Posted: Sunday October 16, 2005 10:10PM; Updated: Monday October 17, 2005 11:24AM
Watching your school play the No. 1 team in the country? That definitely belongs on the list of things to do before you graduate.
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In life, it's the things that you don't do that you usually end up regretting.
The chance you didn't take. The girl you didn't ask out (so what if you were dating her sister at the time?). The game you didn't go to.
Seventeen years ago I had a ticket to the Miami-Notre Dame game in South Bend. Instead, I remained in Santa Fe, where I was wallowing in my St. Elmo's Fire phase, and watched the Fighting Irish end the Hurricanes' 36-game win streak on television. Not that it wasn't cool to storm the Plaza in the giddy moments following the 31-30 upset and purchase $600 worth of traditional Acoma pottery, but I did feel a little left out.
I thought about all that as the rain pelted my office window for the seventh consecutive day last Thursday. No lie. Central Park has already received 13.25 inches of rain this month (incidentally, that was also the measured height of the grass at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday). I had no ticket to Saturday's USC-Notre Dame game, and work could not send me. Besides, I have to attend a wedding in Indianapolis next weekend, so I shouldn't go ...
The rain came down. I was working on a piece for SI On Campus entitled The 100 Things You Gotta Do Before You Graduate. It occurred to me, Watch Your School Play the No. 1 Team In the Country belongs on that list. I was turning into Mr. Cranky Pants. Something had to be done.
Next thing I knew, I was surfing the airfare sites. I was phoning my friend Matt Boler, who always has one extra ticket (and he did). I was beseeching SI senior writer Austin Murphy to ferry me from O'Hare to South Bend. Game on!
Suddenly, it was a sun-splashed Friday afternoon in South Bend, a completely sublime Indian summer day, and I knew that on my death bed I'd have one less regret than I might have otherwise. The weekend in review:
Friday, 2:00 p.m. Austin and I had been asked to appear on Classic Now to discuss the game (programming idea for ESPN: Classic Pizza, in which Skip and Woody -- that's Skip Stephenson and Woody Harrelson -- debate erstwhile sports issues while shooting one another contemptuous glares). We show up on the set of College GameDay and Austin informs them that we're from Sports Illustrated and we're here for the show.
"The talent," the stage manager informs us, "won't be here until three o'clock."
"I'm sorry to tell you," Austin replies, "that we are the talent."