Good Fridays w/Padre: Bags and Bulls

I’ve always been a firm believer in introducing change slowly.  For instance, private rooms for the lads.  Sure it’s nice to live in your own broom closet, rather than a human barn; but what sort of mischief will a lad get up to all alone without 50 brothers to snitch on him.  Or take electricity.  Though I was assured it didn’t explode like gas, it seemed to be an awfully magical source of power, and that could only mean one thing: Freemasons.  Even football.  I knew the CSCs would love watching the bigger boys beat the hell out of each other, but would the students and alumni really take to this violent sport?  Wisdom dictates that you bring in these changes by gradual phases, so as not to upset folks too much.

HLS EFS CSC Pamplona

This wisdom is apparently not shared by the Stadium.  We have two jarring changes coming in just a matter of two fortnights.  First, there will be open seating in the student section.  I will henceforth call this “Pamplona Seating” and I will address it later.  Second, there will be no satchels, rucksacks, pouches, or bags of any sort allowed into the entire Stadium for anyone in attendance.  I will address this policy change now.

Very simply, I love it.

This is a football game, people, not a camping trip!  What in God’s Name could you possible need that requires you to haul a 50-pound haversack into the Stadium?  Besides which, there’s hardly room for two fit and thin gams between the benches, much less a purse you could fit an infant in.  Now I know I have a vow of poverty, and therefore the number of possessions I need to tote into a football game is limited to a Rosary and a flask…of Holy Water.  But both of those are essential to helping the team win.  You can’t tell me that a padded seat for your already amply cushioned fanny, a basket of finger foods and various delicacies, and a trove of electronic devices are anything but manners in which to distract yourself from your entire purpose in being present in the Stadium – cheering for the team!


For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about giving up traditions and adding vulgar modern innovations to the House that Rockne Built, the “Bag People” certainly feel the need to gussy-up their little (and I mean little) portion of the stands.  You’re sitting on a plank so narrow even Blackbeard would feel bad making a traitor walk down it.  Don’t try to make it more like your well-appointed sitting parlor.  Embrace it in all of its austerity, unchanged since the days of our Nordic hero!  And if you don’t like your plank-seat, stand up and cheer!

Despite this exhortation to embrace the Stadium’s new spirit of holy holdall poverty, I know we’ll all hear quite a few strident voices come the 31st.  Here are just a few standards that will be trotted out by people told to leave the sea bag behind:

“Do you know who I am?”

Please tell me so I can revoke your ticket privileges.

“Do you know who my husband is?”

Will he still be your husband after his ticket privileges are revoked?

“What am I supposed to do without all this?”

Cheer.  Or go home and enjoy ‘all this’.

“I know Fr. Jenkins.”

So do most of the people here, since the attention-fiend sends out a lot of Christmas cards.

“I know Fr. Hesburgh.”

And he’s known all the Popes, Presidents, Cardinals, Senators, Secretaries-General of the UN, and Alumni from the last 60 years…where do you fit on that list?

“Do you know how much money I give this place?”

Not enough for the naming rights on the Stadium, so keep trying!

“I fought two wars for this country and you’re telling me I can’t bring a bag into the Stadium?”

Your service is noble.  Now pretend the other team are the Germans or the Japanese or the North Koreans and show us how you did it.

“Whose stupid decision was this?”

The Blessed Mother.  Write Her a letter, ball it up, and throw it in St. Mary’s Lake.  Or set it on fire with a candle at the Grotto and let the smoke rise to heaven.

“If this doesn’t change, I’m never coming to another game here ever again.”

You’d probably be happier up the road in a little town called Ann Arbor.  They’ve got a giant stadium that caters to loud-mouthed, self-impressed, egomaniacs and all their baggage.

HLS EFS CSC Student Section 3

As for what we might hear in the student section when the gates open for Pamplona Seating, aside from a lot of filthy cursing and panicked screams:

“Don’t push me too hard – I have a bag of wine taped to my back.”

“Are you playing interhall this year?  Block for me, we’re going for Row 1.”

“Do you know who my Dad is?”

“Thank God I did Bengal Bouts.”

“I fell down so many stairs that I either wet myself or my flask burst…damn, it was my flask.”

“Do you know how much money my Dad gives this place?”

“Can a Rosary be used like brass-knuckles?”

“I know Fr. Jenkins…and we must have really screwed up because he’s sitting right next to me.”

Student 1: “Man, you really decked that usher to get to the front row seats.” Student 2: “What? I don’t care about front row seats.”

“I think I just broke parietals in that pile-up.”

“Don’t worry…we’ll have the good seats all to ourselves — I ate Dining Hall Mexican and Thai last night.  Just make sure I don’t get squeezed going through the gate.”

I firmly support both the end of the Bag People as well as Pamplona Seating.  Fans will enjoy not feeling like they’re surrounded by pack mules.  Students with the zeal necessary to fight through will be closer to the team on the field.  Happy fans and happy students cheer more.  And if you’re an angry alum who feels naked without his attaché or her clutch, if you’re a surly student who wants a better seat, then give vocal vent to your aggression – the other team can’t distinguish between cheering and hurling abuse at the injustices of the Stadium.

Change is coming.  You’ve got 22 days to get ready.  Sew bigger pockets into your pants.  Practice the flying wedge with your section-mates.  But above all, be prepared to cheer – that’s the only reason we let you into the Stadium in the first place.


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  • NDtex

    This is GOLD.

    • Father Sorin

      I’ve always liked gold…lots of it. And I try to keep the blue material to a minimum.

  • Bayou Irish

    “GOLD, Jerry, GOLD!” I love this post. Some Fridays, Fr. Sorin’s letter is a nice cap to the week. A glass of very nice port. It’s read and considered, unlike port. Which should never be read. The “Good Fridays” evokes smiles and chuckles. Sometimes reflection. This one forces roars of laughter. “Pamplona Seating” is wonderful. I don’t mean to gush over a fellow HLS-staffer (Irish Elvis does that enough by stacking us into the Top 25) (zing!) but this is really, dare I say sinfully, good.

    • Father Sorin

      Only ‘some Fridays’? I guess I’ll just have to try harder.

  • First Down Moses (@FirstDownMoses)

    Very, very well done, Ed. Also overheard in the Pamplona Section:

    “I don’t have any more marshmallows to throw, I could only fit 5 in each pocket.”
    “How come nobody brought the whistle we beat Stanford with last year?”
    “Well, at least it’ll be a lot easier to hoist someone in the air 38 times in a row.”
    “Hey, get your own Guinness Camelbak!”

    • Father Sorin

      Is a Camelbak what you used for 40 years in the desert? And I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to bring your tablets into the Stadium this season.

  • trey

    bag person excuse: ‘I broke out of cloister the be harassed because my satchel is 2″ too big?’

    • Father Sorin

      Oh, I didn’t even touch on the Bag People’s excuses:

      “It’s full of life-saving equipment…I’ll just die if I have to eat and drink that Stadium food.”

      “I couldn’t possibly wear this heavy coat, but I have to keep it with me just in case.”

      “I couldn’t possibly sit on this heavy coat which I’m not wearing – I need a cushion for that.”

      “Rolled-up plastic bags are for students. I need a nor’easter oilskin slicker for the intermittent drizzle that may or may not come.”

      “I need the books to keep me mentally stimulated until the game gets exciting.”

      “My guests have to keep their baggage because they’re not here to actually watch the game — they just came so I could show off.”

      “I have a medical condition…it’s called selfishness.”

  • viewfromcleveland

    “This bag is full of stuff I bought at the bookstore, and my car is parked 5 miles away in the north lot out by the Toll Road. I’m either bringing it into the stadium with me, or I’m going to have to return all this newly purchased merchandise.”

    • Father Sorin

      You should have purchased a watch, a map, or a sensible plan.