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17 Nov 1979, Notre Dame Redux...(long)
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17 Nov 1979, Notre Dame Redux...(long)

Apr 18, 2013, 12:31 PM

I was excited to discover the Tigers were playing in South Bend. We were living in Eastern Iowa and a quick look at the map showed only the skinny part of Illinois and half of Indiana between us and the Golden Dome. My nine year old son and I headed out early on that chilly Saturday morning, hitting I-80 and bearing down eastward in our 1972 oxidized green Datsun pickup. Just a father and son, two guys, going to a football game. The only school colors we possessed was in the form of two knit caps with "Clemson Tigers" emblazoned in white against burnt orange. We ran into logjam road construction south of Chicago, panicked, and turned onto the old road toward Indiana. Picking our way through the countryside, our excitement mounted as we neared South Bend, but so did our apprehension: Could we find tickets? Could we afford them? Would we be better off waiting until after we obtained tickets to display our colors? So many questions as the tension tightened!

"God takes care of fools and little children", and so it was. After parking, we walked straight toward the stadium with no clue for the best places to scalp, when a Domer approached us holding two tickets. "How much?", I asked. "Ten bucks", he countered. With one motion we exchanged and were swept into the arena, 50 yard line, ten rows up.

Clemson did not score in the first half, but only gave up ten points, the only ten they allowed all day. The Tigers kicked and ran for 16 in the second half and the defense locked the Irish down and threw away the key. Somewhere near the middle of the third quarter we pulled out the orange caps. Cowards, you say? There was one helluva lot of green surrounding us, and me with only a nine year old.

After the game, we bought a hamburger and filled the Datsun up with $.85/gallon gas and drove back toward Iowa on I-80. By this time, the traffic below Chicago had cleared. We replayed the game over and over in our conversation until, at last, the boy fell asleep leaving me to drive the final 150 miles alone in the dark.

Nearly 34 years later, that journey has become epic. There were other games we attended as circumstances allowed, many with his siblings and mostly at Death Valley. But that day in South Bend, two guys just going to a football game turned out to be something much greater. Looking forward to 2015. Go Tigers!

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Awesome post! I was there too

Apr 18, 2013, 12:51 PM

I was a freshman in Tiger Band. IPTAY had given us the $ to fly but Dr. Cook wanted to save $s for new instruments so we took buses.

Spent the night in Cincinnati (I think) on the way up but drove straight back.

The game was awesome and I have to say their fans were probably the classiest I have ever met as a group. Of course that was a long time ago.

We partied so much and lost so much sleep that I came down with the flu and had to stay in Redfern for 2 days when we got back - back then they had a small infirmary for overnight stays if you got really sick.

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Re: Awesome post! I was there too

Apr 18, 2013, 1:56 PM

I was there also driving from Greenville (2:30 pm) on Friday straight arriving in South Bend around 7:00 am & sleeping about 2 hrs. Went, saw, and conquerred. AQfterwards went on field and as band did the ###### of Tigers, The Tiger, a majorette, and me dotted the "i". and everyone was out of film (I would pay dearly for a photo or film of that). Left after the game and drove all night and got back in Greenville to join my wife and daughter at SS & church as I was too thankful not to go.

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Re: 17 Nov 1979, Notre Dame Redux...(long)

Apr 18, 2013, 1:14 PM

I just watched that entire game on youtube not very long ago. I don't think it was televised in Charleston at the time and I'm pretty sure I listened on the radio. Steve Durham was a beast in that game(RIP).

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Great post and story! Well written

Apr 18, 2013, 1:41 PM


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That is such a cool story

Apr 18, 2013, 1:41 PM

My son is only 4 now, but I really look forward to those types of father-son experiences as he grows older.

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"IDIOT POSTER OF THE MONTH SO FAR...GWP-- You have won IPM Award for your failure to completely comprehend a clear post & then choose to attack someone who points out your ignorance. While you are not yet in the same No Class Catagory as deRoberts, ClemTiger117 & Tigerdug23, you are getting closer to the Sewer Dwellers." - coachmac

Hey RockyMtnTiger...I just wrote same 9 yr old son story too

Apr 18, 2013, 2:22 PM

about my boy, and it's on same page as yours..and I hadn't seen yours until I posted mine. Wow.

Sounds like your trip was as exciting and special as ours was..and a bonding experience too til this day.

Congrats! GoTiGERs!

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Didn't make the trip but watched the game....

Apr 18, 2013, 2:26 PM

on (here's a throw back phrase) " closed circuit" at Littlejohn. Place was bedlam. Jim Phillip's play-by-play was piped in but you couldn't hear yourself think. And that night we went to GSP to welcome the team back. So did thousands of other Tigers. People were parking on I-85. Great day in Tiger Football History!

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Re: Didn't make the trip but watched the game....

Apr 18, 2013, 2:41 PM

I was at Littlejohn for the game as well. It was my freshman year at Clemson. Do you remember what campus looked like after the game? Campus was bedlam after the game. All trees were covered in toliet paper. Don't ever remember that happening since.

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Did the radio broadcast with Jim.***

Apr 19, 2013, 12:05 PM [ in reply to Didn't make the trip but watched the game.... ]

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Re: 17 Nov 1979, Notre Dame Redux...(long)

Apr 18, 2013, 3:09 PM

I was a seniorthat year. The student union sponsored a chartered bus trip to the game. We partied all the way there on the bus. The bus took the entire group to a bar where we partied more and then back to our hotel rooms where we partied all night. Went to the amazing game and then partied all the way back to Clemson on the bus. Great memories!

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I was there with Central Spirit...

Apr 18, 2013, 4:08 PM

We drove up in 3 or 4 vans, complete with members, suitcases, helium tanks and balloons. Went and saw the Eagles in the ACC on Friday night...great show. Tim Bourett helped get me tickets. Went to the game early on Saturday to get set-up to blow up balloons, plus paint tiger paws on faces.

We had so many ND fans come up to us to try to buy a balloon or our Tiger Rags, even to get their faces painted. They had never had another school come there and do what we were doing.

After the game, we were walking back to our vans and we had so many ND fans offering us food and/or drink...definitely the nicest fans I had ever seen, especially after a loss. I hope that I get a chance to go back there when we play them.

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You are safe

Apr 19, 2013, 9:22 AM

at Notre Dame until "Touchdown Jesus" winks at you. That's when the S$! hits the fan!
We kept him 'out of the game' that wonderful day in South Bend.

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Had to tag a long on your post. Was living in Colorado

Apr 19, 2013, 12:36 PM

Springs in '79 and buddy from Chicago had an uncle that was a big ND alum. He got us tickets and we drove from CO with our wives. Stayed in Chicago; sat in middle of ND fans who were great to us. Turned into one of the best road trips I have ever taken. Just remembered looking up at TD Jesus from time to time and soaking in that great afternoon.

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I remember

Apr 19, 2013, 12:53 PM

I was living in Greenville then listening to the game on the radio while changing the muffler on my car. Great games are always easy to remember where you were at the time

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