Friends, fans divided on Notre Dame-Michigan rivalry
Posted: 09/22/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Bill Beck
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Bill Gletty (left) and Mark Scearse goof around with a football Friday night 9/21/2012 before the Notre Dame Michigan game. The two friends — Scearse a Notre Dame fan and Gletty a Michigan fan — will tailgate together Saturday. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
Bill Gletty (left) and Mark Scearse goof around with a football Friday night 9/21/2012 before the Notre Dame Michigan game. The two friends— Scearse a Notre Dame fan and Gletty a Michigan fan — will tailgate together Saturday. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
But when Michigan comes to Notre Dame, there’s a whole new level of angst, ire and intensity.
On both sides of the game.
Facebook can funnel endless posts of taunting photos, Twitter feeds are filled with vile and spew, Internet message boards explode, and through cell phones, direct hits can be lobbed.
“Yea, I pretty much hate Notre Dame,” said Bill Gletty of Elkhart, who arrived early this morning with good friends Mark Scearse, Brian Desimone and Matt Kucmicz to set up one of the more lively tailgate parties at the Purcell Pavilion parking lot.
Gletty will don his best maize and blue apparel.
“I’ve taken abuse all week with people sending things to my phone,” Gletty said.
The rest of the crew will be decked out in Fighting Irish greens, blues and golds.
Notre Dame fans, Gletty said, “always seemed more uppity and higher class than the blue collars,” though he’ll makes exceptions for friends.
The crew will load up a decked-out Notre Dame van owned by Scearse for a full day of partying leading up to the 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
Scearse said he’s brought his van to ND since 2002. It’s fully loaded with a 50-inch plasma TV, satellite dish and stereo, along with plenty of food and beverages.
“I’d say it’s been to about 50 or 60 games,” said Scearse, a die-hard ND fan. “The horse-mounted police usually stop by and watch at the van.”
The van’s fans are everywhere, too.
The day after the 2005 ND-USC match-up, Scearse and his family toured Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and ran into a Notre Dame fan.
“This guy saw my hat and said he was at the game yesterday,” Scearse said. “He was telling about these crazy guys nearby watching the game on a big-screen TV having a big party.”
Scearse told the man that he was one of those “crazy guys.”
Big game, small world.
“It’s such a rush in the mornings watching the people come in,” said Gletty, who’s been know to tweak Irish fans by showing up in Michigan State and Navy gear.
In fact, one year the crew arrived so early that they “heard” an ND security golf cart plow over a garbage can in the dark.
“I’ve grown up being a Michigan fan, the smash-mouth of the Big Ten,” said Gletty, who is trying to persuade his wife, Heather, to join him in his Wolverine world.
“I’ve almost got my wife convinced,” Gletty said, “but she’s worn an awful lot of Notre Dame stuff this week, so I don’t know.”
Where and When?
Kickoff is set for 7:39 p.m. on WNDU. The station’s “Countdown to Kickoff” show begins at 6:30 p.m.
On radio, WSBT 960, 96.1 and Sunny 101.5 will broadcast the game. Pre-game shows will run throughout the afternoon on all three stations.