Day 1: San Antonio
"I'm at the airport. Tony is landing in 20 minutes, and I have 16 extra tickets to the game. You are coming to San Antonio tomorrow" -Patrick C. 10/30/2009
It's funny how things work out. Through some bend of logic that's beyond me, Notre Dame decided to play a home game in San Antonio against Washington State on October 31, 2009. I made the decision that I wasn't going to bend over backwards to get myself to this game, but if, somehow, the stars aligned and I had the chance to go, I had no opposition to attending.
It was shortly after making this decision that I received a phone call from my friend, Patrick, informing me of a wealth of extra tickets. That seemed like enough reason to get me down there. So, after running some last minute errands I packed up my car and I was officially off. I started my roadtrip back North...by heading South.
(So long, Stink Town!)
The drive to San Antonio is not a long one. Without traffic, you can expect 60-90 minutes worth of travel time. I myself have done the trip more times than I care to count. There isn't much to see along the way and, all things considered, the commute is generally unremarkable. I have found, however, that all this apparently changes when you are making your last trip out of town ever (Ed. note: I'd be eating this words two days later). In any case, en route to San Antonio to see the game, the sun was setting, the sky was an odd shade of gold, and, with every huge decision I had made recently finally coming into fruition, everything somehow felt peaceful.
I took a picture. Not because it was a good or even remarkable picture. I took it just to try and capture the odd sensation I felt at the moment: The moment when it was all starting to settle in that I had left, and I was never coming back (Again, wait 48 hours). In any case, here it is:
The details of the rest of the evening were important to me personally, but likely would not make good fodder for interesting writing. I saw several old friends at the game and there were several handshakes and back-claps exchanged. War stories were told and old memories warmed up just for a moment to relive among friends. It was good to see everyone, but also, admittedly bittersweet (there's going to be a lot of that on this trip, I reckon). It was here that I was saying goodbye to my friend Patrick for the last time until who knows when. Patrick has been a friend of mine since college and he welcomed me into his group of friends in Austin since the day I moved here. We exchanged a final handshake and saw each other off. Patrick, if you get a chance to read this, thanks for everything bud. And a special thanks to your parents for the tickets to the game.
From here I met up with my friends Fabian and Erin, two friends from college who were gracious enough to let me stay with them for an evening. We drove to their home in New Braunfels, a town just 20 minutes north of San Antonio. The evening was late as it was, so there was no call for more activity. Fabian and I shared a few old stories and then called it an evening. After all, we had a lot of adventures in store for us the next day. More so than I imagined, in fact.