Perhaps the best commentary on Notre Dame‘s recent resurgence, including its 41-3 trashing of the Miami Hurricanes, comes from Scott Janssen and his story “Post-Holtz Era Fans Too Young To Remember 1988 Game.” In this humorous blog he tells how not only was the first Notre Dame game he attended as a youth the disastrous, national-championship-costing 1993 loss to Boston College (a loss his father blamed on Scott!), but how it feels to have missed out on the last great era of Irish football:
“So how has it felt being a Notre Dame fan who doesn’t really remember Holtz? Who came of age watching Davie, Willingham, O’Leary (I’m counting him to show what I’ve had to deal with) and Weis?…It’s been flippin’ terrible. There’s a generational gap amongst Notre Dame fans, with those like me who have experienced nothing but failed expectations and disappointment, and those like my parents, who have seen numerous national titles. And I’m jealous of those older Irish fans to an unhealthy degree.”
Janssen goes on to call the Notre Dame/Miami series as the “perfect symbol of the disparity between generations of Irish fans.” Due to his youth, Janssen “remember[s] very, very little about the 1988 national championship season,” but vaguely recalls “the unabashed exuberance from my parents after ND defeated the #1 Miami Hurricanes 31-30 [because] [f]or weeks after the game my parents re-watched the contest on our newfangled VCR…[after which] my mother [always did] a flawless impression of former Miami Hurricanes head coach Jimmy Johnson jumping around, shouting. ‘First down!’”
Fortunately, Janssen relates he does have one powerful living memory of the rivalry: “a signed photo by former Notre Dame safety and hero of the 1988 game, Pat Terrell…of his swat that broke up the potential game-winning two-point conversion for the Miami Hurricanes. He was nice enough to sign his name and write a motivational quote, telling me to never give up on my dreams.”
But the best part of the story is that Janssen then had Terrell sign “a second picture of his infamous play [for] a friend who’s a diehard Miami Hurricanes fan…Terrell was a great sport and agreed to the signature. But instead of a motivational quote, he placed a special message next to his signature for my Miami Hurricane friend…”
Sorry for ruining your dreams. –Pat Terrell, ’88 National Champions
Luckily, Janssen’s friend appreciated the humor, and “has it hanging in his living room” to this day.
Even so, I now have to say that that was the best part of the story. Because if the latest Notre Dame/Miami game was any indication, Janssen and his generation have finally found an Irish team able to create fresh dreams for its new fans…and able to ruin those of their current opponents.
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