The Day I Kissed a Cheerleader

Sports are important to me. I remember going to see the movie “Joy Luck Club” and wondering why every one around me was crying. But I bawled like a baby when I saw “Rudy”. And, “Miracle”, forget about it.
In my freshman year I sold Cokes at the football game for the Campus Ministry. Walking around the stadium was okay if you didn’t have a date. But being dateless didn’t deter me during basketball season, particularly the Notre Dame game. The Irish had a player named Austin Carr who was a real star. My recollection is that this game was late February. Notre Dame would be favored. We started standing in line around 6 p.m. on a Sunday night. The ticket office would not be open until 9 a.m. Monday. Around midnight they passed out tickets so that we could keep our place in line. Not wanting to risk it I didn’t try to walk back to Stuart Hall. Instead I got a few winks laying in a pew in a church that was just off campus. You might not recall that churches used to never lock their doors.
I was not at the front of the line but since I was alone I was able to get a ticket in the first row of the student section. Well that game would end up being part of U.D. basketball lore. Coach Donoher said that Carr would get 20 points no matter what. But if he took only 20 shots we were in trouble but if he took 30 shots to get those points then we had a chance. He took 25 shots and U.D. won 95-79. After the game the students charged the court and whooped it up. I grabbed a cheerleader and kissed her on the cheek. That was a big moment for me.
It’s funny how my interest in sports has affected those around me. My son, who has cerebral palsy and has cognitive impairments, can tell you the nickname of almost any pro or college team. He can’t seem to remember the value of 4 times 7 but he can tell you how many points you get for scoring 4 touchdowns. And my wife has exceeded my fanaticism in several (though not all) sports. Funny how sports do that to us.

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