I keep going back to certain points in the season. What if Jamoris Slaughter never got injured? Would it make a difference tonight? What if Georgia didn’t come up 5 yards short in the SEC championship? Would Notre Dame have faired better against the bulldogs? What about Kapron Lewis-Moore and Louis Nix? Would it have made a difference? Or what if Kansas State didn’t decide to stumble against Baylor or what if Oregon hadn’t lost to Stanford in overtime? None of it matters now because this is what was always meant to happen. This was the way it was meant to happen.
What transpired through this season was something out of a storybook. From traveling to Dublin to the win at the Coliseum. The goal line stand in overtime against Stanford is the stuff of football legend. Pitt’s set-up for the game-winning field goal in second overtime was a cardiac arrest. But with a little bit of luck, the Irish got it done.
And maybe Alabama was too much tonight. Maybe the Irish just couldn’t recover from the shock in the first quarter. But I think maybe it was the nerves. Alabama had been in this position many times before. It was the scariness that come along with unknown territory. Alabama had been in this position last year and two years before that.
The heartbreaking part is the desperation of it all. How week after week you invest yourself emotionally in something you don’t have any control over. How you want those seniors to go out on top because they’ve been working hard for 4 years, both on and off the field. And you know they work hard. You have to work hard to be at Notre Dame. The other players will get another shot. They will remember tonight and know the pain and anguish and heartbreak that comes with such a loss, but that will be their motivation. They’ll use that to fuel their fire. But for whatever reason, things don’t work out sometimes. They’re not meant to.
But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. This season was simply amazing and the Irish provided so many memories and in the end, the championship really doesn’t matter. What matters is what those players did to get to this point. What matters is how they inspired the Notre Dame family. What matters is the bonds and the memories made.
And to finish this off, I’ll leave you with something as I was leaving Erica’s house and the Irish were down by 28 points.
"There’s not many teams that can come back from a 28-point deficit, you know."
”Well, those teams aren’t the Fighting Irish!”
The Irish couldn’t recover tonight, but you know what? They’ll always be my team. They can finish a season 3-9, but they will be my team. They can go to the national championship being ranked first in the nation and get blown out, but the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame will forever be my team.