In 2000 I graduated from high school and went to college about 6 miles from my parents house. Those four years at the University of Notre Dame have left me with some of my best friends in this world, and of course some of my favorite memories to date.
Notre Dame has a saying, "God, Country, Notre Dame." That, however, is not what I took away from my four years there. For me, the saying is more like, "Family, Football, Notre Dame."
Notre Dame is a big (American) football college. Historically, they are a great team, but let's be honest, we haven't won a championship since the '80's. Yet the fans are extremely loyal. They are a team that you either hate or love. I, of course, growing up just miles from their stadium was raised to love them.
As an aside, I remember being about 4 years old and my older brother, who was in high school at the time, taught me the words to a rival team's fight song. He then told me to sing it to my dad, also an ND fan, and I did. It is probably one of my most shameful moments to date. While at the time, I didn't quite understand what the problem was, I realized I did something wrong when my dad gave a different older brother a dollar to sing the ND fight song. Clearly I screwed up.
Notre Dame is constantly talking about our "family." When you go to ND, you hear this all the time. We are not allowed to have fraternities or sororities (a total American college scene), because we are meant to be like one huge fraternity/sorority.
All across the US there are ND clubs where if you need help with something - anything - you are encouraged to ask your club members for help. If you need a job, people will try to help. If you've just lost a loved one, someone will be there to support you. If you are new to an area, you now have insta-friends. This isn't just true for the US though, these clubs are all over the world. The closest to me is in Tokyo and I've met for "game watches" a few times since moving here.
This is all a long-winded way of saying that one of our "family" members faced serious tragedy about a week ago when both his grandmother and girlfriend passed away within a 24 hour period. This young man, Manti Te'o is one of the football team's stars. Although he is from Hawai'i, he chose to stay with the team and led the team in a win against Michigan State last Saturday.
This Saturday, to honor and show him that our family supports him, people are wearing leis to the game. I, obviously, won't be at the game. I'll be watching it live from my living room sofa on Sunday morning (thank God it's a night game) and you can bet that K, Y and I will be sporting leis. We'll upload a photo to the Facebook event page to show Manti that while his family is in Hawai'i, he has support flowing in the world over.
The kink in my plan is that we don't have any leis laying about. Since we really only need them for a photo and not for a day of tailgating, I figured tissue paper leis should be just fine.
Luckily I had a lot of green and yellow, but unfortunately, no blue. I got to making a ton of little tissue paper flowers.
Then strung them up and made leis. K's favorite color is yellow, so he got an all yellow and orange one.
I'll post a Sunday morning game day photo of us later!!
In the meantime, watch this video and get stoked for the game!! Go Irish!!!
Edited to add:
Here is our family photo of leis and jammies. Also, Manti Te'o played a great game, again and the Irish are now 4-0!!!
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