Inspiring Family Traditions: Pick a team

Does your mantle look like this?

Ours does.  Or at least it did until last Sunday.  Bobble head Pope Benedict and Fighting Irish player now look through the Advent greenery and lord over the stockings.  They’ve been sitting there all season, placed haphazardly before the first game back in September and never moved thanks to superstition. (It’s only weird when it doesn’t work– thanks ESPN.)  We will not move them until after the National Championship on January 7th.  It has been one awesome season.

Life in our home follows like this: God first, family second, Notre Dame football third.  On any Saturday, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything in our house that doesn’t look like this:

Children are decked out in ND paraphernalia.  Daddy sits on the edge of his seat, rising and saying an occasional Hail Mary.  A memorable line this season came during OT in the game against Pitt when our oldest called out to Dad: “Let’s pray the Hail Mary again, Dad!  It worked!”   I am usually in the kitchen, cooking something like chili and doling out football snacks while the crew watches on.  I’m also dreaming of our days at Notre Dame where my hubby attended law school–it was a magical place to raise our young, Catholic family and I cherish the friendships we made there.

As the game develops so do our own family room football games, brother v. brother.  They are heated, kids cry, but they are the essence of little boys playing out their football dreams.  And with players like Manti T’eo, I would be *thrilled* if my sons also embodied his integrity off the field.  When the game goes late, boys reluctantly sulk off to bed, but wake in the morning eager to hear the final score.  This season it has meant them waking to excitement on Sunday mornings because we kept winning!

Football season is so fun.  It creates wonderful memories for our family.  In a way, it defines us.  We have an identity as a family unit.  We love God.  We love each other.  We love Notre Dame football.  I pray it can be a fun tradition that continues to knit us together for years to come.

We’re not alone.  Kellie and Mary Alice’s families are die-hard Philadelphia sports fans.  The Phillies and the Eagles keep their families busy almost year-round.  Texas Mommy and family are ardent Cowboy and Ranger fans and have been known to rustle Red’s feathers a time or two over Ranger v. Philly rivalries.  Their boys don jerseys and go to games.  Juris Mater and family are also Irish friends.  My hub and JM were law school comrades there.

Looking for a way to bring together your crew and create a sense of togetherness?  Find a team and get on the bandwagon.  And if you’d like to hop on Notre Dame’s success this season, come along.  Our Lady supports your decision. ;)

  • ND Lurker

    Regular reader coming out of hiding to say Go Irish! I graduated from ND in ’98 and wasn’t a fan prior to that. So fun to finally have a good team! Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful families. Get those prayers flowing on January 7th!

  • http://motheringspirit.wordpress.com/ Laura @ Mothering Spirit

    I love this! We are huge ND fans too! My family was growing up as well, and still is, even my siblings who attended college elsewhere. Sometimes when the thought flits across my mind that I wonder if I’m “brainwashing” my boys with ND paraphenalia, I think about the very idea you’ve captured so well here – that our love for ND helps define us as a family unit, gives us something fun to cheer for, wraps us up in stories bigger than our own lives. (And agreed about Manti as well – what a stand-up young man, a breath of fresh air in the sports world!)

  • maryalice

    Plus, Rudy. Seriously, I could watch Rudy every day. In my childhood, it was super cool if you had a legit reason (like a Dad or older brother) to cheer for ND Football, the rest of us Irish were just hangers-on.

  • Kellie “Red”

    Rudy is the best sports movie ever, and I’m not a Notre Dame alum or big fan. We are pulling for the Irish this year, and I’ve even agreed to come out of my college football boycott to cheer for the team ;-) Thanks for welcoming me onto the bandwagon.

  • Mary

    My husband graduated before you, and we are fans. The spirit that accompanies the games is different, speaking as an outsider. I am happy for our children to share the excitement. It’s been a great season after a rather long dry spell. My five-year old has become obsessed with football suddenly, and asked, without any prompting, for an ND shirt for Christmas. We decided to get one for each member of the family for the game. Go Irish!


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