We embarked on our third journey to the vibrant city of Chicago for one of the most iconic rivalries in college football history. Dating back to 1926, the USC vs. Notre Dame matchup is deep-rooted in traditions and respect, exemplified by the coveted "Jeweled Shillelagh" trophy. This iconic award, adorned with a ruby-encrusted Trojan head and an emerald shamrock, symbolizes the cherished legacy of the USC vs. Notre Dame rivalry.
Our weekend started at Navy Pier for the Spirt of Troy Trojan Marching Band rally. There is something special about thousands of USC fans taking over the Windy City, high-fiving and chanting "Beat the Irish" that keeps us coming coming back for the USC weekender.
We usually rent a car and drive to the game, but this year we bought tickets from the USC Alumni Association for the bus. Once we arrived at Notre Dame, we hit up all the USC tailgates before exploring the campus.
The Grotto at Notre Dame is a serene sanctuary inspired by the original Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in France. We lit a candle and prayed alongside Irish fans.
One of our favorite areas on campus is the "Touchdown Jesus" mural that overlooks the football stadium. Officially known as the "Word of Life", this towering masterpiece features Jesus with outstretched arms, resembling a referee signaling a touchdown.
Then we made our way to the Lou Holtz gate. Coach Holtz led the Irish to a National Championship in 1988 and had an overall record of 100 wins, 30 losses, and 2 ties.
Once instead the stadium, we grabbed some hot chocolate and hand warmers to prepare for a chilly night with temperatures in the 40s.
One of the most cherished traditions at Notre Dame involves the band forming a tunnel through which the football team enters the field with their signature "ND" formation and the iconic Irish jig.
Wide receiver Drake London kept the Trojans in the game, catching nine passes for 109 yards, but it wasn't enough to beat the 13th ranked Fighting Irish.
We ended up losing 31-16, but win or lose, we still fight on.
Despite the disappointing outcome, we look forward to coming back to South Bend in two years for a victory.