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Topic: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny Ford & Team..
Replies: 31   Last Post: Nov 7, 2020, 12:20 PM by: SocMan2®
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41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny Ford & Team..

emoji_events [56]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 10:48 AM
 

on a Friday afternoon to quickly tour Irish Stadium.

WILL & I had arrived by car in South Bend from Greenville SC around 4:30 pm Friday & went to scout out the stadium location so to make getting to game easier on Saturday..

and as we pulled up to the stadium parking lot on that sunny crisp Friday afternoon in Nov 1979 we saw the Clemson Team buses with players & coaches headed into a side door..

so I excitedly ran over & asked Coach Ford if we could go in with them and he said OK and so we all went thru the visiting team locker room and then thru another door that put us into a narrow shaft-like corridor that exposed a view of the field at the far end.

As Danny, Will, myself & a handful of players walked onto the end zone area I exclaimed out loud, purposely, that that hallowed playing field didn’t look any different than any other, and Coach Ford agreed.

It was apparent that these players were in awe & wide-eyed and I knew they might be overwhelmed, as I probably was too, so I uttered out-loud a Dale Carnegie positive-type gesture to “play down” the obvious, we were walking on hallowed ground but it didn’t look any different than ours back home.

While the group walked around and I chatted with Team Physician Dr Hair, my Son took off & up the steps leading to the top seats.

Then as quick as they had entered the stadium the team & coaches left as did Dr Hair..leaving Will & I in that empty stadium.

As soon as I got Will to come down from scouting out the stadium as a 9 year old does, we went back thru the end zone tunnel and up to the heavy metal locker room door, it was locked! I was stunned so banged on it several times but no one opened it!

At that location one could see metal bars at the other end of this tunnel passageway & into the parking lot with a few students passing by with their backpacks headed to classes..so Will & I walked to that end and could see the Clemson Buses pulling away..

and then my 9 year old became a true 9 year old when he unexpectedly yelled out for help when he saw a student passing by near the iron bar gate and they would simply look at us with confusion.

So, I calmed him down and we proceeded back thru the tunnel corridor, back onto the field where I looked around that gloried old stadium so to find a way out.

To be truthful, it was mind boggling that the two of us had this entire stadium to ourselves, but trapped inside it!

At that moment of having a bit of fear myself, I heard a piston-like sound coming from the Notre Dame team’s side but up high..

so we walked that way and up the steps to an exit portal..with the sound becoming closer & closer.

What was this loud sound?

As we continued down this concessions corridor & towards the ear-splitting sound, we could see some people busy doing something..and as we approached them, relieved to see humans, we were amazed that it was a group of NDame equipment students painting the old football helmets with a fresh coat of gold leaf paint..with a generator & paint compressor!

Note: We learned that this was done every Friday after practice so those now scuffed-up golden helmets would be fresh & glisten on Saturday when the Fighting Irish played.

I approached one of the student equipment staff members, explained our dilemma and he said to go thru a nearby door, into the Irish locker room (which had plaid carpet & a Joe Montana display setup) and out an exit door.

Relief & joy at the same time!

What a big away game start for a 9 year old & his 38 year old Dad, both dressed in Orange, to start their first hour in South Bend, Indiana!

But, the next day would get even more exciting..

* While touring the beautiful campus we had 3 NDame students rush towards my Son who was carrying the 1st 3’ x 5’ Orange Flag with large White PAW logo (sold by Batson Co in Greenville SC) on a 6’ pole but they stopped when I yelled at them.

* In the 4th quarter & standing in the end zone with thousands of screaming Tiger Fans and Tiger Team ahead 16-10, a ND student came down the row & quickly snatched from my hand the PAW flag and proceeded quickly past dozen Clemson fans on the our row to head for the aisle steps so to escape..

but I yelled down to the those he was passing (all were standing & yelling so he had more room to get by) and shouted to stop him..

and a man tripped him up at the row end and he fell hard onto the steps at the aisle & onto the flag pole itself, bending it against two steps..and I then jumped on him while he was down and put my extended clenched fist towards his face and said to get the hail away and he jumped up & took off..

while I took the bent pole and placed it over my knee so to straighten out the curved staff and then raised the flag in triumph to the cheers of scores of Tiger Fans around me.

But, when I got back to my my seat, my 9 year old Son was missing and when I frantically looked around and there he was one row up sitting between a couple who had secured him after I had abruptly run off & left him.

We both sat back down and minutes later saw Tiger Team finish & win..then proceeded to jump the wall onto the grassy end zone below & then surprisingly got shoved by the famous Irish Marching Brigade who were headed in our path..but we were wildly screaming & joining hundreds of other gleeful Tiger Fans at midfield..

and the crazy part was the entire Tiger Band Squad has come down onto the field with us and the band director had even placed his ladder to stand on it so to be seen & direct the Band to play Tiger Rag..

and when he saw me waving the PAW Flag, he motioned me to step up to his level on that ladder so I could wave that Orange beauty higher as he waved his baton.

Later I was told that radio broadcaster Jim Phillips was giving the blow by blow of this wild celebratory event live to the fans across the radio network and I’m sure he must have documented this happy scene.

What a splendid time for Lil Ole Clemson & it’s 9000 or so fans allowed to buy tickets, but as I stepped off the ladder my Son said he was tired and hungry..so we left the stadium and headed for a burger & a pay phone call to the wife b/4 heading back down the road to get a hotel an hour or two down the road.

But, when I looked back at my Son who was now in the back loading area of the new 1979 Toyota hatchback & laying on a blanket sound asleep..I decided to keep driving as many of those 12 hours back to Greenville as possible since I was jacked sky high & blowing the horn at other Clemson fans headed the same route..

and at 5 am Sunday morning I somehow made it to Greenville and stopped to buy 5 different newspapers whose headings exclaimed the victory over ND 16-10.

Went home & placed Will in his bed without waking up the Family..and then went into the guest rest room where I actually sat on top of the lid and read all 5 sports pages b/4 crashing.

What a trip for Dad & Son..so much so that we had made full arrangements to celebrate this 41st anniversary of our bonding under the Clemson football banner in 1979 by flying up to South Bend and help the #1 ranked Tigers win again..

but only a deadly Virus could make us cancel, which it did & we reluctantly did. Today we are 79 & 50 years old and still loyal Clemson Fans who still relive this long-ago trip.

Go TiGERS!

PS: Guess you can believe it now why our wonderful AD Bob Bradley called me “The FLAGMAN“ years later after seeing me on the road & at home games from 1977-1992 waving that same PAW Flag high in the air with gusto.

It’s now stored and has several small tears, tiny holes, some mud and blood (from that Domer I believe!) and the original bright Orange color has faded a lot..but not my 41 year old memory of that classic game.

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Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny & Team..

[3]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 10:58 AM
 

Good story.

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Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny & Team..

[4]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 11:04 AM
 

I listened on radio to that one. It was so close and late in the game my nerves were getting to me as bad as at any game ever. It was a wonderful win. We need to play like we can and thump them tomorrow. No excuses just hard hitting Clemson football.

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Absolutely a great story!***

[4]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 11:05 AM
 




LINK????

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 11:05 AM
 



2021 white level member

Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny & Team..

emoji_events [6]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 11:13 AM
 

Great story!!! It felt as if I were there with you both. Thanks for sharing this. I needed some cheering up.


The next day after that game

[3]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 11:18 AM
 

I mailed the front page of the sports articles in the Charlotte Observer to a lineman I knew who the Tigers were recruiting. Must have worked and I’m not sure that was within the rules, never again will I do that.


Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny & Team..

emoji_events [7]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 11:20 AM
 

Watched in from my seat in Little John Coliseum.

Had to get up early Sunday morning to go to church....based on an agreement I made with God during the game on if we could hold on and win.

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Great story. Never been to a game there but have visited ND.

[2]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 11:25 AM
 

Beautiful campus.

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Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny & Team..

[3]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 11:37 AM
 

Great read ! and what a memory for Dad and his little man ! Thx for posting, Bill.

2021 white level member

Thank you sharing that great story. Last 41 years has flown

[3]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 12:18 PM
 

by. I was a junior in high school in 1979.


Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny & Team..

[3]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 12:24 PM
 

Thanks Bill for sharing that awesome tale of your adventure to the land of the Irish. I wonder if that Notre Dame student that met your clenched fist tells the story of his interaction with a crazed Clemson fan. :)

I do believe you may have missed your calling. Instead of selling light bulbs, you should have been an author telling great stories. It's never too late. Ha ha!

Sadly, I too had to cancel my planned first trip to Notre Dame this year. Hope to be able to make the bucket list trip when we play there in a couple of years.

GO TIGERS!

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Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny & Team..

[3]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 12:51 PM
 

I was there also, with my Dad and some friends. We didn’t get the tour like you but as we walked through the parking lot towards the stadium we were spotted by some ND fans. They were very gracious and welcoming, saying how they knew all about Danny and the Tigers. Our seats were folding chairs in front of the actual stands. What a day!
Go Tigers!


Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny & Team..

[3]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 2:03 PM
 

I was there as well and we had quite a trip! 16 hours from Columbia to SB. As we were walking up the stairs at the Holiday Inn which had an inner court, Clemson fans all around the court on all 3 levels began CLEM. As we finished our group was entering our 2 adjoining rooms, 3 of us were at the head of the stairs and at the door when a lady carrying a poodle at the bottom of the stairs rudely instructed us to get un our rooms and be quiet! My friend who is normally somewhat reserved and mannered told her she could stuff that poodle up... As we entered the room the phone rang and another friend answered, " Yes sir, no sir. I don't know anything about a poodle!" It was the manager and the "lady" was his wife. After he came up and our Clemson grad, Wake Forest law student friend finished spouting habious corpus delecti, we were allowed to stay!

2021 white level member

Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny Ford & Team..

[3]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 1:59 PM
 

Great story Bill. By the way, I forgot to tell you I wasn't able to get you a ticket to the Notre Dame game this year. You were No. 1 on the list if tickets had been available.

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^ Thx JOE21..figured as much!

[2]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 2:35 PM
 

Oh, my Son just texted me airlines would not give him back the $600 he paid for my flight ticket to NDame but will give me a credit to use another time.

Reason he can’t be credited is that it was in my name with my birth certificate & drivers license or something like that..

but he used his credit several weeks ago for his flight to Phoenix to rent a car for 4 hour drive to Grand Canyon for his 16.5 hour “Rim to Rim & Back” cliff run.

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Re: ^ Thx JOE21..figured as much!

[4]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 3:07 PM
 

Bill, get that stored flag out! I'm sure it still has some magic in it!
We may need it this weekend.

2021 white level member

Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny Ford & Team..

[2]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 2:14 PM
 

Holy Smokes!!! I am tired just READING that...Thanks...

2021 white level member

What a fabulous story LBB!

[4]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 3:03 PM
 

I appriciate you taking the time to post this to TNet. I am sorry you guys have not had the chance to do it again this year.

Hope your son is feeling well.

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Great story about an awesome trip

[3]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 3:03 PM
 

COVID-19 robbed me of my opportunity to see South Bend with my dad this year.

2021 white level member

Most excellent LBB!

[2]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 3:22 PM
 

Go Tigers!

2021 white level member

Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny Ford & Team..

[2]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 3:50 PM
 

Thanks for the share Bill. Great story and even better memory for you and your son.


bill, we give you hail over in p&r, but this is one of

[2]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 5:56 PM
 

my favorite posts on tnet in quite a while. good stuff. hope to have a memory like this with my son one day!

2021 white level member

Run along Stewart, before I get bored of behavin'.


Seriously ST - you are a pretty


Posted: Nov 7, 2020, 12:09 AM
 

###### poster.

Stay in the lounge or P&R - you pretty much suck.

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Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny Ford & Team..

[2]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 6:12 PM
 

I love this story!! Thank you for sharing.

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Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny Ford & Team..

[1]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 6:40 PM
 

URDAMAN Bill! I had read snippets of your story before but not the full unabridged version. Thanks for putting that together. I had hoped to attend with my son this year, but the tickets were refunded, and I may not see our Tigers live until we take on the leghumpers in 2021.

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Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny Ford & Team..

[2]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 7:25 PM
 

Bill, that is a great story! Even though we lost to ND in '77 it was THE sign that Clemson was back on yhe national stage. Beating them in South Bend in '79 furthered that belief. Wish I had known who the guy with the Tiger Paw flag was that day!

2021 white level member

Bill & son - then and now

[1]
Posted: Nov 7, 2020, 12:20 PM
 

https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-1970-1970s-family-loading-trunk-station-wagon-for-road-trip-boy-son-12659456.html




Don't mess with Bill!

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Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny Ford & Team..

[2]
Posted: Nov 6, 2020, 8:57 PM
 

Now, THAT is one heckuva story AND adventure!!

Thanks for sharing Bill!

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Whatever choice(s) you make makes you. Choose wisely.


That is an awesome story. I would like to meet

[1]
Posted: Nov 7, 2020, 6:48 AM
 

LightBulbBill and LightBulbWill someday in the near future.....By they way, after infambously firing the cannon during the 2006 GT game, I was nicknamed Cannonball by yet another Clemson announcer....I will remember that experience the rest of my days....

Go Tigers! And after we win,somebody get a flag on the field for LBB and LBW!!!
Spud


Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny Ford & Team..


Posted: Nov 7, 2020, 10:06 AM
 

Incredible story! For a moment there I found myself thinking LBB was spinning a tall tale, but then I was like naw this is LBB...this all really happened. What a trip to remember!


Re: 41 yrs ago my 9 year old Son & I entered Notre Dame Stadium with Danny Ford & Team..


Posted: Nov 7, 2020, 10:16 AM
 

One of the best stories I’ve read on here. But the next time you tell this story... if you say you saw Rudy there painting helmets with some cute girl and you shake hands with him, I think I will have to question the veracity of your story! Haha. Holy smokes so many twists and turns. I just read the whole thing a second time!


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