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2006 Never Forget

It's hard to believe 2006 was 6 years ago. I could've gone to ND and moved to Chicago for 2 years all over again in that time frame. While the football seasons experienced as a student are crystallized and eternal (for better or for worse), the seasons since graduating have blown by so furiously that I struggle to recall them linearly; it's as if someone has taken a leaf blower to my past. In my memory, ND teams of the oughts are piecemeal, comprised of Quinn-to-Floyd receptions, a single unchanging ageless badass tight end, and a shape shifting coach whose face is permanently obscured by sunglasses, visors, headsets, rain, nasal leakage, disappointment, ineptitude. It's been fun for sure, but the fun has often been rooted in hope and expectation -- on knowing how fun the fun will get when it's our time once again. But there is a tangible moment that will echo for all of eternity for me in the afterlife, off in the distant background, behind my daughter laughing and my parents playfully arguing in the kitchen and the thumping of obscure techno over the Lord's stereo. In my heaven, Mike Valenti's post ND-MSU rant from 2006 is on permanent loop, a far-off broadcast ensconced deeply within the fabric of existence and intertwined with the cosmic microwave background radiation. It's a ubiquitous and infinite source of joy like love or IPA. In no way am I mocking Mr. Valenti. My respect for him and the Rant knows no limit because regardless of where we hang our hat (and what school's hat that is), we all as sports fans aspire to have the same passion and conviction to our team as that which is reflected in Valenti's hysterical on-air demand for H.R. Pufnstuf and Teddy Ruxpin to lead his team. With this in mind, and with our lads heading into Spartan Stadium on Saturday, I pay tribute to those moments that refuse to fade away into the hot and cold mess of ND football lore: 2006 Never forget.

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