The news that Notre Dame might play a college football game against Connecticut at Fenway Park in Boston represents a kind of sports synchronicity I could never have dreamed would come true. I cannot imagine the elements of my life as a sports fan coming together in a more perfect combination.
The reports described talks for the Irish to play UConn at Fenway Park in 2014, as part of Notre Dame's commitment to play one home game each year at a neutral site. While Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick didn't confirm that a deal is in place, he also didn't deny that talks were underway.
This would be an absolute dream come true for me. I am a Notre Dame alumnus and die-hard Red Sox fan who has lived in Connecticut for almost 25 years. This game would cause my worlds to collide.
As a Red Sox fan, I was miffed when Notre Dame returned to Yankee Stadium to renew its rivalry with Army. I was more upset when my school came out with a line of merchandise celebrating the game, combining the ND and Yankees logos. Oh, the power of a joint sponsor like adidas.
It would be a tremendous experience for me, for the other Notre Dame alumni and fans in the Boston area, many of them of Irish heritage, to see the team play at Fenway Park. As a Connecticut resident, it is nearly impossible to escape the local pride in a growing football program at UConn, just as it was impossible to hide when the Huskies upset the Fighting Irish in South Bend toward the end of the Charlie Weiss era.
But I'm not the only Red Sox fan with Notre Dame connections who would love to see this game happen. Irish coach Brian Kelly is a huge Red Sox fan as well.
''You know me, I love Fenway Park. I just don't know if it's big enough,'' Kelly says of the idea. ''As long as they do the due diligence. I know Jack is looking for great venues, and I don't think they've played a game there in a long time. I think it would be cool, yeah. I'd like to do it.'
It is not like Fenway can't accommodate football. The ballpark was the home of the New England patriots until 1968 (except they were called the Boston Patriots in those days). Boston College played home games at Fenway in the 1940s. So the field would fit.
Red Sox management has made it a point of expanding uses for the historic ballpark. I was at the NHL Winter Classic there on January 1, 2010, when the Boston Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers in an overtime thriller. Earlier this year, Red Sox ownership brought their European soccer team, Liverpool, to Fenway Park for an exhibition match against AS Roma.
But seeing a college football game between Notre Dame and UConn at Fenway Park, with all the ties to my own personal life, would be the realization of a dream that was too fanciful for me to even imagine.
Now, if I can just get tickets.
Rick Blaine, an award-winning broadcaster and columnist, is a lifelong Red Sox fan who holds two degrees from Notre Dame and lives in Connecticut. Follow him on Twitter @RickBlaineCT.
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