Sunday, September 23, 2012


If you're connected enough to me to be reading my blog, you've probably heard by now that the Fighting Irish won a little football game yesterday against the evil Michigan Wolverines. This game and all that surrounded it - the promise of a 4-0 record, the hours and hours of tailgating leading up to the season's only home night game - pretty much cemented yesterday as the best and craziest day ever. My friends and I discussed all day what a great blog post would come of this day, and, as promised, here it is: the unabridged tale of Sarah's Michigan game day 2012.

My day began at the crack of dawn, before even the Fisher roofsit guys had begun their chorus of "wake up south quad"s, with the set-up shift of the Howard Hall concession stand. This seemingly mundane morning became suddenly quite interesting when I was tasked with collecting ice. Since our assigned patch of grass was in the neighborhood of the bookstore, my quest for ice began with the logically nearby Ryan Hall. The ice machine in Ryan, however, was about as effective for filling up my small-swimming-pool-sized bin as the ice dispenser for fountain drinks at Subway would have been. After 20 minutes and about as many ice cubes, I gave up and pushed the bin, over uneven sidewalks and bunches of extension cords, back to Howard. There, I completely emptied our far more effective ice machine, and, pushing the bin, filled well over halfway with ice and topped off with all the supplies to set up a tent, trekked back to the bookstore.

This was the first of many times yesterday where I looked extremely stupid in front of large crowds.

Following my concession stand shift, my friends and I headed off campus for breakfast and party supplies. Now, when I say party supplies, you probably assume that I mean illicit fermented beverages. Wrong. I mean party supplies. From Party City. Initially, we were searching for leis that we could buy and then give out to people around campus to spread the joy of "Wear a Lei for Manti" Day. Before long, we realized that every party store for about 100 miles was sold out of leis, and we resigned ourselves simply to finding the most ridiculous accessories possible to wear to the game. After trying on dozens of hats and eyewear and digging through aisle after aisle of Halloween costume pieces, we found the jackpot: green velvet cowboy hats and fuzzy mustaches. (You may consider this foreshadowing for "Sarah looking stupid in front of large crowds, part 2.") We went to Nick's Patio - during the day - for breakfast (crazy, I know) and headed back to campus.

It was here that I realized just how ridiculous I looked in this cowboy hat. You see, as anyone knows who was ever in the Logansport High School Swing Choir with me during the days when we wore those sequined top hats, I have an unusually large head. I like to think this is due to my unusually large, brilliant mind, but I digress. The point is, this hat looked rull stupid. Combine it with my rain jacket and lei, and you've got a contender for the most hideous game-day outfit ever created...before we even put on the mustaches.

This is what I'm talking about, people.

Once we had pathetically sung "White Horse" at the Dome after being convinced that Taylor Swift was on campus (she wasn't) and, post-song, donned our mustaches, we headed over to Tailgateland. Let me tell you, there is no better way to re-introduce yourself to your friends' classy, nattily-dressed parents than while wearing a rain jacket, lei, and matching green mustache and cowboy hat. Add to all of this several hours' worth of unrelenting downpour, and you'll see that this day gets better and better by the minute.

Eventually, after plenty of in-the-rain dancing, tailgate nomming, and cornhole playing, it was time for the game. My friends and I were lucky enough to be surrounded by arguably the best cast of characters in the stadium. In front of us was Homegirl. Homegirl earned her moniker by being so tragically schwasty-faced that even her friends eventually joined me in my pleas of "homegirl needs to slow down." A few seats to Homegirl's right was probably my favorite character of the night: Put It On the Pizza. This young lady looked remarkably like the speaker of the best line of the Mary Kate and Ashley body of work: "ehhhh, put it on the pizza."

Why don't you just put that right on that pizza

She was seated next to a solitary and clearly lost Michigan fan. Despite professing her hatred for said Wolverine approximately once every seven seconds, she was very clearly in love with him. At one point, I saw her kiss his head. If ever the hashtag "#OhHon" was appropriate, it was for little miss Put It On the Pizza. Rounding out our corner of the crowd was Selfies McSelfiepants, a pair of ladies who, over the course of the game, snapped somewhere around 95 selfie pictures. Basically, for a number of reasons, everyone around us was out of control. 

All in all, yesterday was an unbelievable, once-in-a-lifetime game day, and the game's aftermath - refusing to vacate the student section for what seemed like an eternity, walking back to Howard through what can only be described as a campus-wide party, and finally, sleeping more soundly than I had since about 1995 - will stay in my memory for years to come. And now? Friends, we are 4-0. We're ranked in the top 10. We are relevant.  We are ND. Put THAT on the pizza. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Strongly Worded Letter to the Fisher Roofsit

Dear planners of and participants in the annual Fisher Hall Roofsit,

To start things off, I think it's lovely that you devote so much time and effort to charity with this event. Really, it's commendable.

That said, your stupid roofsit is slowly destroying the souls and ruining the lives of every single person on South Quad. This is my third year trying to live, work, and sleep in Howard Hall - you know, that place where I do in fact live, work, and sleep on a fairly regular basis, as it is my home - during the roofsit, and it is my third year of utter failure.

On some level, I must say I sympathize with your unapologetically irritating control of your PA system. I have been put behind the megaphone or microphone at my fair share of events over the years (even one out on our mutual home, South Quad), and I understand. Holding that megaphone is thrilling. A person normally ranking at a 4 on the proverbial 1-10 annoyingness scale jumps immediately to a 12.5 when charged with hours of yelling into a megaphone. Spotting one's friends across the quad whilst brandishing a megaphone requires you to call them out as blatantly as possible. That is, in fact, the golden rule of megaphone use. Yelling at random strangers can also be fun, especially if said strangers are terrified, unsuspecting freshmen you can lure into support of your cause with your ceaseless shouts and repetitions of, "Hey you! You with the face! And the nose! Come over - yes, you, you in the yellow pants, GET OVER HERE - DON'T YOU WALK AWAY I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN." See? So fun.

You people, however, are out of control. I'll begin with the obvious. This afternoon, as I stood on the quad after class observing your ridiculous antics, I heard the all-too-familiar strains of Taylor Swift's latest effort, "We Are Never, Ever, Ever, Ever, Ever, Ever, Ever, Ever...Ever Getting Back Together" blasting through your speakers. This is unacceptable. Playing that song is an abuse of your loudspeaker privileges. The next time I hear that drivel, I will walk right over to your "roof," chuck your iPod into the Reckers dumpster, and set your speakers to an endless loop of the Bye Bye Birdie soundtrack until you apologize. (Note: literally any other Taylor Swift song ever released would be perfectly fine. But this one...I refuse to accept the inescapability of its catchiness, and until it goes away, I will be on a dedicated mission to purge it from my life and keep myself from dropping $1.29 on it in a moment of iTunes weakness.)

Next, let's think for a second about the actual nature of this "roofsit." For starters, "roofsit" is, as demonstrated by the little red lines all over the draft of this post, not even a word. Would it have killed you to spell it with a hyphen, thus becoming respectable among spell check programs and less cringe-inducing among childhood spelling bee champions-turned-twentysomething-grammar nazis (a group that includes, most importantly, me)? I think not! But I digress. The most problematic element of your roofsit is that, really, it's not even on a roof. It's on the roof of your doorway. You're closer to the ground than our cheerleaders will be for 90% of this football season. Fishermen, you don't sit on a roof. You sit on a throne of lies. Want to impress me? Do your roofsit from the roof of Flanner.

Then there's the completely ridiculous length of your little roofsit. Of course, as one of the organizers of last year's 24-hour Howard signature event/seesaw marathon, the Totter for Water, I can't really talk when it comes to obnoxiously long events. I sat, stood, tottered, and planked out on the quad, yelling into the megaphone all the while, for many, many hours of my life last year. Currently, a new crop of Howard girls is out there doing the same thing (a scheduling conflict with your roofsit that I won't even bother to address). 24 hours is a long time, so when it comes to perpetrating lengthy events, I am guilty as charged. But the roofsit goes on for - correct me if I'm wrong - 9,327 hours. (Okay, so maybe it's, like, 40. You've said it enough times since kicking things off this afternoon, but, in the interest of eventually sleeping in my room, windows closed in a futile effort to block the noise, in my own dorm, I try to ignore it when you speak. Do forgive me.) And the music and the yelling and the haggling goes on - for 9,327 hours. Living in Howard, you get used to surrounding campus noise. You get used to the Dillon Pep Rally. You get used to the band show wafting in from the steps of neighboring Bond every football Saturday. But the roofsit grates on your ears for a whole weekend, and, no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot get used to it. (How anyone is left in Pangborn after living next to the roofsit for all these years is entirely beyond me.)

So, roofsit, I must say, I am not your biggest fan. I tire of your yelling, and I will never, ever, ever find "We Are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together" acceptable fare for blasting through the whole quad. I think your event would probably be more successful if you sold your own silence in exchange for donations. I would gladly give you $20 if it meant twenty minutes of blissful, megaphone-free roofsit respite. (Well...I would pool my money together with my friends so as to give you $20. I could buy a lot of chocolate with that kind of money.) But the moral of the story, friends, is this: you are horribly annoying. And on Saturday morning, as the fans start pouring in and game day begins, I will beg for the third year in a row that the raucous, partying attitude of the Fisher roofsit never, ever end.


The Domerberry

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

That's How I Beat Rasta

[Disclaimer: No one in this blog post actually beats Rasta at anything. I just really liked the Aaron Carter reference.]

It was a Tuesday night in September. The air was clear and the night beautiful, set alight by the first twinkles of autumn. On this night, freed for the evening from the confines of rehearsal, a group of musicians set out on a journey of athleticism, passion, victory, and defeat that they would never forget.

They were met at the North Food Court. Basses, altos, sopranos, tenors of all ages came together to gain sustenance for their impending athletic endeavors. Tensions at the meal were few; flakes of Teflon found in stir fry servings at the meal, well, existed, which was disconcerting. Laughter peppered the air around the friends' table, but they knew of the task that lay ahead of them. The beguiling, lactose-y whiles of the frozen yogurt machine were resisted by all as they turned their attention to the mission at hand: a few "friendly" rounds of sand volleyball.

The rag-tag team began their trek to Stepan Fields - those Elysian lands which, with their perpetual volleyball court lighting and proximity to the ever-revered Stepan Center, are perhaps better known as the Fields of Dreams. Once there, the friends, clad in skinny jeans and long-sleeved shirts, baseball caps and flip-flops, found the courts already occupied by serious, RecSports athletes.

Determined not to let the chance at the magical courts slip away, the team took instead to an interim game, a brand of soccer without goalposts, shoes, or even, really, a field. They centered themselves around a trashcan "goal," placed their volleyball on the grass, and began their game. Before long, though, a new element came into play: Rasta.

Rasta, you see, had been watching their game from across the field. He and his companion, Rasta's Small Cousin, had been kicking a ball around themselves - a real soccer ball, with real cleats and real talent - and were looking for people with whom to play a few rounds.

Being kind, generous children of God, the friends decided to let Rasta and Cousin join in their fun. This was, of course, what anyone would do - but Rasta was intimidating. Within minutes, he divided the group into teams with himself at the helm. He stood at the goal, imposing, brooding, dreadlock-ing, blocking shot after shot with a flick of the ankle as he simultaneously talked on the phone and shouted orders at all members of both teams in a language that only sometimes sounded like English. He preached good spirits (largely), but, truth be told, he was frightening.

Eventually, a spot opened up on the courts - opposite a real-life RecSports team. The friends - known forevermore as Team Choir - took their places on the court and began the duel. There were embarrassments; there were small victories; there were more embarrassments. Ultimately, there was a game hard fought by both teams and with a score far less humiliatingly one-sided than could ever have been predicted.

Then, however, came the return of Rasta. His team, an athletic, intimidating posse fresh off their rousing defeat of another authentic RecSports team, was restless and looking for opponents. Just as the restlessness set in, Rasta noticed Team Choir. He swooped in.

"You should play against us!" he insisted.

"No," said Team Choir, "We're really not on your level."

"No, no," Rasta responded. "You play against us. And you play against us now."

With that, Rasta's team glided onto the far end of the court, forcing Team Choir onto one huddled, terrified side as the Rastas forcibly entered the game like a strangely attractive, athletic, nattily-attired army going into battle. The face-off began, and tensions mounted...for Rasta.

On the side of Team Choir, the cause was clearly hopeless, so laughter and song abounded. On the side of Team Rasta, though, all was business.

"Who is singing?" he would demand. "Stop your singing, 'coach,' pay attention to your team!" "Oh, nice shot, coach!" "What are you guys doing?!"

After what seemed like weeks of oddly mismatched competition, game point approached. The score, to the surprise of everyone on the court, was 24-23, with Team Rasta holding tight to the tiny lead. Gone were the early moments of the game, when members of Team Choir could see a familiar waiter among their opponents and engage in the sorts of things that will probably be discussed at this week's "Notre Dame Really Is Full of Losers" Conference Flirting Workshop. This was the time for action. This was the time for war.

In the end, of course, Team Rasta was victorious...and scary. Team Choir's very own Nashty May-Treanor closed out the game with a relatively creepy wink and a "see you soon" from her Team Rasta waiter friend, and the teams headed home. The night was full of surprises and yes, even occasional terror, but it was more filled with friendship and love. (Except for Rasta. His night was just surprise and terror.) Should the time come again some day, dear reader, when you find yourself free from rehearsal and looking for something to do, make your way to Elysi-Stepan Fields, and work your way to Rasta. It will give you a strange night, but it will guarantee you a great one.

[Note: For all of you who are wondering, no, I did not play any volleyball tonight. Or soccer. I did participate in the whole "eating of dinner" part of the evening. From then on, I sat on the sidelines, trying my best to diplomatically laugh equally at everyone and plotting this blog post in my head, as General Manager Cahalan. This is my life. Go Team Choir; beat Rasta.]

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

After This, I'll Shut Up About Ireland

Well, dear readers, I'm home. Given the speed with which I churned out my first two Ireland posts, some of you probably expected this one earlier than now. I, however, was awake for approximately 26 hours straight yesterday and still went to bed with half my homework unfinished (I did it in the morning, Mom), so I figured this could be the one time in my life where I put my priorities in a reasonable human order and put blogging off for a day.

After the Maynooth mass on Thursday and the pep rally on Friday came the Folk Choir's best two days in Ireland - game day and the-day-after-game-day. We started things off bright and early on Saturday morning with a mass at Dublin Castle. This mass was taped to be televised later as the main Sunday mass on a supposedly important Irish network, RTE, which is both really cool and super weird. When I say "weird," of course, I don't mean weird in an "Oh, it's so weird I'm on TV" sort of way. That is simply how the world should be working, anyway. I mean weird in a "there are three video cameras pointing at me while I bite my nails all through the first and second readings" sort of way. This mass also marked the beginning of my strange and super-heightened emotions regarding my imminent reunions with my friends studying in Dublin for the semester. Between the army of green-sweatshirt-clad Dublin kids serving as ushers for the mass and the Gospel reading which had served as the inspiration for one of this summer's Jesus camp musicals, I was, by the time the homily rolled around, crying. If the statistics we've been fed are to be believed, there are now about 4 million people in Ireland wondering why that weird American girl was so upset by the parable of the talents.

Then, as Saturdays for Notre Dame students always go, mass was over and it was time to tailgate. This tailgate, however, was unlike any I have ever or will ever see. The Emerald Isle Classic tailgate was no parking lot full of pickup trucks and Natty Lite. Nay, this tailgate consisted of Notre Dame taking over the entire Temple Bar district, complete with "Official ND Tailgate" signs at every corner, incredibly lenient (read: nonexistent) laws about carrying alcohol outside from pub to pub, and every classmate you have ever had, ever. While standing in the street outside The Auld Dubliner, I ran into: my best friend in the entire world, two members of Howard Hall's 2011-2012 Spiritual Life Council and at least one other member of the Howard class of 2014, a girl from my freshman Honors seminar, a girl from my sophomore Honors anthropology seminar, a girl with whom I took the intro classes for both of my majors, one of my fellow Jesus camp employees, the boyfriend of another of my fellow Jesus camp employees, and the girl who beat me out for first runner-up at the 2011 Miss ND pageant. And those are just the ones I had conversations with.

Following the world's greatest tailgate, we headed over to Aviva Stadium for the game itself. We trekked to our seats and found ourselves directly in front of the band, directly behind the 1964 winner of the Heisman Trophy, and approximately 10 rows from the field. The five Irish men sitting beside the drum major in the row behind me, I think, were - both physically and mentally - very, very lost. Because there was no other viable option, really, we declared ourselves the student section. We stood for the duration of the game, we did each and every football cheer, and, as we have now been told about 80 times each, we got a lot of TV time. We did push-ups for every touchdown with people as interesting as all of Heisman guy's grandkids, one of the Irish guys from the row behind us, and even the drum major. We also planted the seed with the drum major and band directors that the Band of the Fighting Irish simply must learn how to play "The Wobble," so, you know, listen up for that later in the season. And then the Notre Dame students actually on the field won by forty points. This was a good day.

Then came Sunday. We sang for mass at St. Mary's Church on Haddington Road (a meaningless address for pretty much anyone reading this, but given the 12 million St. Mary's Churches in the world, it seemed necessary), then had a free afternoon. I had a lovely day of shopping with a girl who I'm sure is about to brag to her boyfriend about being mentioned in two of my blog posts in a row (see, Olaf, I mentioned you too, obliquely) and bought lots of clothes I can't wait to brag about buying in Ireland, including my dress for the Howard dome dance.

Yes, boys, I am still looking for a date.

We rounded out the evening at Notre Dame's favorite Dublin pub, O'Neill's, and prepared to head home. At 6:00 Monday morning, we gathered in the lobby of the Avalon House hostel and said our goodbyes to the Folk Choir's favorite city and to the Folk Choir's favorite member currently living there. Given that this last one was, for me, a goodbye to my best friend for the next 11 months, this was one of those times that I'm glad there weren't three RTE cameras pointing at me. We headed back to our home under the Dome, sang the Alma Mater as we drove down ND Ave, and returned to our normal lives. The day that began with tears and hugs in Dublin ended with homework and laughter in the kitchen of Lewis Hall, and the weekend that started on a Wednesday ended on a Monday night with six days of memories I will never forget. Thanks for the adventure, Dublin - I'll see you soon.