Yesterday was the Notre Dame-Michigan State game, and they were playing in our house. ND and MSU is a pretty big rivalry, because we’re not that far away from each other, we’ve played them for many years, and there have been some really epic, close games.
The day started out cool and slightly gloomy, but the sun quickly came out, and it was a perfect day for a game! Partly cloudy, and not overly warm. Because it got so nice in the afternoon, I misjudged how cool it would get as the game progressed, and thought I would be okay with just a t-shirt. The temperature started dropping, the cloud cover increased, and there was enough of a breeze that I started getting really chilled. I didn’t plan on buying any gear yesterday, but I ended up with a sweatshirt, anyway. Thanks, Honey! Next Saturday is supposed to be a little warmer, so I’ll have to figure out how I want to work the attire.
We tailgated yesterday, and were parked next to a couple of guys and their four boys, who seemed to range in age from maybe 10-15. They were a nice bunch, and the guys started chatting us up. They were from Plainfield, a suburb of Chicago, and although the guys had been to a game quite a few years ago, the kids never had been. Neither were alums, just ND fans who decided to come and bring their boys down for a game. We were all in great moods, and the kids were tossing a football around and the dads were playing QB. Ken set up our cornhole boards and they all played a couple of games. They weren’t sure how to get to the Stadium from where we were parked, so we said they could follow us in. We had a pleasant walk through campus and to the Stadium, and when we parted ways (because we went in different gates), we all shook hands and said that it was nice meeting each other and to enjoy the game! It was very enjoyable, and I hope they had a wonderful time and experience!
After we split up, Ken and I were in a spot where we got to see the ND band march into the Stadium. I was straining to see over the few people in front of me, and I was doing fine...but then a couple of them grabbed me and said, “Get up here, Shorty!” and pulled me up to the front! I thought that was so super nice of them, and I was like, “No, no, I’m fine!” but they pulled me up there, anyway. This might sound silly, but I love the sense of community and fun among Irish fans at ND games. We have our share of jerk fans (more about that in a moment), but overall, it’s always a pretty good experience, and I love how nice the ushers are, and how everyone seems to want to make the game a good experience for all. Not that we don’t want to kick the opponent’s butt…!
Things looked a little dicey for the Irish throughout the game, but we had some good defense (going up against the #1 defense in the country) and managed to make some big plays and some big stops. The Irish won 17-13, and such a low scoring game gives you an idea of what a battle it was. During down times, we chatted with the guy sitting next to me (I said, “Hey, we’re wearing the same shorts!” See photo below.), listened to the curmudgeons sitting behind us, and chatted a bit with the couple in front of us. I noticed the difference in height between her and her boyfriend, and said, “I have to ask you...how tall are you?” She said, “Five feet!” and I laughed and said, “Me too! I know how you feel!” It was her first game, and I think she had a pretty good time, too.
Unfortunately, we had three Michigan State fans sitting two rows in front of us that were just dicks. As I said earlier, I know we have our share of fans like that, and I know that not all Sparty fans are like these guys. I’ll even give credit to one of the guys for trying to stop his friend from being such a dick...but the guy just kept right on being a dick. When MSU got a first down, they’d all make the first down hand signal, and it wasn’t too long before we all started mocking them. When they made a big play, one of the guys would turn around and hold his hand up trying to get us all to high five him. Seriously, man? Be cool. When one of our players got his helmet knocked off in a play, the guy called him a “pussy.” I could see Ken doing a slow burn beside me, and I said, “Be cool. If they want to be dicks, let ‘em be dicks. But we don’t need to take the bait.” Ken kept his cool, but both of us were giving them the stink-eye every time they turned around to get a high five from us ND fans.
The guy in front of us (boyfriend of the short girl) started giving it right back to them, and later turned to us and said, “I’m not usually a dick like this, but I had it with them.” When it became clear that ND was going to win, the MSU fans left with a couple of minutes to go. They weren’t quite so cocky then. They gave us all a wave as they left, and they told the guy in front of us, “Stay classy!” THIS, from the guys who were taunting all the ND fans around them! You don’t know how tempting it was to yell at them, “Who’re the pussies now?” Ugh.
Anyway, thus the title of this entry. I have family and friends who do the trashtalk thing, but I don’t enjoy that at all. It often comes back to bite you on the ass, and if you lose—and yes, you often lose—it makes you feel like a fool. I love my teams, and I cheer for them to win, but I want them to win on their own merits. The sort of chest-thumping attitude I see in some is just irritating to me. Just shut up and let your team play. If they’re good enough, they’ll win. If not, they won’t. Maybe it’s one of those male-female things. I really don’t get the appeal of taunting other fans. They’re just as passionate about their team as I am about mine, so just be cool and cheer for your team without being a dick. I remember someone a while back posting about how the Bears beat the Colts, and they weren’t surprised, because everyone in Indiana is a bunch of losers. The Colts made the playoffs that year, but the Bears didn’t. So how did that work out for you, Obsessive Hater?
I’m not a Notre Dame graduate, but as a Notre Dame sports fan and a resident of this city, it’s important to me that I help people enjoy their visit here, if possible. I can’t do a lot, but I’ll do what I can to make sure that people don’t leave here after an encounter with me thinking, “Wow, ND fans are dicks.” I want them to think, “Wow, ND fans are kind of nice!” I know that the guys in front of us aren’t representative of all MSU fans. But they sure didn’t impress me, and they were bad representatives of the school. We encounter a lot of people from out of town during game weekends, and when we travel and tell people where we’re from, we want to make sure that we’re good ambassadors.
So don’t be a dick, mmmkay?