Dame alumni club. I actually wrote this story about 6-8 years ago, but I just saw it in print for the first time a few weeks ago.

January 1, 1990, just before my second semester at the University of Notre Dame. I was down south at the Orange Bowl representing my school before a sellout audience. Granted, I was sitting amongst over 250 other people who were dressed exactly like me, and also representing Notre Dame, but I felt special anyway.

The Orange Bowl is roughly shaped like a giant "U". The ticket sellers had seen fit to seat the Notre Dame fans on the right side of the U, and the Colorado fans on the left. Even my parents were up in the stands (somewhere). I dimly remember how my dad, an Irish Guardsman from the early 60's, had practically forced me to try out for the band when I had arrived on campus only a few months before. "Join the band, see the world!," the upperclassmen had said. Well, here I was, seeing sunny Florida. Not exactly the world, but who can turn down a free week in Florida in December, with free admission to our bowl game to boot!

NBC, of course, had the contract for this game. My fellow trombone players and I had yelled an obnoxious hello to NBC sportscaster, Bob Costas, across the field as he took his place in NBC's field-side broadcasting tent. "Nice tie, Bob!" We were rewarded with shrug, and adjustment of his tie, and a wave. We all felt special.

We were filing out of the bleacher seats and down onto the field for the pre-game show. Band members milled around like worker ants, everyone trying to get to their assigned locations behind the goal posts of the near end zone. The Band Gods had decided that we would play the pre-game show, and that Colorado's band would play the halftime show. NBC would tape them both, and assumedly, splice them together for a veritable battle of the bands for those going-to-commercial segues.

Finally we all got into our places, lined up perfectly straight (hah!) rows, standing at attention, ready to charge onto the field. Our entrance was twofold; at the drum major's whistle command, we would take the field with the traditional Irish "Trot." For those of you who've never had the pleasure, trotting is basically leaning back as far as you can (without falling over), holding your instrument out in front of you, and running forward while kicking your knees up as high as they can do, all the while ensuring that you don't run into the person in front of you. Not an activity for the squeamish.

Once we trotted up to the twenty-yard line, the plan was to halt and wait for a second whistle blast from the drum major, signaling that NBC was now filming and we could go one with the show.

The first whistle blast came. The drums started their cadence. The band trotted onto the field. The front ranks stopped on the twenty, and the entire company halted, waiting for the NBC cue.

The Notre Dame side of the stadium absolutely erupted with cheering, screaming, and the fans generally going bazonkers. It was an absolutely amazing feeling; 50 gabillion people were completely enthralled to see us take the field.

The NBC guy with the headphones appeared to be fiddling with his wires and didn't look ready to give us a cue, so the Colorado fans, not to be outdone, started their own school cheers on their side of the stadium. An impromptu shouting match broke out between the two sides of the Orange Bowl: "WE ARE .. ND!" ... "WE ARE ... ND!" (I have no idea what the Colorado fans said.)

Standing there somewhere around the 10 yard line as an 18 year old freshman was quite an amazing experience. I will never forget the sheet magnitude of sound from the Notre Dame side of the stadium when we took the field; I had never heard anything so loud in my life. I just stood there (panting from the trot) and absorbed the noise from our fans.

What seemed like years later, the drum major's whistle screech brought me back to reality. Instruments went up, and the band began to play. The previous ear-shattering road from the Notre Dame fans turned into a mind-numbing explosion of cheering and shouting when we started playing. I seem to recall the Colorado fans were pretty quiet at this point.

I truthfully don't remember much of the show, but I do remember a T.V. camera following me around for almost a full minute. I was so nervous that it was probably the worst playing I had ever done in my life. I scrambled to stay in line, keep in step, and play my music, although I don't know if I ever managed to do all three simultaneously.

I'm sure we finished the show with the traditional Notre Dame fight song, and then ran off to the sidelines, lest we get pummeled by the football players taking the field. What I clearly remember, though, is that the fans were screaming and cheering the whole time. I don't think I ever made 50,000 people feel happy at once, nor do I think that I will be able to do so again. But I know that this freshman performance certainly is one of my favorite memories from my days in the Band of the Fighting Irish.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 10, 2002 10:32 PM.

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