Monday, November 14, 2005

The Weekend in Review
Field-Level Edition

Pep Rally: Tickets for the pep rally were being passed out starting at 4:30 on Friday. Got to the JACC at 4:45, and guess what? Too late. Unfortunately, I apparently missed a rap by Darius Walker.

Alumni Sighting, Part I: Spotted Scott and Kim at Concert on the Steps. They were able to parlay their people-in-band-actually-knowing-who-they-are status into choice seats up front. I simple chose to stand in the wings.

Alumni Sighting, Part II: Anne Stolz made an appearance at trombone circle, as did, drumroll please, Courtenay Verret. Hey, I remember her! Of course, was I smart enough to ask either of these girls what they were doing? Nope, as my family started to wander off towards the stadium.

How good were my seats?: Field level, front row, almost right behind the goal post. We almost got attacked by the field goal net several times. Oddly enough, there were at least three other members of the class of 2003 in the section.

Another game, another flyover: But they never get old. This time, two ND grads flew Navy FA-18s over the stadium as the National Anthem neared its end. Very cool.

The seats pay off: Mo Stovall's first TD was in the far corner of our end zone. From my vantage point, I couldn't see that the catch was one-handed, but I was in perfect position to see him get his left foot down in bounds.

The Band of the Fighting Irish: Some say the band dances too much these days, but they've been on a roll this November. During the Tennessee game, they played and danced to "Numa Numa," (video) and the student section loved it. I'd have to say it was the best student reaction to a dance break since the '99 USC game. In that game, Pete McCall was stationed in the corner closest to the students. His dance moves single handedly fired up the crowd, and that emotion led to the now historic comeback against the Trojans. This week, the band had the perfect encore. They played and danced to "Canned Heat," the dance number from Napoleon Dynamite.

Canned Heat: JT's annoucement was a classic. Talking about Napoleon's campaign to get Pedro elected school president: "But, it took more than [insert unnecessary JT emphasis] ligers [/emphasis], moon boots, and tater tots. It took skills. Here's 'Canned Heat.' Gosh!" JT, ever the pop culture afficionado, of course pronounced the "gosh" like Goofy's "gawrsh!" If that wasn't the highlight, though, it was the fact that I had a clear view of Paul Epstein's spot in dance block. Good ol' Paul made this former dance committee member proud with his moves.

"Darius is the man!": At one point, NBC went to TV timeout after Navy had punted the ball inside the 10. As the ND offense huddle, someone behind me shouted, "Darius is the man!" Walker turned, spotted the guy, and nodded and smiled in recognition.

The seats almost paid off again: On David Grimes' lone punt return, he was little more than a shoestring tackle away from running right into our endzone seats.

By the way: "Ooh, look at me, I had seats on the field!" Yeah, I'm done talking about them.

A fitting tribute: On Veteran's Day weekend, a short announcement asking to honor past and present veterans turned into an 80,000+ member standing ovation.

May I have your attention, please: In a postgame interview, Walker admitted that everyone on the sidelines stops to listen to Officer Tim McCarthy's safety announcement. On the set of the radio postgame show, Reggie Brooks admitted that he did the same during his playing days.

And they're smart, too: The Midshipmen in attendance were a lively bunch, standing the whole time. Well, almost the whole time. As yet another wave passed through their section, the entire group sat motionless. Stupid Pink Shirts.

Back to reality: As a pair of transport planes flew over the stadium, the Midshipmen booed in jest, however full knowing that that short weekend of frivolity would soon be over.

The Navy Blue & Gold: In a tradition normally reserved for the Army-Navy game, Charlie Weis had his players join the Navy players in the southeast corner of the stadium for the playing of Navy's alma mater following the game. You can't fake class, and you can't fake the fact that there are more impotant things than football.

Final cheers: I'd love to end this on the above note, but I did have one last anecdote. Lewis Johnson "wisely" decided to conduct his postgame interviews right in the middle of the band's formation. Drum Major Hunter Young gave Johnson a minute or two to move, and when he didn't, Young started the Victory March. Ah, NBC football coverage....