Eric Zorn | September 7, 2018
Noon: What in the world possesses these people?
No, not those people — not the 2,400 people dressed in green and gold and blue spread out at an endless expanse of round tables on the floor of the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center fieldhouse here on the Notre Dame campus. We know what possesses them: They are members of the Quarterback Club, here to eat a roast beef lunch with other very serious football fans and then to push back from their tables and listen to a round of comforting gridiron platitudes.
I mean these people way back here: this genial, middle-aged couple sitting on the top row of the bleachers that rise in the rear of the great hall, on beyond the tables, on beyond a high green curtain, well across the hockey rink — 100 yards or so from the dais at which Lou Holtz will soon hold forth. What possesses them?
"I'm not sure," admits Carl Hieber, taking his eyes off the distant scene for just a moment when he is pressed on the point. "I didn't go to this school. And," he adds after a moment's puzzled reflection, "I'm Lutheran."
But here he is — having taken two days off from work and driven nearly 10 hours from his home in Williamsport, Pennsylvania — sitting with his wife, Beverly, in the cheapest of cheap seats just to gaze upon the Quarterback Club luncheon. It is the first official event of the elaborate, multi-faceted carnival that is a football weekend at Notre Dame, and even though the lunch has long been sold out at $11 a plate and the only seats available are in this distant spectator's gallery, the Hiebers have arrived well before the speeches and are now simply watching other people eat.
Oh, sure, Notre Dame has a fine football program and all, but why don't the Hiebers get nutty for a team closer to home, like Pitt? Penn State? Temple? Rutgers? Even Slippery Rock State?
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