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The Fighting Irish

By March 3, 2010Books and CD's

What’s with the reference to crabs? I’ll explain with a story. Since the day I came out of the womb, I was told about The University of Notre Dame. My grandfather, Donald Anthony Murphy, played football there in the 1940s. He was a family legend. Unfortunately, I never met him. He died in 1964. My father, Donald Thomas, has always bled blue and gold from every pore. He’s what The Fighting Irish folks call “subway alumni,” a huge fan who never went to school there. As kids, we were taught the Notre Dame Fight Song even before we learned how to sing our ABCs. I can even play it on the piano — and I never took piano lessons. Mom used to tell us stories about her dating years with Dad. They frequently traveled to South Bend on game days without any tickets, hoping to get in. Somehow my dad always came through. I’m not sure who was more amazed by his good fortune at finagling cheap tickets, Mom or Dad! Today I’d explain their good fortune as the Law of Attraction or karma at work.

Given all this, it made total sense to me that when I was ready for college, I’d go to Notre Dame, and this assumption caused me a great deal of conflict. Since everybody loved Notre Dame so much, I couldn’t believe how many neighbors, friends and other locals were totally unsupportive. I must have heard a million times that kids like me didn’t go to Notre Dame. We were the South-Side Irish of Chicago, and poor kids don’t go to Notre Dame. Folks like us are just fans of the school team. Even my dad said, “Julie, you can’t go there because we can’t afford to send you. Only rich kids go to Notre Dame!” I’ve always regretted that I listened to all those people. I never even applied to get in… until I went there for my MBA!

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