By Noah Foreman aka TrueIrishFan616

I decided to write about an event that changed the way I look at sports. I grew up in a small town about 15 miles east of South Bend, IN called Elkhart. My late father raised me to do 1 of 2 things: Play football for Notre Dame or play basketball for Notre Dame. There were no other options good enough for my dad. Being from Indiana and having a father that loved sports, I was taught at a very early age how to throw the perfect spiral and shoot the perfect jump shot. It turned out that I didn’t throw very well on the run, and I would dribble off of my foot under pressure. I still played both in high school but only intramural style. It was very clear that I wasn’t going to be playing for any university. It became a tradition with me and my dad on Saturday’s to cook French toast in the morning, go outside and run some routes, then hurry back in by 2:30 to catch the Irish play. You see, from BIRTH I was shoved head first into loving Notre Dame football. My first baby bottle said “Future Irish” on the side. My first blanket was handmade by a woman in our church with a great big leprechaun in the middle. My first outfit as a toddler was a Notre Dame sweatsuit! I had no choice but to love everything that was and still is…Notre Dame.

The first memory I have of that awesome stadium was back in 1992. My dad had surprised me that morning with 2 tickets to Notre Dame’s “Blue and Gold Game.” It’s just a fancy way of saying Spring Scrimmage. We loaded into the van with a fake ND helmet that used to be part of a lamp and headed into South Bend. We parked what seemed like 5 miles from the stadium, but that’s probably inaccurate…I think I was just so revved up about getting to see this team play in person for the first time! I remember seeing all the people walking around dressed in blue or green or gold. Guys yelling out “Get your programs!” I couldn’t wait to get in our seats. I don’t have much of a memory of how the game actually went. But the event that really changed how I looked at Notre Dame was after the game ended. They allow people to come onto the field and meet the players. My dad and I ran down to the field and waited in the crowd around 1 player in particular. He was my favorite player. He had a great career at Notre Dame but was short lived in the NFL. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks where he rode the bench for most of the years he was there. He was then traded to the Chicago Bears where he rode out the rest of his career. Does anybody know who I’m talking about? His name is Rick Mirer. And I loved to watch that guy throw a football.

But it was that event…being down on that field where so many Notre Dame greats had played in front of 80,000 people that changed my views on Notre Dame football. I still get goose bumps thinking about it. Since that moment, I’ve focused most of my hard earned money on making my mark on Notre Dame collecting. I just started collecting cards thanks to SCF. And of course the first cards I see on the site were the new 2010 UD Exquisite collection. And they made quite a few prior ND greats. I had NO IDEA that cards had come so far! Pieces of jersey and helmet IN THE CARD?! I got to have these. $3,000 later…I’m hooked! I collect as well as do my part to enrich others lives with one-of-a-kind ND figures. I take regular McFarlane football figures that you can buy pretty much buy anywhere and I take some model paint and some decals and turn them into Notre Dame greats! I don’t do it for money. I create these guys and give them away to fund raisers and charity events. I’ve been collecting anything Notre Dame for the past 10 years or so.

I’m a Notre Dame nut! I’m not however, a “typical” Notre Dame fan that I know most of you reading this assume I am. I don’t sit at BBQ’s talking about championships won 60 years before I was born. I’m a logical fan. I know that Notre Dame hasn’t been very good for about 30 years. I know that the last championship they won was in 1988! But I also know that Notre Dame has a great tradition. That the university stands for excellence in education first and foremost. After all, these people are STUDENT-ATHLETES. I love Notre Dame football more than anything else in this world. I chew my nails off when it’s a close game, I sit in anticipation when they’re losing to teams they shouldn’t be losing too, and my Saturday is ruined after a tough loss. But through thick and thin…I will always be a Notre Dame fan. Not because it’s trendy to some, but because it’s where my roots lye. It’s in my blood.