It all started with the most vicious, savage, satisfying ending to a blowout college football game that most of us had ever seen.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish safety Elijah Shumate intercepted Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner’s final pass of the 2014 game in South Bend, sealing the Notre Dame 31-0 victory.
But on a night that marked the end of the regular ND-UM series of football games, and after Michigan had called ND “chicken” for simply beating them to the punch of canceling the series, just intercepting the pass against the hated “rival” wasn’t enough. Shumate knew a better send-off was required.
His touchdown return whipped a crowd that had already been wild all game into an absolute frenzy. Never have I been a part of a Notre Dame crowd that had such excessive vitriol dripping from every scream it could muster in the direction of an opponent.
Unfortunately, Shumate’s touchdown never officially counted. An absolute de-cleating of Gardner during the touchdown return by ND safety Max Redfield was flagged because apparently, even when trying to tackle the ball carrier, QBs are technically off-limits.
Michigan was embarrassingly forced to come back onto the field and run one final play as Notre Dame Stadium enveloped them in a swath of menacing chants and songs. The game officially ended with a score of 31-0.
However, those 6 points taken off the board have remained in the hearts of Irish fans since that game, and the term “Remember the Six” came about in order to honor Shumate’s heroics in eviscerating Michigan. As the renewal of the “rivalry” approached with this year’s season opener, shirts were made and every ND fan made sure to pay homage in some way to that game and that finish.
Thus, when three Linebacker Lounge regulars decided they wanted to do something special to commemorate that game on Michigan weekend and simultaneously inspire an entire university and its fan base, they stared down their personal record of 5 Backer Long Islands consumed in one night, and simply asked, “Why not 6?”
This is their story. This is how Saturday’s game was truly won.
They’d been talking about it for weeks, it seemed. Now, it was finally here - game week.
Andy, Michael, and Pat started a group text to document their thoughts and feelings leading up to, during, and after their attempted 6 Long Island night at the Backer. Early in the week, the braggadocio and strategery were strong with these ones.
Tuesday, August 28th
Andy: Logistical question: are we Remembering the Six on Friday or Saturday night? I assume Friday, right? I think we’re getting into South Bend at like 10:00 or 10:30. I’m thinking we should go to the Backer earlier than normal, given the task ahead.
Pat: I agree, I think we’ve got to be there by midnight, maybe even slightly before, to ensure we give ourselves time.
Andy: Yeah I think closer to 11:00 might be the smart move. I’m imagining us rolling in there in all of our glory. This is like a modern John Henry story.
Pat: Andy chose this comparison carefully. John Henry, according to legend, died triumphantly in a steel-driving race against a machine. I think all three of us would have agreed, in the week leading up to this, that we could envision a scenario where we accomplished our goal and also died, at least figuratively, from being way too drunk.
Wednesday, August 29th
Michael: I’m incredibly psyched for this. Wish I could have a Long Island right now instead of having to work.
Thursday, August 30th
Pat: It’s Remember the Six Eve, everyone please chime in with how you’re feeling heading into this journey.
Michael: 95% excited, 5% afraid I might die.
Andy: Like a kid before Christmas. Gonna have a hard time falling asleep tonight.
Pat: I keep going through drinking strategies in my head instead of focusing on work. Should we each get two Long Islands as we walk in? How quickly should we try to drink them to ensure we have time to do this?
Andy: Yeah I think the right move is to drink the first one pretty much immediately, that’ll help space them out.
Michael: Lol me too. I think starting with two is smart logistically. We can drink those moderately quickly, then go from there at a little more leisurely pace.
Friday August 31st - Morning
Michael: Be sure to hydrate today, boys. Gotta be ready to perform under the lights tonight (by under the lights, I mean in a dark, sweaty room with a few neon lights).
Pat: I’m drinking only coffee today, because it contains water but will also allow me to stay woke out there.
Andy: I’m gonna use my three hour flight to get in the right headspace for this instead of doing my paper that’s due on Sunday. Gotta filter out all the distractions.
Friday August 31st - The Calm Before the Storm
With the evening finally upon them, the three friends piled into Michael’s new Nissan Altima along with Alison, the Remember the Six Official Sideline Reporter, and Arren, a Michigan fan who ended up nearly Remembering the Six as well on that unbelievable night.
Pat, 7:50 PM CT: The next two hours are gonna be crucial. I suggest we all stay silent during this drive to mentally prepare.
They did not stay silent, but instead played lots of Trolley Tunes from DJ PRZN Mike’s special Spotify playlist he created for the weekend (search for mfrench772 on Spotify and select the playlist “ND Michigan 2018” to see what got them hyped up on their drive). “The Rhythm of the Night” by Corona got the group, minus Alison, especially jazzed.
Pat: Yeah, Alison wasn’t feeling that song. Michael played it anyway. It’s his car, after all.
Before they got to their rental house they had secured for the weekend with 5 other friends, there was a small snafu that nearly derailed the entire evening. At the exit gate for the Indiana Toll Road, our heroes pulled into a lane behind a car with two guys who COULD NOT figure out how to get through the toll gate.
As the group watched the driver in the car in front of them struggle, opening and closing his door while failing to pay his toll and make the gate open, they commented on how it looked like their friend and fellow former Stanford Griffin, Kenny.
Later, when they drove by that car and then proceeded to see Kenny at the Backer, they confirmed it WAS indeed him.
Pat: The amount of times this person got out of their car, got back into their car, closed the door, opened the door, closed it again, etc., was mind-boggling and initially pretty annoying. To discover that person was actually our friend Kenny was just a complete game-changer.
Andy: Very quickly went from anger at someone anonymous to “I could never be mad at Kenny”
Michael: Yeah, the progression from, “who the hell is this guy,” to “hey he kinda looks like Kenny,” to “haha that actually IS Kenny” was pretty awesome
Andy: Tbh, even if we were stuck behind Kenny for an hour and if it gave us less time to Remember The Six, I still would have thought it was hilarious
Pat: Hugging Kenny at the Backer after he confirmed it was him at the toll gate was spectacular. I felt God in that dive bar.
Finally, after wasting some time trying to back out and go through another lane at the toll road exit, the crew made it through, arrived at their house, unloaded their things, and executed final preparations for the night ahead.
Michael: My mental technique to prepare was to just focus on how much I fucking love Long Islands, and less on how awful they would make me feel the next day.
Pat: I had eaten a big lunch earlier that afternoon, so I had yet to eat any dinner. I knew this might be an issue considering the sheer quantity of poison I was about to dump into my body.
Andy: In terms of a pregame meal, I got an egg and cheese bagel sandwich for dinner in the airport and bought a second one for the road, because I figured it was gonna be another 5 hours until the Backer. The second one was pretty clutch to have right before the Backer, especially since the popcorn machine was empty when I went to get some during Long Island #4
Pat: Luckily for me, our 5 other friends at the house had bought some snacks before heading to the bar, and so a bag of pretzel sticks they procured was likely a huge contributor to my feats of strength later that night. Those pretzels fueled me.
After sharing swigs of a 40 of Natural Ice that the team’s degenerate friend Luke “SAT” Flood brought over, and after having a little Miller High Life explode all over them after Luke dropped them in the kitchen, our protagonists ordered an Uber and were on their way to the biggest test of their lives, to-date.
Pat, 11:19 PM ET: Would just like to document that our Uber driver is named Abel, not Cain. Good sign? Hard to say, considering Abel was good, but was killed by his brother. More to come.
Michael, 11:20 PM ET: He’s enAbeling our 6 Long Islands. I’m a fan.
As the group was dropped off, they were horrified to find that even with their early arrival at the Backer, the line to get in was already long and intimidating. Always positive, they were ultimately unfazed by the smaller amount of time they would have to drink Long Islands.
Pat, 11:33 PM ET: I came here to drink Long Islands and chew bubble gum. And I’m alllll out of gum.
Andy, 11:41 PM ET: I’m past the pre-game jitters, just excited to get this going. Let’s gooooooo.
Finally, the Goon Squad was able to move through the line and join their friends inside the Linebacker. Drinks were taking an incredibly long time to obtain at the bar, but all three were eventually able to purchase two starting Long Islands each, quickly downing their first. These idiots were locked in.
Andy: I think what allowed us to get there was our composure. We got there later than we expected and it took so long to get our first drinks from the bar that we started off way later than we thought we would. But we adjusted our pace slightly without panicking and going too quickly, which could have caused things to go downhill really quickly
Michael, 12:07 AM ET: Got a prime place near the pole. Hope someone licks it
Pat: We chanted “Lick the pole!” a lot at people. It worked numerous times.
Pat, 12:07 AM ET: 1 down. Feeling good.
Andy, 12:18 AM ET: One down. That’ll be the easiest one, but you have to celebrate them all.
Pat: I’d like to note that I drank that first Long Island in roughly 2 minutes. If you’ve ever walked into the Backer very sober, you understand why that was necessary.
The second Long Island went down as easily as the first, and as these honorable men began working on their third, they were beginning to get cocky. With a 3 AM closing time, this looked like a sure thing.
Michael, 12:56 AM ET: Update: mod drunk
Pat, 12:56 AM ET: 2.5 in. Still feeling fleet of foot.* Unsure when I will hit a wall. Not yet.
*Editor’s Note: Pat has never, is not, and never will be, by any definition or interpretation, “fleet of foot.”
Andy, 12:55 AM ET: Also 2.5, but I think I’m less fleet of foot**
**Editor’s Note: He was not
Andy, 12:56 AM ET: I am so impressed with my memory right now!
Despite Andy’s memory being on-point, Alison (engaged to be wed to Andy) made sure to document something that she could then hold him accountable for later. Classic fiancée trap.
Alison, 1:17 AM ET: To keep track of matters in our personal life, 3 Long Island Andy just promised me he would write a priest to our wedding on Sunday, so this is written proof that he owes me that — so hold him to it.
Andy had other concerns.
Andy, 1:18 AM ET: Feeling a little shook cuz I was counting on some Backer popcorn at the halfway point, but the popcorn machine is empty...
Michael, meanwhile, didn’t need any popcorn to make this happen. However, as the guy whose turn it was to go get the next round, his nonchalance and lack of urgency were frustrating to some.
Michael, 1:18 AM ET: 3 more Long Islands? that will be easy!
Pat, 1:21 AM ET: Michael you’ve been at the bar for like 45 min***
***Editor’s Note: Probably an incredibly wild exaggeration on Pat’s part
Pat: I remember waiting FOREVER for Michael to return with our drinks. I scanned the bar from the dance floor and finally found him, in one of the worst places to get served (the edge of the bar by the women’s restroom), laughing heartily with Luke with seemingly no Long Island service on the horizon.
Michael: To retroactively respond to Pat’s 45-minute comment, I put too much faith in Luke to order our drinks. Should have taken more direct ownership of the situation.
Pat: I was on my way to the bar, taking matters into my own hands, when I finally saw Michael order the drinks. Crisis averted.
Once Michael finally returned with the Long Islands, the rest of the night was a hazy and sweaty, but generally smooth, ride.
Michael: There was a good hour or so period where I forgot we were doing it and was just enjoying the hell out of the Backer, as usual. When I all of a sudden remembered our plan for 6 and realized we were already at like 4, I knew it was gonna be easy from there.
Pat: At one point Andy convinced DJ Drew to play “Monster Mash” by Boris Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers. We were the only people excited to hear that one, but the good feelings that our Long Island initiative gave us were like a patronus protecting us from dementors. Everyone else’s hate for the song couldn’t touch us. It was a graveyard smash, and no one was going to tell us otherwise.
By a little after 2 AM ET — roughly an hour remaining until the bar closed and probably 45 minutes prior to Last Call — the group had reached Long Island #6.
Andy, 2:04 AM ET: Pat, I didn’t think we would get here. But we are absolutely going to make it. ONE MORE.
Pat, 2:10 AM ET: On #6. This is my life’s work. I am complete.
Andy, 2:11 AM ET: Long Island #6 is in our hands. I’ll be honest, I had moments where I didn’t think we’d make it. BUT HERE WE ARE.
As the team prepared to down their 6th Long Island, Alison took the initiative to conduct a few exclusive interviews with the guys to get a feel for how they were truly doing amidst all the excitement and Backer sludge.
Krystal, friend of this glorious crew, and Arren, noted Michigan fan who somehow doesn’t suck, contributed as well.
Some of them were more composed than others.
Alison: You just bought Long Island #6 for the team. How do you feel right now?
Andy: Honestly I feel better than I thought I would. Uhhh, we got off to a late start. But honestly, we’re ahead of schedule and feelin’ great, and very confident.
Michael: I feel ready for it. I don’t feel like I’m there, but I feel ready for it.
Pat: *blows kiss to camera while holding 3 Long Islands and is noticeably drenched in sweat* I FEEL SO GOOD. I AM SO READY.
Alison: I feel great about Andy, and..
Krystal: I feel great!
Alison: ...I wish him the best of luck out there.
Andy: That’s the support you need, that’s the support you need.
Alison: You’re ready? Do you think you’re gonna make it?
Pat: *Blank stare* Yes. *Blows kiss to camera, makes an inebriated smile, goes back to singing whatever song is playing in the background*
Alison: Arren, you know they’re about to have their 6th Long Island. Are you worried about them?
Arren: *Gesturing to Michael* You know what, I think he’s been playing real strong all night. Honestly, I think he’s got it. It would be surprising to me if he fell down at the finish line. I’m very proud of Michael. It’s happening. It’s happening tonight. It’s happening tonight.
Alison: Seeing some good team camaraderie here. Really appreciate it, really appreciate it.
Andy was the first to finish his 6th Long Island, despite the pledge they all made earlier to finish the final one simultaneously.
Pat and Michael soon followed, though, as all three men accomplished their goal while Elijah Shumate, wherever he was, presumably smiled and chuckled quietly to himself.
Michael, 2:11 AM ET: We killed it. Simple as that: fuck Michigan HARD
Andy, 2:12 AM ET: CAN WE GO FOR 7???
Pat and Andy, ever the show-offs, made the rash decision to indeed drink a 7th Long Island each with the time they had to spare before Last Call. Unbelievably, neither of them saw ill effects from pushing the envelope. Pat summed it up with this weird analogy:
Pat, 2:25 AM ET: Holy shit we are basically Ricky Watters.
Andy: I think the comparison you made to us being Ricky Watters is pretty appropriate, although Friday reminded me most of Theo Riddick’s game against USC in 2012. Partly because it came against a big rival (like we were Remembering the 6 against Michigan) and partly because it was such a gutsy performance. Just pure determination. And honestly partly because that’s still just one of my favorite ND games.
Pat: I think I said that because there’s a Ricky Watters Seattle Seahawks jersey hanging in the Backer. But I honestly don’t remember exactly where I was going with that.
Andy sent a final text in the group chat for the night, summing up the trio’s accomplishment.
Andy, 3:04 AM ET: Goal: 6. RESULT; 7
After a combined 20 Long Islands (27.5 if you factor in Arren’s 5.5 and Alison’s 2), our heroes went about their normal Backer closing procedure: circling up for Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” shouting the Notre Dame Victory March, and then taking turns — as “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” bumped in the background — doing a ridiculous dance they modeled off of some dance Prince Shembo once did in a video of the ND team’s locker room celebration after a win in 2012.
Then, after a few candid, disgusting, triumphant team photos, the crew cabbed their way back home so that they could spend an hour talking loudly in the house while their friends tried, in vain, to sleep.
Finally, at around 4 AM ET, they succumbed to exhaustion, welcoming a night of glorious sleep and accepting the morning of unholy headaches that awaited them.
There are many reasons the Notre Dame Fighting Irish went on to beat Michigan 24-17 on Saturday evening — the play of the Irish front seven led by Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara, the big plays on the ground from Jafar Armstrong and Brandon Wimbush, Chris Finke’s ridiculous touchdown catch in traffic, etc.
But there was no larger reason — no single group of people playing a larger role in giving ND the mental edge and the firm belief that they could win — than the trio of Andy, Michael, and Pat.
They defied all the odds, both great and small, in order to win overall and drink 6(+) Long Islands each in one night at the Backer.
What a game.
What a weekend.
Oh, what a night.