Never Underestimate a Leprechaun Scorned

I’ve been looking forward to this week for a whole year. I know, opening weekend was three weeks ago already (I was excited for that too!), but this week holds a whole different level of intensity for me. Why, you ask? In one word: Michigan. Two more words, Denard Robinson. ONE more word, and the most important, I might add… REVENGE!!!

Now before I go all William Wallace on here, let me explain what fellow Notre Dame fans already know: we owe them a loss. Or better yet, they owe us a win, as we’ve coughed up the W to them in the final seconds our last three meetings.

2009: ND leads 34-31 with 2:19 left on the game clock. Tate Forcier goes 5 for 6 in a drive downfield that results in a 5-yard touchdown pass to Greg Mathews with 11 seconds remaining. Kick is good, blah, blah, blah, Notre Dame loses.

*Side note for this game: Head coaches were Charlie Weis and Rich Rodriguez for this one. Cringe.

2010: The Irish overcome a 21-7 halftime deficit, while holding the Wolverines scoreless in the second half… until Denard Robinson scores from 2 yards out with 27 seconds left to play. Michigan wins 28-24.

*Note: Robinson accounts for 502 total yards and three touchdowns in this, just his second-career start. My I-respect-you-but-loathe-you relationship with him begins.

2011: Notre Dame enters the 4th quarter leading 24-7. I had already sent out some taunting text messages to a few Michigan fans at this point. Of course, Michigan comes roaring back, eventually leading 28-24. That score rings a bell, right? Well, the Irish have time to answer back this time, scoring a go-ahead TD with 1:22 remaining. What do I do? I go crazy. I pick up my daughter, swing her around, scream, cheer, and pose for the following picture (which I have never shared until this day, due to shame).

I thought we finally had this one in the bag. But no. Robinson drives 80 yards to score with TWO seconds remaining. I am stunned. I am angry. My husband is scared.

*Note: Two things in reference to the picture. 1) My daughter, Ava, was clearly not as excited as I was, and 2) I am guilty of one of my own pet peeves… holding up the #1 sign when we obviously weren’t #1. We were 0-2 entering the game. Geesh, Alexis. Alas, I digress.

Now, I’ve never been a math whiz, but let me see….

948 (Denard’s total yards vs. ND) × 7 (touchdowns he’s scored vs. ND) – 4 (the number of points ND has lost by each of the past three match-ups) × 42 (the combined number of seconds it’s taken for Michigan to score THREE game-winning touchdowns in the past three years) = ONE incredibly fired up and vengeful Irish squad this Saturday.

Mark my words. Led by Manti Te-o, an inspired Irish defense is going to do something no group has ever done to Denard Robinson: tie his shoe laces so tight he loses feeling in his feet and can’t run at all.

Just kidding, but they are going to get some stops. Robinson doesn’t have the protection up front he’s had in recent years. Plus, the Irish frontmen appear to be the best they’ve been in a while. I believe that this go-round is going to be very different.

The old saying goes, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Well, I am a woman scorned by Robinson & the Wolverines. I hope the Fighting Irish have the same mentality come 7:30pm this Saturday. Better yet, I hope Brian Kelly is drilling it into their brains all week long!

In closing, I want to know who YOU are rooting for in this matchup. This question applies to EVERYONE. I’m always curious about which team outsiders (especially fans of Big Ten teams) tend to root for in this long-standing rivalry. Or in other words, which team you hate less. 😉

The Kickoff

Behind every fantastic guy is usually an equally (or even more) fantastic woman. On Saturdays and Sundays however, the attention of that great man is typically focused on what’s right in front of him: the television. Football season is in full swing, and ladies, I’m willing to bet more than a few of you are looking forward to its end. You miss your men, right? Your weekends?  Maybe you’re even supportive enough to sit through the good, bad, & ugly of it all with your sweetheart… without really having a clue what you’re watching (that’s love right there!). Or maybe you’re like me, and every bit as excited (and even more so at times) for some gridiron action as your guy is! Whether you fall into these categories, or anywhere in between, this blog is for you. (Men, you are welcome to follow along too.) 🙂

When given reign over the remote, most of the men in your life (your dad, your brother, your S.O., or guy friend) probably turn directly to ESPN. Ahhhh, yes… the manliest of all man channels. This, ladies, is simply their very own soap channel.
It’s got it all: the gossip (Urban Meyer to OSU?!); the drama (Jim Harbaugh/Jim Schwartz fight?!… or rather, “confrontation”); and the divas (see NBA Lockout). The sports world is like The Real Housewives of New Jersey with a splash of testosterone added to billions of dollars, then multiplied by 15,408 (that’s an approximate number of coaches and players in college football and the NFL). Sound interesting yet?

Let me cut to the chase. Girls, you and the sports-crazed men in your life have a lot more in common than you think. It IS possible to share autumn weekends together… and enjoy it! Consider this. Your favorite entertainment shows like EXTRA and Entertainment Tonight draw a distinct parallel to the holy grail of ESPN, SportsCenter. You know exactly what I’m talking about. The “dunnuh-dun…dunnuh-dun” is just as recognizable as The Young and the Restless‘ theme. Entertainment shows give us a daily rundown of what’s going on in Hollywood. Sports fans get the latest news and gossip from SC and other ESPN programs.

But wait, there’s more. Ever watch The View? Have you ever wished you had a mute button for a host or two on the show? Well ladies, the men have their version too… and in the case of Around the Horn… they’ve beat us to the mute button. Pardon the Interruption (PTI) could also be thrown into the same category as The View or The Talk except for the fact that they’ve limited the bickering to just two hosts. Genius, right? How about the Best & Worst-Dressed lists on Fashion Police? Male version: SportsCenter‘s Top Ten and Not-So-Top-Ten Plays.

Lastly, we come to one of my guilty pleasures: The Bachelor/Bachelorette. During the rose ceremony the contestants all stand at attention wearing their very best. Wide-eyed and nervous, they wait intently for their name to be called. It’s hard not to commiserate with these poor people at a time when they are so vulnerable. I’ve seen the same look on the faces of football players waiting for their names to be called during the NFL Draft. Don’t believe me? Check out the look on Brady Quinn’s face as he anticipated his selection (then felt the rejection) in 2007. Originally projected to be a top-five pick, Quinn was chosen 22nd overall by the Cleveland Browns. As you can see in the clip below, most expected the Miami Dolphins to pick up Quinn with the 9th selection… including the director, as he chooses to focus on the quarterback during the announcement.  
Ouch. How can you not feel for the guy?! When it comes to the Draft however, the athletes are vying for a baseball cap and a football jersey instead of a rose. Oh, and a big check.

Bottom line is that we become wrapped up in “our shows” because we get wrapped up in the characters and the story line. We begin to feel like we know these people and end up rooting for or against most of them. We can name housewives, Grey’s Anatomy doctors, guidettes, their relationship statuses and more in a heartbeat. The sports nut in your life can dish names, numbers, stats, and game-day status just as quickly.

Maybe you would like to know more about football or sports to share a common bond with someone. You may be interested in simply knowing more for yourself. MAYBE you just want to see the look on some guy’s face when you chime into the next sports convo with a legit opinion or bit of information HE didn’t even know! The moment you start caring about (or even disliking) a particular team or player will be the moment you cross over. It can happen. It happened to my husband when I made him watch The Bachelorette with me. (Sorry, babe!) 😀

Your first assignment…. pick your team if you don’t have one already. Have no clue where to start? Pick the team with the best colors. It doesn’t matter. Google them and catch up. The season has already started, so just like YOUR shows, your team already has a story line established and history beyond just this year. This season has been extremely unpredictable! The underdogs (ahem, LIONS) are winning. The usual top-contenders (COLTS! cough, cough) are losing…. NEITHER of these are normal!

As far as college football goes, I’ll give you all a head start: Notre Dame is the best. EVER.

(MY assignment is to work on an unbiased standpoint for this forum) 😉

Have fun!!! 😀