aka “The Brad Edition”.
Q1, from Brad (they all are): “In college: beer bonging til things get ugly, or grain alcohol riot punch til you blackout? Discuss the merits and drawbacks of each.”
This one is easy for me. First, I’ve always been a beer guy. I find it more social, and for some reason ‘happier’ than booze booze. Not sure why, really, as I’m sure others have very different approaches to drinking. The other thing is that it’s just tougher to get really, really F-ed up with beer, given all the volume. At some point you just get full. The few times in my life where things got seriously bad were due to things like riot punch, and it was never fun cleaning up the next day. I took this practice so far that on my birthday I deferred my 21 shots to our Ecuadorian Pal. He did the 21 shots for me, and it didn’t end up too pretty. So instead, I drank a case of beer. Also not pretty, but not quite as ugly. Finally, I’m definitely a social drinker, so any excuse to play a game (and crush people in said game), I am in. So, beer is the way to go for me here.
Q2: “Favorite ritual/tourist attraction/tradition about Notre Dame/gameday and why. What is over/under rated?”
Knights of Columbus steak sandwiches is one of my favorites, and it’s probably over-rated as well. On a cool fall day, round 11 am, bout 9 beers in, there’s nothing better than that steak sandwich. At the same time, it’s probably not REALLY all that good. I’ve never had one sober, and I am sure the mystique around it (shocking at ND) makes it seem like that’s a better sandwich than it really is.
Most underrated is the Irish Guard inspection. I don’t know if it’s underrated so much as not super-publicized. It’s a pretty cool ritual, especially when Irish Guard alums are back to do the inspection and mess with the Guard like they’re British Honor Guard soldiers or something. Quite entertaining, and recommended if you’ve never checked it out.
Q3: “Best spot to tailgate?”
JACC South, on the ‘Grassy Knoll’. I’ve never tailgated anywhere else, so it’s tough for me to do a fair comparison to other spots. But this has always been our tailgating home, and I am pretty sure it always will be. Close to the stadium, in the heart of the action, with a little grass for the tables/grills/chairs/coolers.
Q4: “What is the first and best drink to start off a 6 am tailgate?”
I kind of answered this on Friday: Boddington’s Pub Ale. Super smooth and creamy, not harsh at all at 6 am, and somehow feels like a real breakfast. On a colder day, I’d rock some coffee with a little Bailey’s in there to warm things up even more. Another great way to kick off a solid day of tailgating at ND stadium.
Generally not this fancy, but you get the point.
Q5: “How do you keep your livers so strong, and what kind of exercises/stretches can we folks do at home to keep our livers in shape?”
I keep a strict regimen of training (3 days drinking per week), yoga, and acupuncture. The acupuncture is the key. Releases all the toxins in there, and allows the liver time to recuperate between training sessions. My training regimen is similar to circuit training. I mix up the routine, but keep most training sessions relatively short and sweet during the week. Weekends alternate between a long-distance slog all day, and a series of sprints at night at the bars around West LA. Similar to weight-lifting, the liver can get acclimated to a repetitive training regimen, so the key is to mix it up. Happy drinking!
Q6: “Favorite opponents stadium?”
I’ve been to games at Stanford, USC, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Pitt, the Fiesta Bowl, Gator Bowl, and Orange Bowl, and UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Stanford’s stadium is underwhelming, the Coliseum is fun for tailgating but the surrounding area sucks, the Big House is a piece of garbage, MSU’s stadium is less interesting than the School of Packaging there, Purdue is ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ….Pitt’s stadium is no longer there and Heinz Field is a pro field through and through. The Fiesta Bowl was pretty cool, but it wasn’t really an opponents’ stadium. So I have to go UCLA. The Rose Bowl is an awesome venue for tailgating, the history is really apparent, and the facilities are decent. The only problem is that the place is usually only about 80% full, and it’s just SO big that it seems kind of quiet and uninteresting during the game itself. But for tailgating and general aesthetics, the Rose Bowl takes it for me.
Q7: “Would you wrather have ND win and lose to the teams we are supposed to, or lose a headscratcher and have a miraculous, no-way-we-should-win-this-game upset?”
It’s not sexy to say it, but I’d much rather have this team beating the teams it’s supposed to. Two reasons for it. The first is that that would show that this team is back to at least being decent. Beating up on the teams you’re supposed to beat is the first step in the process. WMU was nice for that reason. The second is that, in any given year, we should be a favorite in most games. We have superior talent to most teams on our schedule each year, so this would give us a solid record. Too practical? Maybe. But those two reasons combined do it for me.
Q8: “Best place to defile yourself following a gameday in South Bend?”
In terms of nostalgia, I’d have to say that I really liked going to the ‘Backer and what used to be Finnegan’s/The Library. No idea if that’s still there, even. Lots of stupid, drunken nights at those places in those days. Today, I generally hit up something a bit more ‘adult’ and just hang out and throw back a beer or two while watching the evening games. But if you want drunken mess, the ‘Backer is your go-to.
Q9: “You can only play 5 songs on a loop throughout your entire tailgate. What are they?”
1. Here Come the Irish – O’Brien Brothers. DMQ hates this song with a passion, but I dig it. It gets me fired up, and it’s great background music for a tailgate.
2. Notre Dame Fight Song. ‘course.
3. We Will Rock You/We are the Champions by Queen. Queen rules, and I like that I can squeeze these two in as one (they’re linked in the albums, so I’m doing it) to increase the variety. 5 songs is tough for an all-day tailgate. Plus, they’re good ‘I am drunk and super fired up and want to kill somebody’ songs that are still family-friendly for the nephews/nieces.
4. Mo Money Mo Problems by The Notorious BIG featuring P Diddy and Mase. Old school enough to be palatable to most, new school enough to still be awesome.
5. Born to Run, by Bruce Springsteen. A favorite across ages, and a good tune to sing along with once you’re really sloshed.
Q10: “People often complain that ND canâ€™t compete due to the administrative/atmospheric/academic/self-imposed challenges. If youâ€™re in charge of the University, and you get to change anything about it, what change would you most want to make that you think would ensure the longterm success of the football team while still keeping the University what it is.”
Academically, I wouldn’t change a thing. ND has tougher recruiting standards than 99% of our competition, and it should always be that way. ND still gets enough of the top guys to put together a MNC team, so I don’t see it as that big of a problem. ND can win with current academic restrictions. (which, btw, are a bit overblown. yes, more difficult than most schools. no, not overwhelmingly so). I may loosen them slightly in a few cases here or there to get a kid in that has a weaker profile overall but has put in hard work and shown improvement in his Jr/Sr years of HS, but that’s pretty much it.
I thought the training table addition was great, and they should implement it for more than just dinner. I wouldn’t be opposed to Athlete Dorms or Apartment Complexes for upperclassmen only.
I think the biggest opportunity is with scheduling – getting away from 7-4-1 is huge, and Jack needs to ensure that we don’t get into a situation where the schedule impedes success. I’ve mentioned it a few times, but we’re almost always in the Top 30 in SOS and often Top 15, and I think that winning a MNC against that kind of schedule year in and year out is just challenging. We have enough challenges as it is, why make it SO much more difficult on ourselves? I’d rather be in the 30’s/lower 40’s in SOS. More manageable week in and week out, and I don’t mind an easier game here or there to give the guys a break.
I also think that Jack needs to figure out a way to get 1-2 easier games in to start off the season. I only say this because all of the other top teams across the country on starting off with 3-5 really easy, cakewalk, non-conference games. We start off with the likes of Purdue, Michigan, MSU (and in future years Oklahoma, Miami, etc) in the front end of the schedule. We drop a game or two, and we tumble out of the top 25, with no way to climb back because we need to schedule our weaker games later in the year. ND needs to start off with 1-2 relatively easy games to let the team warm up/work out the kinks before diving into the meat of the schedule. If that means we can only play certain teams (Michigan, MSU) every other year, so be it. I’m not advocating playing Kent State, but we don’t have to play solid competition Weeks 1 and 2 every year.
Q11: “How the hell did I get a smiley face in there? WTF?”
HLS just loves you man.